Tattoo Tuesday V.51

Name/blog name: Amy Michael; I keep a Word document in which I write about each horror movie I have in my collection. I always think about putting it in blog form! Maybe participating in your blog will inspire me to actually put my thoughts online, but I fear rejection by the anonymous public!
Age: 28

Occupation: I am a graduate student at Michigan State University studying physical anthropology and skeletal biology. I do archaeology during the summer and work as a teaching assistant during the school year.

Age of first tattoo: 15! Oooof.

Favorite tattoo: Hmmm, hard to say. I am one of those annoying restless souls who is always thinking about the next thing. I think my next few planned tattoos will be my favorites. But, for now, I'll say the scream queen on my arm.

Featured tattoo/location: Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Eric Jenks, Fish Ladder Tattoo in Lansing, MI

1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?
I love, love, LOVE horror movies especially from the 50s and 80s. I grew up watching slashers and sci-fi creature features with my dad. We both collect VHS tapes and geek out over horror trivia. He buys me original horror posters every year for my birthday and holidays- sometimes they are movies we watched together, but mostly they're just ones with cool artwork. I went to the tattoo shop with a bunch of posters and explained the type of imagery and colors I liked. By trade I am a scientist (I study tooth microstructure- probably the polar opposite of artistry!), so I have trouble articulating what exactly I want in a tattoo. I know what I like, but I never really have a clear vision so I was stoked on what Eric came up with: a 50s scream queen with a demon shooting lazers out of his eyes, some birds with classic bright swirly colors (used on a lot of horror posters in the 50s), and an angry mob. He worked around some of my existing goofy tattoos (Hello Kitty on the elbow) and a couple others from my misspent teen years, ha! While this tattoo reminds me of my dad, it's mostly just for fun. It's not serious, it's not particularly meaningful, but it captures something that has been in my life since I saw Child's Play and first got hooked! I am working on a PhD at the moment, so I spend a lot of time doing somewhat tedious research. Horror movies are an escape and I don't have to critically evaluate them. Turning my brain off and just enjoying a movie has come to be a saving grace during graduate school.
2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?
Sure do! On my left arm I have some Anthropology-related tattoos: a spider that was carved on a shell and found buried with an elderly woman at an archaeology site I worked at in Illinois (it is thought to have symbolized her status and power in life), a tattoo of a 1x2 meter unit with the hypotenuse (when we set up units to dig at sites, these are the dimensions we use), and my favorite fossil Shanidar 1 (this is a Neanderthal that was quite old when he died; he was buried with flowers and this burial is thought to be the first sign of compassion in pre-modern individuals).
I also have a chalk outline which is positively meaningless, but I sure thought it was cool when I was 20. The proverb- "nothing ventured, nothing gained" is on my forearms and I also have my chest done. I'm not a big fan of the artwork (again, it seemed awesome at age 16), but I like still believe in the script that I have: "Judge Not."
On my upper right arm, I have few friendship tattoos: one is the Minor Threat sheep with a pink bow. Straight edge, black sheep, friendship! This is with my friend Lindsey and I would get a billion more with her. The other one is a heart with a keypad inside of it which I share with my sister. She made up a saying once: "The phone of life doesn't dial you, you have to pick it up and call yourself!" It makes us laugh and, while neither of us can remember under what circumstances she blurted that out, it holds true!
Besides those, I have a heart with a spider web on my back along with a few others that I'm too embarrassed to share on the internet! Sometimes I think about getting some covered up, but they really are little reminders of where I've been (and sometimes where I wouldn't want to return). It's just skin, that's what I figure.

3) Do you plan on getting more?
Definitely. I have plans for my feet (a Bruce Springsteen lyric? I'm a superfan!) and a Pump Up the Volume tattoo (Talk Hard!). I also want some 1920s circus sideshow art and some old Halloween art. I collect 1920s-1960s Halloween postcards and I'll probably select some mix of images from those. I'd like to cover part of my back. I'm kicking around some ideas about getting a microscope or a microscopic image of a tooth, but then that's probably it for the school nerd tattoos!

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos?
Most of my close friends have tattoos, but I also exist in the uptight "normie" world of academia where I am far and away the most heavily tattooed person that I've ever seen at conferences or in classes. Because I am an anthropologist, I do not usually encounter anything other than curiosity from other people because anthropologists are, by nature, extremely tolerant (kind of part and parcel of the job description!). However, at national meetings and such, I've experienced some uncomfortable comments or sometimes people don't take me seriously or they treat me like a novelty. My students are usually pretty cool about it, and it has been interesting to see the reactions vary from class to class. I teach a science writing course that is primarily for students that will be going into the medical field. They are clearly more freaked out by my appearance than students in my anthropology courses. Aside from that, I do archaeology work in the summer and one of the sites is in rural Illinois. Those good ol' farm boys definitely thought I was an alien. When I worked in Belize, people asked to take pictures with me like a sideshow freak! People have certainly been negative to me about my tattoos, but I mostly get positive comments. I think the most irritating thing is probably the same thing any heavily tattooed female will say: nobody wants to talk to the weird guy on the bus/subway/street/checkout line about his Taz/Hatchetman/jailhouse tattoo!

5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?
I should certainly not give tattoo advice! I got two in a kitchen when I was 15 and I've also gotten some on whims. I think I fall squarely in the "tattoos represent a moment or experience" camp rather than with the people who plan them out for months. Get what you want to get, when you want to get it. Go to a safe, clean shop. Pick an artist you respect. Don't get upset if you don?t love it years later. Life goes on. You'll pick up better tattoos along the way. And make sure you have a lot of Kleenex if you're getting your elbow done. That shit hurts!