Works of body art
For women, tattoos are fashion statement. By Jeff Hawkes, Staff Writer email@example.com
Tattoos have made a huge leap. Once a brash symbol of masculinity for sailors, bikers and other tough guys, a tattoo today is increasingly a woman's fashion statement.
Forget about triceps emblazoned with anchors, hula dancers or Betty Boop.
Instead, women tend to seek out artists who can render delicate and colorful images -- they may be flowers, birds or butterflies -- that speak of their passions and life journeys.
"I'm very proud of the ink that I have," said Lindsey Hunter, 35, seemingly unfazed as a tattoo artist Saturday pricked dye into the skin of her left shoulder. "It's an expression of me."
"I love art," said Rebecca Funk, 37, who sports elaborate tattoos on about a third of her body, "and now I have beautiful artwork that goes with me everywhere."
According to a Harris Poll survey last year, women with tattoos for the first time outnumbered men with body art. Overall, 21 percent of American adults have at least one tattoo. Among women, the rate is 23 percent; men are at 19 percent.
For young adults, getting at least one tattoo has become almost a rite of passage. A 2010 Pew Research Center survey found that 38 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have one or more tattoos.
Young and middle-aged women were among the spectators, consumers and artists Saturday attending the War of the Roses Tattoo Convention, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lancaster Host Golf Resort, 2300 Lincoln Highway East. It's a fundraiser for Noah's Cart, which promotes research and awareness of schizencephaly, a congenital brain malformation.
Organizers Jesse Kline, 30, and Amanda Nixdorf, 24, of Millersville are parents to 15-month-old Arianna, who was born with the disorder. Tattoo enthusiasts, the couple decided Lancaster didn't need another 5K race or sub sale for charity. They decided the time was right for a tattoo competition.
Sara Graeber, 23, was sporting two of the contest entries. On the back of Graeber's left thigh are the familiar visages of the Three Stooges. On the back of her right thigh is a wary image of Billy the Kid.
As random as the tattoos may seem to the casual observer, they are meaningful symbols to Graeber. She grew up watching "The Three Stooges'' with her mom and Westerns with her dad. Billy the Kid went on her right leg, she said, because "dad's always right."
"After he got over the fact that I have this giant tattoo, that made him smile," Graeber said.
Several women said their parents looked askance at their early interest in tattooing.
"I wanted a tattoo all my teenage years," said Hunter, of Cleona, who has a powder coating business. "Mom said no."
But at 18, Hunter had a rose and butterfly tattooed to her ankle, a decision she grew to regret because the artistry was unsophisticated. She's had no regrets since as she found artists who beautifully decorated her body with images of flowers, each symbolic of specific people in her life. One flower on her hip contains ashes from a cremated loved one.
And now Hunter's own mother has been won over. She got an abstract dolphin and waves tattoo symbolizing her love of swimming.
"It kind of floored me," Hunter said.
Not far from where Hunter was getting a tattoo, 19-year-old Shelby Golob was tattooing the thigh of her own mother, Brenda Golob, 47.
The younger Golob, who completed her apprenticeship more than a year ago, has developed her own clientele and sees a future as a tattoo artist. The elder Golob couldn't be prouder.
"I encouraged her all the way," said Brenda Golob, even offering up her feet as canvasses for her daughter's first-ever tattoos.
On Saturday, the teen was executing an elaborate image of a pretty young woman, decorated with flowers, on her mother's thigh. In summer attire, Golob will be a walking exhibit of her daughter's craft.
"It's a piece of my daughter's artwork that I will always have," Golob said, "and that means a lot to me."n