We’re taking to the civilian streets this week to get some insight into what people showcase on their bodies and why. First up: Katie Adkins is a twentysomething artist who has a penchant for retro tats and Japanese culture. We talked to her about her skin art and the thought process and appeal behind it.
encore How do you usually decide on the image? And how does it come to fruition between you and the artist? Do you draw it, do they, etc?
Katie Adkins: Usually, it’s a particular style of tattoo that I’m aiming for (i.e traditional, Japanese). Most of the images are recycled and just tweaked. The majority of the time I just give the artist an idea of what I want and let them draw it up.
Everyone should just remember when getting a tattoo that not everything can be turned into a tattoo—so listen to what your artist has to say!
e: Tell me the meaning behind your pirate-inspired ink?
KA: Most people who are heavily tattooed don’t have meaning behind their tattoos and I am no exception.
e: Where did you get it?
KA: I got this tattoo [pirate skull and crossbones; pictured] at Glenn’s Tattoo Service [in Carrboro, NC], which is a great shop and has great artists.
e: I understand you have numerous inks; when did you fall in love with skin art?
KA: I loved tattoos before I even got my first one. I got that the day I turned 18! I have always loved art, and tattoos are just another form of it.
e: What about it connects with you?
KA: The great thing about tattoos is no matter how good or bad they are, each one reminds you of a certain time in your life. So, in a way, it’s like having your own personal time line that you get to add on to.
e: Do you have another in mind?
KA: I have a lot more in mind! I want to get a Japanese sleeve on my left arm, but first I want to get something for my daughter (who will be born sometime in October). Her father and I are both planning on getting a tattoo for her, but we want to meet her before we decide what it will be.
e: Weirdest place you have a tattoo?
KA: I suppose my hand is the strangest place I have a tattoo.
e: What’s the most interesting response you’ve received from a tattoo?
KA: I have a shark tattooed on my hand, and someone once asked if I was a shark-attack survivor.
e: Do you like it when people ask you about them? Or is it more of a personal thing?
KA: I never got tattoos for the attention but everyone wants to talk to you about them! At this point, I would rather not have strangers approach me about my tattoos because I’m just tired of making small talk about something that I rarely think about.