Tat-Tuesday: Students share stories behind ink

Josue Moreno

Editor’s note: Tat-Tuesday is a weekly series that features students around campus and their tattoos.

Photos by Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

Kevin Vela

When radio-television-film senior Kevin Vela came out to friends and family, he marked the occasion by getting a tattoo sleeve of the album artwork for Bombay Bicycle Club’s A Different Kind of Fix.

“One of the songs on the album is called ‘Shuffle,’ and it talks about the idea of just giving yourself up to something without worrying about other people’s concerns,” Vela said. “I really got so much out of that.”

Vela said, for him, coming out is like celebrating a second birthday because it involved revealing his true self to others for the first time.
“A lot of people like to get equal signs for their coming out tattoo,” Vela said. “But I wanted something to show off my colorful personality.”

Wali Hassan

International relations sophomore Wali Hassan said he’s always had the qualities of a leader, which is partially why he decided to get tattoos of a dragon and a lion on his right and left arms, respectively.

“I’ve always been a role model,” Hassan said. “People have always looked to me as an example and a source of strength.”
The dragon and lion’s astrological significance also played a part in Hassan’s decision — he’s a Leo and was born in 1988, the year of the dragon in the Chinese zodiac. 

Erika Garcia

English senior Erika Garcia has a tattoo of an anchor on her right leg as a reminder of her late grandfather, who served in the navy. Garcia designed and drew the tattoo herself.

“[My grandfather] passed away before I knew him,”Garcia said. “So [the tattoo] is here to remind me that he remains my anchor. There are also five links on the anchor to symbolize the five family members who are always with me.”

Garcia said she sees her mother as the closest living vessel to her grandfather because the two were so close.
“I look to her so I can understand the way she saw him,” Garcia said.

Hayli Moore

Psychology freshman Hayli Moore decided to get a matching seahorse tattoo with her mother after their family moved to Dallas from Galveston. Moore said she grew up by a canal, and the ocean was a significant part of her childhood memories.

“We wanted a reminder of where we’re from,” Moore said. “Before the hurricanes hit, and we moved, we were on the beach all the time, and it was a part of who we were.”

Moore said she and her mother intend to move back one day, and the seahorses are a symbol of that desire. “It just kind of shows that home is where the heart is.”