Got Ink? Part Three
By Steven Zapel
The winner of The INSIGHT’s “Got Ink” contest for the December 6, 2010 issue is Mary Tieng. Mary’s tattoo is a compilation piece on her back that contains several tattoos, and as a whole they portray Mary’s tribute to her culture.
Mary is Cambodian, and her tattoo represents Cambodian culture. In the middle of her back is an Apsara. An Apsara is a symbol for beauty in the Cambodian culture, and is contained in lots of Cambodian artwork and architecture. The Apsara originally danced for the Cambodian kings throughout the 8-13th centuries inside the Angkor Wat (a temple complex in Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king). The Apsara is generally portrayed nude with distinctive hair, wearing a headdress, jewels, and flowers.
The script in Mary’s tattoo is Khmer, the native language of Cambodia, and says Tieng Mary. In Cambodian culture the last names are said first. Mary added the bamboo stalks to her tattoo because they are very abundant in Southeast Asia, and are very versatile and used as a building material for many structures in Cambodia. Bamboo is also used for tattooing in Cambodia, instead of stainless steel needles.
The Lotus flowers have several meanings in Cambodian culture. Lotus flowers grow in swampy, muddy water and bloom on top of the water to reveal a beautiful flower. This represents overcoming and prevailing in difficult times. The Lotus flower also has religious meaning in Cambodian culture.
The different colors of the Lotus flower have separate meanings in Cambodia, similar to the ways different colors of roses have distinct meanings in American culture. The pink Lotus flower represents supreme spirituality, since it is a pink Lotus that the Buddha sits on top of (Buddhism is the primary religion in Cambodian culture). The white Lotus flower represents purity.
Mary started her tattoo about two years ago and it began as a cover-up for a tattoo she had done when she was “an irrational 18 year old.” A cover-up is a tattoo that is done on top of an existing tattoo that a person no longer wants to have expressed on their body. Since tattoo removal is very expensive and hard to do, people often choose to place a new tattoo on top of the old one as a way of removing it from their body.
Mary’s tattoo was done by Levi Phillips, an independent tattoo artist who does not work out of any specific shop. Mary’s tattoo is a continuous piece that has been added to over the past two years and is still a work in progress. She started the piece by giving Levi an idea about what she wanted, and with his help the design came to life.
I asked Mary her opinion regarding the pain of receiving the tattoo. “Pain depends on where the tattoo is placed, because of the sensitivity of various parts of the body," she said. "As well, it depends on the person’s pain tolerance.” Mary said some of her tattoos hurt while other she could barely feel and over time the feeling became almost relaxing to her.
Mary’s advice for anyone looking to get a tattoo is to take your time and decide on something that means something to you. She said “think about it being on your face, where you will have to look at it the rest of your life, and decide if it’s something you really want to have on your body for the rest of your life.” She also suggested getting the tattoo you want done as a Henna tattoo, since Henna tattoos are drawn on and only last a few months. If you fall in love with the Henna tattoo, then you should get a permanent tattoo of the design done. Mary says to “think before you ink and never get a flash tattoo.” She advises people “to remember that a tattoo is an investment, and that getting quality tattoo artwork done on your body costs lots of money and requires time to have it done well.”
Mary’s tattoo is our second entry into the INSIGHT’s contest to win a $100 gift certificate to Boulevard Tattoos, courtesy of Kyle the owner of Boulevard Tattoos. Stay tuned to each new issue of the paper to see all the biweekly winners and to place your vote for your favorite tattoo at the end of the spring semester.
The INSIGHT would like to thank everyone who submitted a photo of their tattoo, and encourage those who did not win to resubmit their photo, because even though you were not this issue’s winner you could be next issue's. All Daemen students are eligible to participate in this contest and we encourage you to submit a picture of your tattoo and a brief message about it to the editor, at email@example.com.
Be sure to get your tattoo entered because your current tattoo may earn you $100 towards your next tattoo. Until next time, keep the pictures of your ink coming in and secure your chance at the gift certificate and the reputation of having Daemen College’s best tattoo.
The prize from this contest cannot be redeemed for cash value. All entries must be submitted via email with only the tattoo visible in the in the picture. No sexually explicit pictures will be considered for bi-weekly winners. This contest is limited to Daemen college students. Contest winner must be able to show a valid Daemen College I.D. to receive their prize. If the winner of the contest is unable to meet the rules of this contest, the tattoo with the second highest amount of votes will become the winner. All contest participants must be 18 years of age or older. The Insight, Daemen College and their affiliates are not responsible for any lost entries. One entry per email. The Insight, Daemen College, and their affiliates are not responsible for replacing the gift certificate if the winner loses it. The Insight, Daemen college and their affiliates are not responsible for any bodily harm that may result from use of the gift certificate, redeeming the gift certificate is done at the winners own risk. Failure to read and abide by these contest rules will result in forfeiture of the prize.