Residents, ink artists consider pros and cons of tattoos


Local artist Justin Coffman adds to one of his client growing collection of tattoos.

Lydia Scott and Lydia Scott

Tattoos can be a controversial subject because some people like them and others hate them.

There is not always a distinction as to why tattoos are liked or disliked.

For Sarah McGinnis, a Bowling Green resident, tattoos mean something very important.

“I like my tattoos to tell a story and mean something,” she said.

A non-sentimental tattoo is probably not something she would consider getting, she said.

By the same token, tattoo artist John Johns feels tattoos are something that should bring joy.

“[I tattoo because] I want to make people happy,” he said.

Tobe Drew, an entrepreneur and tattoo artist at Ink Mafia Body Art Studio, shares Johns’s idea.

“There should be almost a tear of joy from the tattoo,” he said.

Even when judged, McGinnis stands by her tattoos.

“I laugh [the judgment] off every time,” she said. “I find it really funny that others are more concerned with how I look and how it affects me than I am.”

Tattooing, like other forms of employment, can be beneficial to the artist.

“You have good days and bad days,” Johns said.

Making someone happy is the best part for him, he said. It’s just like any other job, he said.

His favorite tattoo that he’s ever done was a portrait of his friend’s dog that he did on his friend.

There can be perils to tattoos, however, which can lead to regretted marks permanently impressed into a person’s skin.

Drew cautions not to jump on the bandwagon when getting tattoos because that can lead to regret of the tattoo.

“[There are still] lots of great reasons to get tattoos,” he said. A few examples he gave were big life events and a portrait of your grandmother, which tattooer Emma Whidden has.

McGinnis warns to be wary of getting someone’s name as a tattoo, even if a couple is married.

“You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

She encourages others to make their own personal choices about what tattoos they get, though, saying it is ultimately up to them.

The bad reputation tattoos get often comes from unpracticed tattooers who pick up a tattoo gun and start tattooing.

Tattooing gets a bad name mainly from mediocre tattooers, which can lead to infections and bad tattoos, Drew said.

The bad name of tattoos does not come from the tattoos themselves.

Drew said that celebrities have “made [tattooing] mainstream” because so many famous people have them.