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UMKC Students Showcase the Diversity of Tattoo Styles and Meanings.

Exploring the numerous inspirations and symbolism behind student tattoos.
Lucas Campbell
A student gets a tattoo.

 Many students at UMKC proudly express themselves through permanent body art in the form of tattoos.

 The perception of tattoos has shifted dramatically over the years. Once considered taboo or associated with certain subcultures, tattoos have evolved into self-expression and artistry.

  Tattoo artists are also noticing a change in the professional and artistic landscape.

  “I think the mainstream attention has really come to accept and appreciate all the work that me and other artists put into our pieces,” said UMKC alumni and tattoo artist John Kroll. 

  Kroll has been a tattoo artist for 12 years and is employed at Cherry Bomb Tattoo in Lee’s Summit.

“My family loves my art,” Kroll said. “Even my Grandma who is more old-fashioned said that I should stay creating art for my career.” 

  Freaks on Broadway, Stormy Tattoo, Working Class Tattoo, Crimson Tattoo and Steel Panther are just a few of the local tattoo shops in Westport that are closer to UMKC campus.

  Some UMKC students decorate their skin with ink that tells stories, but sometimes they are just going for a simple trendy design. 

  “I have a pooh bear tattoo; it was my childhood nickname so it’s very sentimental to me,” said nursing major Bethany Markham.

“[My tattoos] are sacred geometric shapes,” said UMKC 4th year student Patrick Sullivan. “I thought they looked cool and that’s why I got them.”

  As for the stigma behind tattoos, there’s still a timid approach to where they are located on the body. Some people say anywhere is valid, while others have been raised to think differently.

  “I always think people should triple-check and make sure they want something on their body,” Kroll said. “It’s up to preference but for me, face tattoos are a huge no.

  Tattoos have reached a level of popularity that other art forms could only dream of, and things don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

  “I will definitely be doing this for the rest of my life,” said Kroll.


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