Mar 8th, 2017, 12:39 PM

Tattoos of AUP: Volume III

By Elizabeth Nguyen Son
Image credit: Rebecca Simor
"I kind of regretted it about two weeks afterward..."

Following up on the original Tattoos of AUP, check out some more ink on our diverse students' bodies.

Name: Shalise Barnes
Age: 21
Country: Canada/Germany
Number of tattoos: 8

"I get tattoos for places or experiences that meant a lot to me. I got the tiger in London on a school trip when I was 16. I kind of regretted it about two weeks afterward ... I think it was just the first time I’d ever committed to something as big as a tattoo that I could never take back, and I was just feeling anxiety about never being able to go back to the person I was before it.

"After that was the stingray, drawn from a photo I took while I was in Tahiti. I went there in the middle of my parents’ divorce, when I was deciding whether to change schools for my last year of high school. Our last day in Tahiti, I finally had a moment of peace when I saw this guy feeding the local stingrays along the shore. I went in the water with him and got to feed them and pet them.

Image credit: Elizabeth Nguyen Son

"Then I got San Cristobal, Dios Existe, and the cross all at the same time. I’d gone to Ecuador and the Galapagos, and it had been such a spiritual experience. In Ecuador, we hiked up to this waterfall called the Devil’s Cauldron and it was so incredible, beyond words. I didn’t want to get Devil’s Cauldron tattooed because I don’t want that negativity on my body; there was a sign in front of the waterfall that says when the missionaries came to Ecuador, they thought this waterfall was so beautiful it was a sign that God exists. And then [I got] San Cristobal because it’s the capital of the Galapagos. The text was done in my mom's handwriting.

"And then, I got the Sanskrit one with a terrible old friend of mine I got back in touch with when I was really depressed the summer before university. Now, it just reminds me of Vancouver and an era of my life I’m thrilled to learn from and never experience again.

Image credit: Elizabeth Nguyen Son

"The last two I got at the same time; it’s a poem my cousin/uncle wrote for me inside a book of poems that his family made for his 80th birthday. It says “For Shalise, my little friend, always kind to cats and dogs.” It kind of rhymes in German. But yeah, I got it when he got diagnosed with lung cancer last March; he passed away two weeks after that. He was my best friend and kind of my replacement dad. And then I got his initials that he signed that poem with on my wrist so I could see it all the time and be reminded of him.

"I want to get a few more; a seahorse on my arm, which is another Galapagos thing, and a big design thing on my back to connect the ones I already have and make them look like they belong together more, and then that I can fill in later. Maybe a couple for Malta and Paris later on when I figure out what’s stood out to me most from both places."

Image credit: Elizabeth Nguyen Son

Name: Joan Jessiman
Age: 20
Country: United States/United Kingdom
Number of tattoos: 1

"I took classes at the Sorbonne in Paris for six weeks in the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school and found this quote. I can’t remember where my friends and I found it, but I fell in love with it from that moment and knew I wanted a tattoo of it. The first reason was because Paris was such a dream of mine, to come and live here. My sister had also gone away to London and so I knew I wanted to be in Europe. I came here a ton when I was a child and I had been taking French for years.

"I got my tattoo on November 21, 2015; it was my first semester in college. Now that I am here and the dream has come true, the quote represents a question of what’s to come next: what’s going to become of my life after Paris and where is my time here going to take me? I also like it because it involves dreams and I’ve always been super interested in the psychology behind dreams, especially why and how dreams happen. And if when you end a dream, apparently, someone picks it up somewhere else. Does a dream just come to an end or do you pick it up later on in your life?

Image credit: Joan Jessiman

I came up with the font on my own... I didn’t look through the tattoo books or anything. I came in and knew what I wanted, except I thought I wanted it white ink at first but really realized I wanted it in black. I got it near Châtelet at an American place. I wanted it to be really dainty and handwriting-like, but we played around with the size a little anyway. He basically did it as fast as you would write it. He started at the question mark and worked his way backward. I chose to have it on my left arm. I knew I wanted it on the inside of my elbow. When I first found the quote, I had it on my entire left forearm in henna and loved it.

That summer made me fall in love with Paris even more and it made me realize I really wanted to be here and live here. I found out who I was and where I wanted to be in life. I want one more tattoo of an equilateral triangle, about the size of a penny, on my wrist, because of the bond that I have with my two siblings. We’re all going to get it at the same time by the same artist. We’re all away from home and we’re much closer now that we’re away from each other. I’d be open to another tattoo if I found something meaningful enough, but for now, that’s it. My tattoo wasn’t impulsive at all and I don't think any of the others will be either."


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Name: Amelia Harvey
Age: 20
Country: United States
Number of tattoos: 3

"The compass was my first tattoo. It was a total and complete act of rebellion and "finding myself" since I had just turned 18. The flowers are from a Swedish book my grandmother used to read to me called "The Flowers' Festival". That's the only meaning. The rest was to test if I'd get disowned or not.

Image credit: Amelia Harvey

"The rose on my forearm was my second. I got it less than a week after the November Paris attacks. I had drawn it in an art therapy class for my psychoanalysis class. At the time, I needed to do something. I had just spent the weekend on the AUP campus calling parents and students to try and locate them. It was an emotionally demanding weekend and the tattoo kind of helped to release everything that had built up.

Image credit: Amelia Harvey

"The bird was a birthday present from our very talented AUP fine arts student, Halid. I asked him for a design in October and got it in April. The tattoo artist had a broken leg, so she kind of rushed through it. It's a little rough right now, but I'll be getting it retouched. I want another tattoo of a few strands of lavender somewhere, because I did an exchange in Provence. I might get it after my birthday or maybe during spring break when I'm in Greece, I don't really know yet."