Tat-Tuesday: SXSW attendees share stories behind the ink


Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

Editor's note: For this special SXSW edition of Tat-Tuesday, The Daily Texan spoke with attendees of the festival in downtown Austin.

Laura Jordan Bambach

Flying around the world from conference to conference means Laura Jordan Bambach, 43, often has to be away from her nine-year-old son back in London, England.

When her son began acting out about a year and a half ago, she knew something had to be done.

“The teacher actually said to me ‘He’s playing out when you’re away because he doesn’t feel like you miss him as much as he misses you,’” Jordan Bambach said.

Jordan Bambach’s solution was to have him start drawing, using her left arm as a canvas.

“I obviously love tattoos and he loves drawing. So I said, “If I’m away from home for a week or more, you can draw whatever you like and I’ll get it tattooed,” Jordan Bambach said.

The sleeve now takes up most of her left forearm. In the few days she’s been in Austin for SXSW, Jordan Bambach said she’s gotten several tattoos to make up for ones she’s missed.

“This has totally fixed all those issues at school,” Jordan Bambach said. “He’s really excited he can talk to his friends about it.”

Jasmine Scott

Voodoo dolls are often associated with pain and misfortune, but for Jasmine Scott, 22, the doll she has tattooed under her right arm doesn't signal misfortune—it’s empowering.

The Cleburne, Texas native said she got this particular tattoo at a time in her life when she felt she was being taken advantage of by people in her life.

“Last year was crazy, just life happened,” Scott said. “I decided: I’m done being a pin-cushion. I’m in control of my life.”

For Scott, the voodoo doll represents her refusal to allow others’ actions to determine the course of her life.

“It’s a reminder that I can pick and choose the direction my life takes,” Scott said.

Louisa Roach

The brightly-colored ink and floral on Louisa Roach’s arm reminds her of the dreamy, out-of-this world theme she uses in all the art she creates.  

“I really like psychedelic elements,” Roach said. “I like things that sound a little bit weird, not too straight down the line. I guess that extends into my music and into any kind of art.”

Roach, 35, sings and plays guitar in Liverpool, England-based indie-pop group She Drew The Gun. She said the tattoo holds a place in her heart because of both its thematic style and because the image represents a tender moment in her life.

The lyric that inspired the tattoo is special to her because it describes the moment when she was first meeting her girlfriend.

“I asked her what her favorite flower was when we were first meeting and it was a daisy,” Roach said. “I put that in the lyric of a song and that’s why I got the tattoo, to represent me and her meeting.”

Ryan Hall

Matching tattoos are a permanent reminder to Pennsylvania resident Ryan Hall and his sister that family is a positive, stable force in their lives.

“The tattoo says ‘With the family that loves you, you have nothing to fear,’” Hall said. “It’s just something that I said to her years and years ago when we were younger when we were having a family fight.”

Though the tattoo was inspired by a fight, Hall, 25, said he can barely remember it’s cause and that his relationship with his sister has grown even stronger in adulthood Hall said the phrase has served as a positive source of support for them both.

“It’s something we can look at if we’re ever having family issues and remember it’s message,” Hall said. “It’s a reminder that even though things might seem bad right now, we all know we love each other and we’ll always be together.”