Sunday, September 23, 2001

More than skin deep

Tattoos of eagles, flags and 'USA' in big demand

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — At tattoo parlors, people are lining up for designs of Old Glory and anything red, white and blue.

[photo] Justin Arrasmith, 24, of Florence gets his sentiments tattooed by artist Bob Grossman at Skin Art in Erlanger.
(Patrick Reddy photos)
| ZOOM |
        “Since the terrorist attacks, we've had people ask about lots of different stuff, anything from flags to Bugs Bunny holding an M60 with a flag behind it,” said tattoo artist Sarah Walton, who works at Cincinnati Tattoo Studio in Price Hill.

        Tristate tattoo artists say the Sept. 11 attacks have prompted dozens of folks to plunk down an average of $200 for a permanent symbol of their patriotism.

        Among those recently getting tattoos were Martin Reid of Westwood, just a week out of boot camp. Last week, the 18-year-old Marine had a Marine bulldog tattooed onto his right upper arm.

        In the past 11 days, “at least a dozen” customers have asked for patriotic designs at the Mysterious Ink Tattoo Studio in Covington, co-owner Todd Reynolds said.

        During that same period, tattoo artists at the Designs by Dana shops in Northside and Covington estimated they have done as many as 10 patriotic motifs, including a couple of requests for firefighter helmets with flags behind them, while Skin Art in Erlanger has had “triple the usual amount of requests” for American-related designs, such as eagles, flags or a combination of the two.

[photo] The unfinished tattoo
        “We have hundreds of patriotic designs, and we can make any custom-designed piece,” Ms. Walton said. “If you want a picture of the twin towers with an American flag draped around them, we can draw it.”

        When Justin Arrasmith learned of the terrorist attacks, the 24-year-old Florence man's emotions ran the gamut from sadness to anger. He opted to get a permanent reminder of the tragedy.

        “Everything that happened made me so mad that I thought it would be a good thing to show where I stood on the issue,” Mr. Arrasmith said. “When you watch TV and see what this is doing to the families, it's pretty sad.”

        The Florence machine operator spent much of Friday afternoon at Skin Art, getting a fist-sized American flag tattooed onto his right shoulder, between the words “God Bless America” and “USA.”

        Although Mr. Arrasmith has three other tattoos on his chest and lower legs, this was his first patriotic design and the only one that's readily visible. “I just want people to know that I support my country, and I'm proud to be an American,” he said.


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