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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Poe
Opinion Editor

My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Tattoo artists share love for ink

As Spring slowly closes in on the normally frigid air of Marquette, many students are shedding their sweatshirts in favor of clothing that shows a little more skin. Along with that skin, they’re beginning to show a little more ink.

People decide to adorn themselves with tattoos for all sorts of reasons, one of which is for the sake of art.

“Most people who (become tattoo artists) are tattoo enthusiasts,” said Dan Pemble, a tattoo artist at Impaled. “But for me it was all about the art. I was interested in the process and tattooing goes really well with my style.”

Pemble, who received a degree in illustration from Northern, has been tattooing for seven consecutive years, the last two at Impaled.

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While many people conjure up the image of a person covered in tattoos when they hear the term “tattoo artist” Pemble’s look is a little different. Without any visible ink on his arms or neck, he doesn’t look like a usual tattoo artist. That’s because for Pemble, tattooing is first and foremost a way to perform his own style of art.

Pemble’s said this interest started at a young age.

“The first tattoo I remember seeing was on my grandpa’s arm,” he said. “He got it in the Korean War. For the longest time I thought it was a bayonet, but I recently found out it’s supposed to be a dagger that goes into his skin and then comes back out. I was so intrigued by it. I was always trying to pull his shirt sleeve so I could see it.

“And now, I have his portrait on my back.”

After opening New Age Tattoo five years ago Larry Hoevker became a full-time tattoo artist, citing his own love for tattoos as his inspiration.

“I always liked other people’s ink,” he said.

Hoevker is no stranger to ink, sporting sleeves on both arms as well as tattoos on his neck. And though he said the stigma of tattoos is lessening as the years go by, he still receives strange looks from passersby, especially since he had his neck tattooed two years ago.

“You get looked at when you go into Wal-Mart,” he said. “I know (in January) I went downstate, I stopped at a Holiday gas station in St. Ignace . and a cop followed me around because, in my mind, I had tattoos on the side of my neck and big earlobes. I was even there with two kids.

“You do get looked at differently when you have visible tattoos,” he added.

Hoevker had his first tattoo inked at the age of 14 and has continued to collect them since. Now, at the age of 30, he has around 20 tattoos.

And Hoevker isn’t alone. According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent of people age 18 to 25, and 40 percent of people age 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo. With so many people sporting tattoos, it seems to both Hoevker and Pemble that the taboo of tattoo is lessening as the years go by.

“It’s becoming more mainstream, a little more accepted,” Hoevker said. “Maybe not so much with the older folks, but now, it’s not uncommon to run into somebody with a tattoo.

“Doing what we do, we meet people from all walks of life,” he added. “I’ve tattooed 80 year-old-grandmothers.”

Pemble echoed those sentiments, saying there’s no such thing as a typical tattoo customer.

“You can’t pinpoint anymore what a tattoo customer will look like,” he said. “We have doctors, lawyers, police officers. It’s no longer taboo, or something to be frowned upon. There’s no typical customer at all.”

One of those tattoo customers is senior psychology major Todd Hillhouse.

Hillhouse sports several tattoos, including a sleeve on each arm, a gypsy on his ribs and the word “Redneck” on the inside of his lower lip.

For Hillhouse, along with Pemble and Hoevker, tattooing is a form of expression, of art.

“Basically, for me, it’s the art,” he said. “I look for cool designs, try to find out what it means, I try to incorporate it into my life.”

Hillhouse’s collection of tattoos began at the age of 18 with an image of a flaming horseshoe on his chest. The meaning behind that one was simple, he said.

“It’s good luck.

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