What Makes a Good Tattoo?


Village High School junior Savanna Rizzo poses with a tattoo she got for her sixteenth birthday.

From ancient Egypt to modern-day America, inked skin has always been a human obsession. Thirty percent of Americans have a tattoo, and tattoos have been around for thousands of years.

As the social stigma over tattoos decreases, more and more people get them. Among the youth, tattoos are a craze, but this comes with a host of problems. Many people regret tattoos they got when they were young, and this seems to be a sympathy shared by hundreds.

Oftentimes, a good tattoo requires thought and slow decision, so how will someone know if they made the right decision?

“I have two [tattoos], one on each upper arm,” said Air Academy engineering teacher Jason Buhler. His tattoos mean a lot to him, both representing significant things in his life.

“[This] one I got two summers ago. Just after my mom passed away,” said Buhler, referring to the tattoo on his left arm of a Cardinal bird and a crucifix offset by a watercolor background. “She was a big fan of the bird the cardinal… [and] she was a deeply religious woman. Her favorite hymn at church was ‘That Old Rugged Cross.'”

Among the high school crowds, however, a new craze is taking hold. “Stick and pokes” as they are called, are tattoos done with a sewing needle and simple ink. The opinions on tattoos such as these differ.

“If they’re done correctly, safely, and with someone you trust, they can be a fun memorable experience,” said Coronado High School sophomore Veronica Wilson. “If they’re done on impulse in unsanitary conditions, it could get you in a ton of trouble medically and mentally.”

“Don’t get a stick and poke,” said Village High School junior Savanna Rizzo. “They’re usually extremely unsanitary and unprofessional. [it’s] just not a good idea for your first [tattoo.]”

For Rizzo, good artwork is just as important as personal meaning. Without one, the other cannot shine.

“I got a small version of Courage the Cowardly Dog on my wrist,” said Rizzo, referring to the small cartoon character on her forearm. “The show has meant a lot to me for a long time, and you really need some level of meaning to your tattoo(s) as [they’re] permanent. You just don’t get that with stick and pokes.”

An up and coming tattoo artist at AAHS, who chose not to be identified, had a very different view on stick and pokes.

“Tattoos are permanent, so it’s good to have a well done tattoo that you’re proud to… have on your body,” she said.

She believes the artwork can shine all on its own.

Although the opinions may differ, the fact remain: tattoos are becoming more popular around the world. For some, this means they are their own canvas to be painted. For others,  keeping their skin spotless is something to be proud of.