By Reyna Estrada
Tattoos are a form of self expression that have been around for centuries and, throughout recent years, body art has gained popularity, especially among college students.
According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, approximately 23 percent of college students have at least one tattoo. However, tattoos are not the most accessible form of expression, largely due to the price tag that often comes along with a high quality work of art.
Tattoo Union, a local Chicago shop with two locations in Bridgeport and Chinatown, has taken strides in attempting to spread the accessibility of body art through their $30 Thursday Tattoo deal.
While the price tag may be too good to pass over, there is a lot of concern within the tattoo community in regards to the quality of the work that may be associated with such a low price. Typically, tattoos start at anywhere from $40-$100 a hour, with many factors such as size, location and simplicity of the design impacting the final price.
Brice Welton, an artist who has been working for Tattoo Union for six months discussed the goals of the promotion. “$30 Thursday started when the owner of the shop wanted to originate a promotion that gave people the opportunity to come get tattoos at a price that was affordable to them,” Welton said.
He pointed out that the deal only applied to very small and simple tattoos. “I would say a lot of them are more like party tats, like, fun things that people wouldn’t want to pay full price for,” Welton said. “I’ve never had a bad experience. For the most part, a lot of people come in, you know, they’re excited about their little $30 tattoo, and they spread the word to their friends and keep coming back.” Additionally, he felt the majority of clients were satisfied with the finished product. Welton said, “They’re pretty fun, most people are pretty happy.”
Roosevelt University students have not shied away from trying out this affordable shop. Carleen Jones, first-year psychology and social justice student, received an ace of spades tattoo at Tattoo Union and was very happy with the outcome.
“My tattoo was a walk in and they were very quick with the whole process of figuring out exactly what I wanted and getting started. I enjoyed my experience a lot,” Jones said.
Not all of their clients have been equally enthusiastic about their experiences. Alexa Jones, a first year criminal justice, said although she is mostly happy with her half moon tattoo, after the healing process she has noticed some flaws. “The lines aren’t straight and the ink is thicker in some parts.”
Despite the flaws, A. Jones still would consider going back. “I would get another tattoo during their Thursday sale, but it kind of depends on the tattoo,” Jones said.
Another Roosevelt University student had a similar experience. Emily Berni, first-year elementary education, received a tattoo of a outline of a wave and she said, “I was happy with the result when I first got it – it looked straight and cleanly done.” She said that she is still happy with the tattoo but she has noticed that, “some parts of the line are smaller than others.”
Other clients were so pleased with their tattoos that they decided to go back. Kiara Coleman, first-year biology, got a tattoo of a coqui frog at Tattoo Union. “I was very happy with the results. I actually did go back a few weeks later and got the Sears Tower,” Coleman said.