College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Graphic Communication Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Graphic Communication



Primary Advisor

Hocheol Yang, College of Liberal Arts, Graphic Communication Department


It is well-known that a stigma exists toward tattooed individuals. In the corporate world, many employers have asked their employees to cover any skin ink to preserve the image the company may have. Even in the U.S. Army, recruits are restricted in the placement of their tattoos, not being able to have designs on their face or certain sizes on their neck and hands (Lacdan, 2022). Studies show that “people view tattooed individuals as possessing a number of negative character attributes'' (Broussard & Harton, 2018). The question we must ask ourselves is why these stigmas exist. Not only are the number of people getting tattooed rising, but the practice of hand-poked tattoos is something that has been persistent for thousands of years. The first tattoos found with carbon-dated testing identified a body that was 5,200 years old (Lineberry, 2007). Hand poked designs have held cultural and religious significance for many across the globe for generations. In more recent years, tattooing has become a large outlet of self-expression for many. Tattooing is an art form and one that has been discouraged by society for decades. This project aims to explore some of the cultural significance of hand-poked tattoos, insight from contemporary artists, and the expression that surrounds the art form. All of this is to try and create a better understanding and fight the stigma that surrounds permanent body art.