Zu Magazine is a publication of Zu Media. Below is an article from Issue 1: Skins.

Staff Writer | Chloe’ Bagley

Twenty years ago, tattoos were not as common as they are today. Recent generations have revolutionized the way the world sees them. Whether through a small, hidden piece of artwork or tattoos that cover the entire body, the skin we choose is a personal statement that millennials are making.

On September 18 of this year, the first clinical report on tattooing for adolescents and young adults was released by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The results? The popularity of tattoos has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. The report showed that 38 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

Caleb Henry, 22, is a communications major at Azusa Pacific. The self-taught tattoo artist has roughly 40 tattoos, but even he admits he can barely keep track of the number.

Henry’s parents were reluctant when he got his first tattoo. Henry said, “No one in my family had tattoos … when [my parents] were growing up the only people that had tattoos were bikers, rockers, or were in the military. For them, tattoos meant you weren’t going to get a job.”

The AAP report shows that this attitude toward tattoos is steadily declining. Henry initially wanted his first tattoo when he was 18, but at the request of his parents he waited a year. At 19 he only wanted the tattoo more and since then, the amount of artwork covering his body has steadily grown.

“My friends’ parents used to get mad at me because [my friends] would start to draw on themselves too,” said Henry as he recalled his life-long interest in the art form. As a child he would use pens to draw all over his arms.

When Henry wanted another tattoo during his sophomore year at APU, he decided he would tattoo himself to save money. After buying a pack of sewing needs, some Higgins air brush ink and a pen, Henry started his first self-given tattoo: an anchor with the word “Bones” written underneath to commemorate his time spent working on a ship. He’s been tattooing others with a method known as “stick and poke” ever since.

According to Jessica Contrera in an article for The Washington Post, “stick and poke” has become, “increasingly popular among young people.” This type of tattooing is void of a machine and involves using anything sharp to penetrate the skin so the ink can drip in.

Sarah March is a cornish artist who specializes in stick and poke tattooing. She has been running her business out of England for three years and has become recognized around the world for her dot artwork and tattoos. According to March in an interview with The Washington Post, the method of tattooing is rapidly growing in popularity.

The reason why tattoos have become such a trend for millennials, however, still remains unclear. Some people see it as an art form; others use it as a way to remember special moments or things. Each person has an individual and unique motivation for wanting to keep something with them permanently.

Of the 40 tattoos covering Henry’s skin, he says he does not regret a single one and refers to them as his family. “For me it’s a passion for life. I don’t get tattoos to express myself, I just genuinely love tattoos. I always have and always will.”