Tattoo Tours part 1

Paul Cuthbert and his tattoo collection. One fun fact about Cuthbert is his love of ducks, as seen on the poster behind him. It makes one wonder “why doesn’t he get that image tattooed on himself, permanently?”

Though there’s still a noticeable amount of stigma surrounding tattoos, many would say that they are becoming more and more accepted by our society. In fact, there is a sizable number of students and staff members who have either gotten or plan to get ink done, some of which agreed to be interviewed and share their stories! So without further ado, here are the Tattoo Tours/Plans of our Chargers.

Autumn Litten and their cane toad tattoo. Cane toads are poisonous amphibians that are considered invasive, but can one earnestly be mad at such a cute little guys? (Sydney Hudlow)

Autumn Litten

A few months ago in the tattoo shop High Priestess, located in Oregon, senior Autumn Litten started their tattoo journey, accompanied by their best friend. Inspired by tattoo photos on Pinterest, Autumn knew that getting a tattoo was right for her.

“I think it’s fun to have art on your body… and just express yourself in that way,” Autumn said.

Originally planning on getting a matching “Frog and Toad” set with their best friend, Autumn started to get other ideas when they learned about cane toads.

“I thought it would be really funny to get one because they’re super invasive, and my friend and I have lots of inside jokes about frogs. So yeah, we got cane toads,” Autumn said.

Autumn chose to have their cane toad placed on their ribs, known to be a painful spot for a tattoo due to being close to bones. However, the experience was worth it for them.

“It was really fun. It hurt a lot, but I was watching Ponyo on my phone the whole time, so that made it better,” Autumn said.

The price of the cane toad tattoo was $120, which was the minimum amount that the artist charged in that shop.

Looking forward to getting more tattoos in the future, Autumn shares some insight as to what their mindset is when it comes to finding a design.

“I’m not a super big fan of having tattoos that have meaning. I want to get a lot more that I just think are cute or fun. I just think it’s cool having art on your body, and I don’t think it necessarily needs to have some deep story behind it,” Autumn said.

Autumn offers encouragement for anyone else interested in getting a tattoo.

“I think that they should go for it, and have no regrets,” they said.

Chloe Jones doesn’t have her tattoo… yet. Be prepared for how awesome her first tattoo is going to look. “10 of Cups” image courtesy of Pixabay. (Sydney Hudlow, Pixabay)

Chloe Jones

Both creative and an enthusiast for tattoo artistry, it makes sense that senior Chloe Jones has plans for her first tattoo.

“I’ve been interested in them ever since I was a kid. I just thought they were very cool. I’ve liked art all my life and I really like that you can have art on your body and carry it around with you everywhere,” Chloe said.

With her 18th birthday coming up, Chloe already has an appointment booked to get a tattoo of the Ten of Cups tarot card, a timeless design that holds a lot of significance to her.

“I really like tarot. I think it holds a lot of meaning in the symbols, and specifically the Ten of Cups means relief after a long journey, and kind of like a sense of finality and happiness, as well as community and recovering from mental health issues. So that means a lot to me, it kind of just reminds me that no matter what I’m going through, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel,” Chloe said.

Along with tarot, Chloe is also interested in bug and animal biology and plans to incorporate those elements in future tattoo designs, something that she has many ideas for.

“I have so many that I want, but a couple of them would be a praying mantis, and Lily of the Valley flowers because they’re my birth flower. But also I just think they’re really, really pretty,” Chloe said.

Chloe offers some words of advice for people who are also interested in getting tattoos.

“It doesn’t have to have meaning, but [get] something that, even if that part of your life stops continuing, you might still like it,” she said.

Paul Cuthbert and his tattoo collection. One fun fact about Cuthbert is his love of ducks, as seen on the poster behind him. It makes one wonder “why doesn’t he get that image tattooed on himself, permanently?” (Sydney Hudlow)

Paul Cuthbert

Starting his journey in 2018, DPEA CAD teacher Paul Cuthbert’s first tattoo, a triangle, was a stick-and-poke done by a close friend.

“I wanted to pick something that really couldn’t be messed up… [a] triangle is a strong shape,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

One thing Mr. Cuthbert appreciates about his triangle is its versatility in meaning; it can mean as much or as little as he wants it too. It can be the delta symbol, or it can be a slice of pizza.

“I think that got me down the rabbit hole, [thinking] tattoos have to have meaning, and then kind of stepping away and realizing tattoos really don’t have to have meaning. You can just get a tattoo because you like it or you want one, and I think there’s this stigma around the [idea that a tattoo needs a] deep, deep meaning behind it,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

Mr. Cuthbert’s tattoo journey continued in 2019, when he got his first professionally done tattoo.

“I got the rose from The Little Prince… [a] very impactful book for me. I got a picture of the rose from the illustrated version, and I had that tattooed on me,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

Mr. Cuthbert’s next tattoo was done in 2020, and one that he designed himself based on his hometown, Rochester. The design includes the town’s flower, the lilac, and combines it with the symbol of Rochester.

“I have friends that have the Rochester symbol tattooed on them in different ways, and this was a unique way that I hadn’t really seen. So it’s kind of my own spin on being like ‘this is where I’m from, this is my hometown,’” Mr. Cuthbert said.

Mr. Cuthbert’s most recent tattoo, done in 2022, was one that he worked with a local Santa Barbara artist to design. The tattoo depicts a Channel Island fox surrounded by different flowers and foliage found in Santa Barbara.

“The reason behind that one is I went to the Channel Islands and just really loved the energy and personality of Channel Island foxes… But also, again, [I was] inspired by ‘The Little Prince,’ which has one of my favorite passages that is about this little fox that the Little Prince meets. And so I knew I wanted a fox on my body somewhere, and it just connected with the Channel Island fox which had that right personality,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

Mr. Cuthbert’s tattoo journey is not yet complete, as he still has plans to complete his tattoo sleeve in the upcoming years. He has many ideas as to what kind of tattoos he looks forward to getting in the future.

“A lot of it is very animal [and] nature based… I think there’s so much nature and animals and beautiful spots to explore and be in and I want to spend more of my life outdoors,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

Another inspiration for Mr. Cuthbert are designs that pay homage to his grandparents. One design he has in mind is a 1940’s hunting knife to represent his grandfather, as well as the ASL sign for “I love you” for his grandmother.

“My grandma used to always wave goodbye by going like this [the ASL sign for “I love you”], and it was just the sweetest thing. So me and my sister are gonna get matching tattoos on our right forearms. Just the “I love you” symbol for her memory, because she was just like the most loving, generous, musical, fun, funky grandma,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

The price of each of Mr. Cuthbert’s tattoos goes as follows: the triangle stick and poke was free, the rose was $150, the lilac was $250, and the fox was $900.

Having experience with going to different tattoo shops and being tattooed by different artists, Mr. Cuthbert gives advice for anyone looking to get a tattoo of their own.

“The most important thing is finding artists you’re comfortable communicating very clearly with, because if you’re kind of a more shy person, then you might end up getting something you don’t want and just going along with it… But being able to push back against somebody… even if it’s someone you know or like a friend, [is great],” Mr. Cuthbert said.

When it comes to picking out what kind of tattoo someone wants, Mr. Cuthbert shares some words of wisdom to help someone decide.

“I would definitely encourage everybody to try to design their own tattoos, but then maybe give that design to an actual tattoo artist or a friend that… is very artistic… so you get a feel for it, or have multiple friends redraw it in their own style. And I think getting art on you that was drawn by someone you know, or by yourself can be really empowering and have a deeper meaning outside of whatever the tattoo just means to you,” Mr. Cuthbert said.

Tattoos have grown a lot in popularity, and lots of Chargers on campus have one or a few of their own. Mr. Cuthbert is one of many people who encourages anyone interested in getting tattoo art to thoughtfully pursue it.

“They’re fun, and they’re becoming more socially acceptable, which is cool. And I think the more people that get tattoos, the more socially acceptable it is,” he said.

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