Jasen Nordberg and Brandy Mahoskey are Weber State University students who have branded themselves with a tattoo. The tattoos express unique stories that carries significant meaning to them.
Nordberg, who is studying computer science and criminal justice at WSU, had his tattoo placed January 2005. His father passed away the year before from metastatic melanoma. The tattoo was designed over his heart with the intent to remember and honor his father. The battle with cancer lasted three months and his death was quite unexpected. It was skin cancer that came back from his father’s younger years.
“My dad was an avid golfer; he golfed like four days a week,” said Nordberg. “He golfed non-stop. As I was thinking of a tattoo that would honor him, I picked a golfer. It is the same golfer that is used for the PGA Tour symbol. It’s a guy in his back swing.”
Written in text around the golfer are the words, “Play on Padre.”
“Play on is obviously to live on,” said Nordberg. “To just keep going and keep playing on. He lives on, and will be with us always.”
The nickname of “Padre” started when Nordberg’s sister was learning Spanish in junior high. The nickname stuck and his family never called him anything else.
The dimensions of the tattoo are about six inches tall and four inches across. The golfer is a silhouette in black and white. It is hollow without color.
Nordberg keeps a folder that is full of tattoo drawings and ideas. He had the golfer drawn up and ready to go before entering the tattoo parlor. The night he decided to have it done was a spur of the moment decision.
“It was the last place open,” said Nordberg. “I got in right before they closed and I can honestly say it was midnight or one o’clock in the morning. It was really late, but the place was open, and the guy offered to do it. I showed him the outline and idea. He pieced it together, and it took him about 20 minutes to complete.”
Nordberg has a total of three tattoos and would like to get more. He wants to incorporate his children in the next design.
“I want to incorporate my kid’s birth dates and names somehow,” said Nordberg. “I haven’t really come up with a way yet. I thought about footprints, but I’ve seen that everywhere. I want to have a tattoo that means something, and not that everybody else has.”
Tattoo art is viewed differently by every individual. Nordberg believes that they are a good accessory and a good way to express oneself.
“I love looking at other peoples tattoos,” said Nordberg. “They tell a story. Most People have a reason, but then there are also those guys that just want to cover themselves up. There is always some kind of story behind how or where they got it, but it may not have any significant meaning behind it.”
Nordberg believes that tattoos are quite addictive. “You hear all the time how tattoos are addicting and they really are,” said Nordberg. “You get your first one and you’re kind of nervous about it. After your first one you’re already thinking about what you’re going to get next. You think, ‘how am I going to make this bigger and better?’ All of a sudden you are original and you’ve been tagged. But as soon as you get one, you want another one. It’s such an individual thing.”
Brandy Mahoskey, who is studying public relations and advertising with a minor in fashion merchandising, can also relate to the addicting nature of tattoos.
Mahoskey considered the design for her tattoo for some time, even hanging the picture of the tattoo on her bedroom wall for 18 months. She didn’t get sick of the image, and knew that she could commit to the image.
“I told myself that was it,” said Mahoskey. “I am picky and not impulsive. I felt that by now I have decided who I am and what I think about the world at large.”
Her tattoo is located on her stomach region and it says “Persona” with the script above a three dimensional diamond. “Your persona is like your façade,” said Mahoskey.
“I believe that the true beauty of who a person is always hidden behind the persona. That’s why the persona is on top of the three dimensional diamond. The diamond is who you are, the gem, and the real person underneath,” said Mahoskey.
She says she loves the diversity of people and is opened minded to all unique individuals. She believes that we hide too much of ourselves.
“I think tattoos make people look tough, but in all honesty, it’s those people that are actually the most soft-hearted, teddy bear like, most real people you will ever meet,” said Mahoskey.
This is Mahoskey’s first tattoo, but would eventually like to add more detail to the tattoo.
“I love tattoos, I think they are an extension of who you are and what your story is,” said Mahoskey.
Other students at WSU respect tattoos, but would never get one due to the permanent nature of them. Candace Mau, who is studying secondary education, believes they are too permanent.
“Tattoos can be beautiful, but sometimes I think people lack long term perspective,” said Mau. “Every older person I know with tattoos doesn’t look great. For myself, I don’t know if I could decide on something I’m confident I would like long term. What can I say, I have commitment issues.”