Once considered a sign of rebellion, tattoos are becoming
mainstream statements of fashion and self-expression for some
Little John, owner of Tyme Tattoo, 105 E. Laurel St., said the
majority of his customers are college students.
“It’s kind of a fashion statement,” he said. “The kids are
directly from high school and want to fit in. It’s a rebellious
thing as well. It’s telling mom and dad ‘hey, I’m on my own now,
and I’ll do what I want to do.'”
A recent study by Rutgers found that 53 percent of college
students with tattoos got them as a sign of self-expression, while
35 percent said they “just wanted one.”
Kris Oberle, a freshman zoology and psychology double major, got
her first tattoo Jan. 12. “I’ve always wanted one … it was
something that my best friend and I decided to do together,” she
Oberle’s tattoo is an Egyptian ankh symbol on her lower
“I really am interested in Egypt,” she said. “It’s something to
keep with me for me to enjoy.”
Oberle said she is considering getting more tattoos, but only if
they are images that are meaningful to her.
Kyle Rharig, a junior mechanical engineering major, got his
first tattoo near his 20th birthday a year and a half ago. He
describes the tattoo on his upper back as “an eye … sort of a
For his design, Rharig selected a picture by artist Alex Grey.
His favorite band, Tool, also used the same image.
“It connected the artistic and musical flair for me,” Rharig
said. “I’m an engineer, so I don’t get to show that very
Rharig said he cannot explain why he got his tattoo but he
thought about it for a couple of months before doing it.
“It’s sort of an internal reminder for me as to where I was in
my life then,” Rharig said. “I’m still at that point in my life,
and even when I’m not, I’ll still want to remember who I was
Noah Lyman, a freshman music major, got a tattoo of a bear claw
on his shoulder the last week of Winter Break.
“I’d been thinking about it for a while and thought it would be
a cool thing to have,” Lyman said. “My friends in high school
called me ‘The B’ar,’ so I went with the bear claw.”
Lyman was visiting his girlfriend at the time, and she was going
in to get her own tattoo retouched. She asked if he wanted to get
something done as well.
“It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing,” he said.
Rharig said the decision to get a tattoo is an important and
very personal issue. “Some people believe their bodies are a temple
and would never scar it, but you can also adorn it,” he said.
Little John also emphasized the importance of thinking about the
“Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you get a
tattoo,” he said. “Make sure it’s something that’s