To coincide with the Arkansas Arts Center's upcoming exhibit "Tattoo Witness: Photographs by Mark Perrott," the Arkansas Times decided to highlight photos of the tattoos (and the stories that go along with them) of some of the office staff.
Erin Holland: In the summer of 2008, I was having a bit of a rough year, acclimating to post-college life. Some friends had gotten tattoos the year before, and while I'd always wanted one, I didn't know what to get. I was rereading some of my favorite books at the time, and when I read a passage by Nietzsche about fate, I knew I'd found the perfect thing: "Amor fati" – love your fate. I was in New York City visiting friends and decided to go for it, courtesy of a large man named "Buddha" at Red Rocket Tattoo in Manhattan. I was looking at some of his past work when I spied a framed New York Times article about the prostitute Elliot Spitzer had just gotten busted for having an affair with, including a photo of her wearing a short top that exposed some of her stomach, including a tattoo. When I asked Buddha why he had that framed on his wall, he grinned and replied, "Well, because that's my work!" Of course, my girlfriends and I found this hysterical, and joked around about my being tattooed by a "celebrity tattoo artist."
Angie Wilson: When I was 20, I got a tattoo of a black gecko at what was then billed as the best shop in town. I was a little shy about getting my first ink, and the tattoo artists laughed at me because I asked them to shut the door. They were all hardcore tatted-up bad-asses. Years later, the lines had begun to blur, and I just really started to hate it. I'd heard that Jud Ferguson at 7th Street Tattoos was great at doing cover-up work, which is really an art within an art. Jud did the cover-up and you cannot tell at all that the gecko was ever there. He took my general, abstract ideas and created his own art out of it. I love it and I've been going to Jud ever since. He's done five more tattoos for me. He's really nice and personable, not a weirdo hardcore biker guy. Sometimes people have this stereotypical idea of what a tattoo artist is like, and he's not that.
Tracy Whitaker: I got married when I was 18, straight out of a very controlled nest. At 25, I was divorced, having never experienced any kind of real independence. My uncle fixed up an old lawnmower for me and taught me how to change the oil and grease the bearings by myself. The next obvious step to proving I was grown and free was to get a tattoo with a complimenting bellybutton ring. I've always loved turtles and always will. After weeks of perusing turtle photos, I eventually decided on a simple outline. It was taking too long to pick out a color scheme so I just had the outline done and a year or so later I had a different artist do the color. I've got no regrets about getting the tat although the placement clashes with some of my ideas for future tattoos. I wish it were a bit bolder and would like to someday have it spiced up. However, I am remarried now and would have to ask permission. Ha ha.
Bryan Moats: I'm not from Arkansas, but after marrying an Arkansas gal and living here almost 12 years, I have a connection to the state that's deeper than any of the other places I've called home. I came up with this design for last year's "Best Of Arkansas" issue of the Times. When we decided to find somebody to get it tattooed on their arm for the cover, it was clearly my responsibility to step up. It doesn't just speak to my love of Arkansas, but also to the things a lightning bolt implies: ideas, imagination, energy, even destruction. Few things make me happier than the spark that puts a fire under a project.