Tat-Tuesday: Students share stories behind ink

Thomas Boswell

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

Amber Palmer 

The cross of nails on human development and family sciences sophomore Amber Palmer’s left leg represents her faith and serves as a reminder of her love of Christ. 

“Jesus’ sacrifice is the thing that is the most important to me and what I base my faith off of,” Palmer said. “It has an infinity sign because my faith and his love for me are forever.” 

With nine piercings and two visible tattoos, Palmer is no stranger to body modification. She said she believes tattoos should represent something substantial and tell a story. 

“It gives me an opportunity to talk about something that’s important,” Palmer said. “I just had to get something for Jesus tattooed on my body.” 

Palmer is involved with the Wesley Church Group on campus and travels to South Padre Island during spring break to give vacationers free and safe transportation. Palmer said the group uses the rides to have conversations with party-goers and help break down the stigma of the uptight Christian. 

“My tattoo really helped out a lot,” Palmer said. “People would be like, ‘Whoa, tell me about that.’ I’d be able to share my faith and the gospel through that. They opened up and were willing to listen.”

Jazz Foster 

English junior Jazz Foster got three crossed swords tattooed on her right forearm after her first year of college. The swords allude to her and her two friends who students called the three musketeers back in high school.

“People used to call my friends and I back home the three musketeers because we had no other friends in high school,” Foster said. “We liked the name, so we kind of adopted it for ourselves. We still call ourselves that.” 

Foster said she got the tattoo as a way to adjust to the demands of college life after a hectic first year at UT. 

“It was the end of a crazy year,” Foster said. “I think your first year of college is always a little more trying than you expect it to be, and mine certainly was. Since I hadn’t seen them in half a year it was kinda a way to always keep them with me.” 

Caitlin Espinosa

The strong bond math senior Caitlin Espinosa had with her high school art teacher inspired her to tattoo the title of a famous Monet painting on her right arm. 

“We were best friends for four years when I was in high school,” Espinosa said. “She had me recreate that painting in my freshman year. Right before I was going to graduate, she framed it and everything and made it a really big deal.” 

Espinosa said she got the tattoo immediately after graduating high school and has remained friends with her former teacher since then. She continues to draw, but said she wishes she had more time outside of schoolwork to follow her passion. 

“I like to draw portraits of people,” Espinosa said. “I don’t really draw from observation a lot. I draw from pictures. I want to do engineering after I graduate because it does involve drawing.”

Marsha Cripe

Marsha Cripe’s  least favorite tattoo is a tattoo on her right leg of a woman with a monocle given to her by her neighbor. 

“I’m a massage therapist, so we decided to do a barter,” Cripe said. “I’d give him a massage, and he’d give me a tattoo. I didn’t really care. It wasn’t my first tattoo.” 

Cripe said the tattoo artist showed her a picture of a girl he drew, and she agreed to have it done. After tattooing the portrait, he revealed a disturbing detail about the monocled girl’s origins. 

“In the middle of the tattoo, he told me he was in the Aryan brotherhood, and it was an Aryan brotherhood tattoo,” Cripe said. “At which point I freaked out and went home, and my husband looked up the tattoo on the Internet, and he had stolen it from a tattoo artist who lived in Amsterdam.” 

The Aryan brotherhood relationship was never verified, but on top of the bizarre story, Cripe said the tattoo was poorly done.  

“I’ve never gotten it touched up,” Cripe said. “It’s terrible. The shading is uneven, and the lines are squiggly.”