In the United States today, nearly 45 million people have at least one tattoo. That is 45 million different stories being told by putting ink through one’s skin — a permanent tale or memoir.
Out of the 45 million, there are 10 at Bismarck High School.
BHS senior Collin Lawler and junior Jeremiah Archambault both got their tattoos for the same reasons.
“I just got my tattoo because I wanted it,” Lawler said. “I got a tattoo of a cross on my chest, but it doesn’t stand for anything.”
“It doesn’t really have any meaning by it, I just wanted to get it,” Archambault said.
When BHS junior Tyler Quiroz moved to Bismarck in 2012 from Chicago, he wanted to get a tattoo that told a story about his hometown and to remember it by something.
“I have a tattoo of the Chicago Bulls with the flag wrapped around the snout,” Quiroz said. “I got my tattoo ’cause I’m originally from Chicago, so I wanted to get it for that. My hometown meant a lot to me and so convincing my parents to let me get it wasn’t that hard.”
Quiroz is going to get more tattoos in the future, but he is unsure of what he wants to get at this point.
Getting a tattoo with an important meaning and a reminder of a positive outlook on life was a must for three students.
“The butterfly on my back represents this Butterfly Project that I do, and it’s got to deal with the prevention of cutting and depression. And the infinity sign on my wrist just kind of keeps me going and it’s motivation,” BHS junior Melissa Mosbrucker said. “A lot of people like my tattoos and say that I have really good reasons for getting them, and then some people look at me and think I do all these bad things when I really don’t.”
BHS senior Ashley Kiemele also got her tattoo when she was 16, and like Mosbrucker, her tattoo had a powerful meaning behind it.
“My tattoo runs right below my collarbone, and it says ‘without struggle there is no progress,’” Kiemele said. “I’ve just gone through a lot of things and it’s showed me that nothing bad lasts forever. I like most that it represents something to me and that I can carry that with me.”
When getting a tattoo, the amount of pain one might go through depends on where the tattoo is and who the person may be. BHS sophomore Jasmine Heidt had a rather discomforting experience while getting her tattoo.
“It was very painful, especially on my bone. It felt like just a big needle being dug into my skin for hours and wouldn’t stop,” Heidt said.
Heidt’s tattoo is on the right side of her chest and says, “sometimes you’ve gotta fall before you fly.”
“It means that sometimes you’ve got to fall and learn from your mistakes, and go back up and achieve it,” Heidt said.
One of the more common reasons for getting a tattoo is to remember the life of a loved one. A tribute through a tattoo is not only beautiful, but a strong way of showing your love for the one who has passed.
“I got my tattoo because my dog died,” BHS junior Kaitlin Leier said. “Sometimes people make fun of it because I got it for my dog, but I don’t care.”
Leier and junior Taylor Berger have similar tattoos with similar meanings behind them. Both tattoos say, “we only part to meet again.”
“My dad passed away two years ago, and so I just got it for a tribute to him,” Berger said. “It’s just always a reminder of all the good times I had with my dad and just him in general.”
Certain safety hazards have to be taken into consideration when getting a tattoo. Since some teenagers’ parents are not OK with them getting tattoos at this age, they will not sign the consent form. Therefore, some teens may lash out and just get a tattoo by a friend at home. However, if someone is doing tattoos outside of their home and if they are caught or reported, they could be charged with a misdemeanor.
“I think it’s terrible. I think there are a lot of risks, and that is where most people end up getting infections, with home tattoos,” Michael Jay’s tattoo artist Anna Kramchuck said. “Staph infections are very common and hepatitis is a big one because not only will you get the infection, you’ll have it for life.”
At Michael Jay’s, and many other tattoo parlors in Bismarck, having a parent present is required when tattooing and piercing a minor.
“We have the consent forms here,and we have to take photo IDs from the minor and the adult and if you do not have matching last names, then we need a birth certificate showing that that is your child, ’cause we’ve had parents say that it’s their child when it really isn’t,” Kramchuck said.
For BHS senior Ben Pace, having a parent sign a consent form was the least of his worries.
“I didn’t have to convince them. They just signed it cause my mom likes tattoos,” Pace said. “I got ‘let it be’ because my mom used to play that to put me to sleep when I was a baby. And I got the music note one because music is my life. It brings me peace.”
BHS sophomore Emalee Chaska didn’t have to convince her mom to let her get her two tattoos, either.
“My mom likes tattoos so she was cool with it, and I got one with her so she didn’t mind,” Chaska said. “I have an elephant on my ankle and it stands for good luck, and I have one on my ribs that says ‘you are my sunshine’ in my mom’s handwriting, and I got it with my mom because when I was little she would sing that to me when I had asthma really bad.”
Although Chaska is only 15, she looks forward to getting more tattoos in the future and says she has her next seven planned out.
“I feel like your body is a canvas, so why not write on it?” Chaska said.