Tattoo perceptions on campus

Sophomore flight operations major, Garret Wilcox's tattoos range from blood droplets, signifying his love for boxing and mixed-martial arts, to a turtle with a peace sign that he had tattooed while in Maui.

Sophomore flight operations major, Garret Wilcox's tattoos range from blood droplets, signifying his love for boxing and mixed-martial arts, to a turtle with a peace sign that he had tattooed while in Maui.

As a liberal arts college, Westminster students are often seen with exposed tattoos and have few concerns for judgements from future employers, professors or other students around campus.

Garret Wilcox, sophomore flight operations major from San Diego, said he has not felt that anyone, students or professors on campus, feel too strongly one way or the other when it comes to tattoos.

Wilcox has tattoos on both of his arms, feet, ankles, ribs and one leg.

“It seems like, as a community in general, [we’re] relatively neutral,” Wilcox said. “[That] possibly stems from, as a society, we’re growing to be more accepting of [tattoos]. They’re not really that taboo thing that they used to be. I think Westminster’s culture is definitely drawn to that.”

Wilcox is not the only one who has noticed the acceptance and tolerance of Westminster students with tattoos.

Lucy Blatt—senior visual communication major from Cumberland, Maine—has a full sleeve, mostly tattooed by artists in Salt Lake City.

“I think that, on our campus, we are really liberal, open minded and progressive,” Blatt said. “That’s why it’s wonderful and why I feel so comfortable having all these tattoos. I do it for myself but it is nice to have approval from your peers and not look like such an outsider.”

Blatt said she feels lucky that she can be a part of the open-minded communities in the communication world and recognizes that other professions might not be so open to it.

Jan Lyons, assistant director of career services in the Career Resource Center, said that showing tattoos to future employers is dependent on what professions students go into.

“I think you need to just figure out what they are like,” Lyons said. “If it’s going to work to your benefit, do it. If it’s not going to work to your benefit, don’t show it.”

Allie Nelson, sophomore biology major from Riverton, said she knows a lot of people who have large tattoos and are supportive of it, as well as a lot of people who are completely against it.

All of Foster’s tattoos have been design by close friends or by himself and tattooed in both Texas and Utah.

All of Foster’s tattoos have been design by close friends or by himself and tattooed in both Texas and Utah.

Nelson has a single tattoo on her ribs, done by an artist at This Is The Place Tattoo in Midvale.

“I personally wouldn’t [get tattoos that show],” Nelson said. “That’s why I did get mine in the spot that it is. Even if I’m in a swimming suit, you can’t even see it half the time.”

Wilcox, sophomore flight operations major, said that he tries to look professional for his job as a tutor at Mathnasium and when the situation calls for a level of professionalism.

“I have to go out to the airport and they talk about how we’re supposed to look professional, but I didn’t care one day and showed up in a tank top and no one really cared,” Wilcox said. “Obviously, most of my T-shirts cut off and show a little bit of my tattoos on my arms, so they don’t really care about it.”

Ethan Fosterjunior marketing major from Tyler, Texashas nine tattoos that can be covered with a standard T-shirt and shorts.

“I got my tattoos on my torso and legs because I didn’t want to face any discrimination in getting a job,” Foster said. “I also hate being asked what my tattoos mean.”

When it comes to getting tattoos in Salt Lake City, Blatt, who has a full-sleeve tattoo, said her favorite shops are Heart of Gold on 853 E. 400 South and King of Swords on 248 W. 900 South.

“I’ve definitely had some bad experiences with some artists, so I’m a lot more particular now,” Blatt said.

When it comes to the post-graduation job search, Blatt said she is “in a pickle with [her] tattoos.”

Currently in her senior portfolio class with communication professor Kim Zarkin, Blatt is being prepared for the real world and what students need to do to show portfolios.

“[Zarkin] always kind of calls me out in class for my tattoos,” Blatt said. “She says, ‘Do you want to show your tattoos to your employer in your first interview?’ That’s just a really difficult question."

Join the conversation on wcforummedia.com and share student ink using the hashtag #inkwcforum.