Tattoo News Review
12:04 PM
milestone tattoo.jpgPhoto by Tom Wallace for The Star Tribune.

It's been a while since I did a major run down of the tattoo headlines, and so to make it up to ya, I have monster review today -- one that begins with meaningful "milestone" tattoos and ends just above Khloe Kardashian's butt. I didn't say it was going to be a classy review but it will be meaty.

Let's start with the Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune "permanent milestone" article, illustrated by the photo above and other shots by Tom Wallace, including some silver haired foxes who look great in their tattoos, answering that oft-repeated idiocy, "What will you look like at 70?" Like that question, the article has its share of tattoo cliches as well but we'll let it slide as it positively looks at tattooing to mark moments in people's lives. I know, we're all sick of the reality TV line that every tattoo has to have a story, but the real reality is that many still get tattooed to commemorate a person or moment, and the article reminds us art snobs of that.   

And hell, Minnesota needs some positive tattoo news as one city, Watertown, has banned any new tattoo studio from opening up next year. Officials say, "We have nothing against tattoos" [followed by "some of my best friend are tattooed"?], and that the ban is in place while they craft regulations for the industry. Currently, no professional tattoo studio exists in the city, so guess what usually happens in these cases: kitchen table scratchers and dangerous tattoo parties fill the void. It's a sad irony that rules meant to "protect the public" often end up hurting people the most.

Regulating the tattoo industry can be done without full-on bans. Just look at how Indiana tattooists are lobbying for stricter tattoo laws while their machines keep running. According to the Journal Gazette, anyone can buy a tattoo kit and work underground, so professional tattooists are asking legislators to limit the sale of tattoo equipment in the state to licensed artists. They are also asking that certain requirements be met before a tattoo license is given. Those requirements, supported by the Alliance of Professional Tattooists, include the following:  "a three-year apprenticeship, 1,200 hours of training and 50 supervised procedures before granting a permit and allowing an artist to work on the general public."

Yikes, too many blocks of text so far. I will lose you, precious reader, if I don't do something. Behold, Darwin's finches as a butterfly tattooed by Henry Rhodes of Electric Ladyland (via the Science Tattoo Emporium):

darwin finches tattoos.jpg
Ok, back to my tattoo law blather ...

Zoning continues to be the biggest obstacle facing artists in the US who want to open up shop, like those at Thoroughbred Tattoo in South Carolina. [Keep in mind that South Carolina didn't legalize tattooing in the state until March 2006. Oklahoma was the last state to lift their tattoo ban in May 2006.] Best way to combat it: make friends with your local city council or run yourself.

The final legal news nugget is about appearance-based discrimination. The Missouri Southern State University Nursing School has a new admission policy barring visible tattoos, saying that the policy helps students who may later seek jobs at hospitals who have similar tattoo bans. The article is quick to note hospitals that do allow tattoos and only ask that they be covered at work. What is truly bizarre about this article is a statement by the school spokesman that "tattoos on the hands could pose an infectious disease risk, even if a student covered the ink with a bandage." Huh? What am I missing here? How?

hellokitty tattoo.jpgTime for more tattoo eye candy: Hello Kitty as the Greek goddess Athena by Kristel Oreto (shown right).

Kristel is one of three female tattoo artists profiled in the news this past week. She talks to the Tampa Tribune about how she came to the craft and also offers some tattoo tips. See Kristel's online portfolio here.

Melanie Nead of Icon Tattoo, is profiled in The Oregonian. My favorite quote from her is when she was asked "Why tattoos?" Her response: "It's one of the crafts where you're never truly a master at it [...] You can always outdo yourself."

And tattoo veteran of 31 years, Sheila Whited talks to the Surburbanite about owning the oldest operating tattoo parlor in the Akron, Ohio area. She says, "I've tattooed generations. Some kids come in and say that I tattooed their grandparents, so they had to come to me to get theirs." Sheila is also known for doing cosmetic tattoos to help surgery patients disguise scars, and has worked with the Akron Health Department to develop health and hygiene laws.

Another tattoo artist also made the mainstream media despite not possessing ovaries: 

Ottawa's Glen Paradis has a Q&A with the Ottawa Citizen on his Princess Leia crush, religious butt tattoos, and the latest tattoo trend in his city.

Quick and Dirty Link Time:



are there still any states or other countries with a tattoo ban?

In reference to the Darwin tattoo:

The tattoo was done by Henry Rhodes at the tattoo shop called Electric Ladyland (, New Orleans.

Carolina, in the US, there are no more tattoo bans. Oklahoma was the last one.

RGA, thank you so much. I requested that info from the science blog because they didn't list it. I'm writing from my iPhone, ready to board a plane, but when I get a chance, I will add the credit and link in the post. Again, many thanks!

I should clarify my earlier comment--there are no more state-wide tattoo bans in the US but local municipalities can impose local bans.

and are there any other countries where tattooing is illegal? i searched a bit the web, but didnt find anything contemporary..

RE: Star Tribune "permanent milestone" article... It made me cringe every time I read the word, "tats" or "tat"... Great article for propagating mass acceptance of the art, which translates into a steady-living for tattoo artists... but I think I grimaced more times reading that article than I did getting my knee-pit inked. Gotta love those pit spots.

Carolina, I can't definitively say about other countries and tattoo bans, but they do exist. Iran is one example, although tattooing still take place underground.

Dub-seen, cant agree more. "tats" provokes the gag reflex for most of us.

je ilove you tattoos i love i love i love i love i love i love bye bye

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