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Pandemic tattoo boom

Tattoos are something people seem to love or hate. Some see them as a beautiful way to express themselves and provide a unique canvas for art to be displayed. Others do not see the appeal of them at all. Whatever side you’re on, the work and talent involved in tattooing should be greatly appreciated.  

Lockdown tattoo love 

Consider getting a black hole tattoo to temporarily escape the black hole of the pandemic. (Photo by Geoffrey Howard)

The art of tattooing was taken away from artists for a while when COVID-19 first came around. In Nova Scotia, lockdowns measures meant tattoo parlours were closed for months on end early last year. 

    Life in lockdown is repetitive, leaving many craving for a way to escape. I would suggest to anyone who is on the fence about getting a tattoo to take the leap. The number of people posting on social media about the tattoos they want and have gotten recently seems to have skyrocketed compared to pre-COVID-19 times.  

    Zoe Melanson, a first-year nursing student at St. Francis Xavier University, has gotten tattoos before and during the pandemic. 

   “They do not hurt, in my opinion, and I think that tattoos are ways of showing important or fun things for yourself or others,” Melanson says. 

     Courtney Phinney, a first-year medical sciences major at Dalhousie University, echoes this sentiment. She decided to get a tattoo when the pandemic began and sees them as a great idea for someone to do if they are interested. 

    “The pain during the tattoo process is worth it because you get to look at a picture on your body every day,” Phinney says. “It hopefully means a lot to you and this will make your soul happy.” 

If not now, then when? 

A recent BuzzFeed article illustrates the importance of getting a tattoo in these pandemic days: 

“Tattoos are a reminder, when nearly everything else is out of your control, that your body is your own to do with what you will,” says writer Shannon Keating.  

In a time where we do not know what is happening one day to the next, it seems important to ground ourselves and do things we have complete control over. From picking the design to the artist, getting a tattoo can be a method of choice in what seems to be an unstable and powerless world.  

“COVID-19 era tattoos may be linked to some sort of resilience and drive for existing during a pandemic.”

       Refinery29 article from August 2020 covers the recent spike in tattoo appointments. In the article, psychologist Vinita Mehta expresses she is not surprised by the spike: “I think we would expect some kind of spike in tattooing just because so many people are going through something stressful right now.” Additionally, Mehta says, “From a therapeutic, psychotherapy perspective, you can see tattooing as a form of processing an event of personal significance.” 

Considering the times, getting tattoos may function as a sort of release, distraction, self-expression or form of processing. COVID-19 era tattoos may be linked to some sort of resilience and drive for existing during a pandemic.  

      Tattoos are an avenue for a world of fun. The amount of emotion and creativity in the process of making and getting a tattoo is amazing. The feelings of accomplishment and pure happiness after it is over make it all worth it. 


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