Tat-Tuesday: Students share stories behind their ink

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Photo Credit: Melanie Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

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

Julie Kantor
Though American studies Ph.D. student Julie Kantor’s body is covered in tattoos, the one on her right shoulder holds a particular, personal significance. The tattoo depicts a 1970s postcard-esque representation of the Chaco Mountains enshrouded by a woman’s hair. 

“It’s the Chaco Mountains in southeastern California where Slab City is,” Kantor said. “Slab City is maybe the only free place left to live in America. There’s no electricity or water, but there are people who have lived in there for decades. There’s a lot of transient kids and people in general, because it’s free to live in.”

Kantor visited the snowbird community in 2014 with her anthropologist friend who was conducting field research. Kantor said visiting the city completely transformed her outlook on life and what it means to be American.

“Just being there and meeting people changed my perspective about ideas of home, my ideas of property and the complications that arise when we try to commodify land that’s never been commodified before,” Kantor said.

Juliana Castro 
Graduate design student Juliana Castro has a total of five tattoos, but the one on her left upper arm is her favorite. She said she’s inspired by light and fun doodles. 

“I like this one a lot because it means two things at once,” Castro said. “Crossed fingers can be a symbol for good luck or it can mean you’re lying if they’re held behind your back.”

Castro tries to take a carefree approach to tattoos. So when the opportunity came to get a tattoo at 3 a.m. in Manhattan with four good friends, she took it.

“I just have random, stupid tattoos,” Castro said. “We were just talking about things and ended up talking about pepperoni pizza. And I said ‘I want to tattoo myself with pepperoni pizza.’ It was really fun and random. No one was expecting to do it. It was great.”

Chance Steward 
Acting senior Chance Steward always loved the idea of putting art on his body, but when the opportunity arose to finally get a tattoo, he decided he wanted to pay homage to his dad and his favorite comic: Batman.

“[Batman] reminds me of my dad,” Steward said. “I got it for him. He has a Superman tattoo in the same place. He’s the one who got me into comic books growing up. He had the Superman one already, but he got the Batman logo around the Superman one when I got [this one].”