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Tattoo Marks: Popular Ink and Body Art

Standing outside Tattoo Marks on Beaver Avenue is Jake the Kidd, taking a quick cigarette break, with colorful tattoos and evidence of multiple past piercings peeking through his plaid shirt.

Jake, a body piercer and tattooing apprentice at Tattoo Marks, has worked in the shop for four years and has had his fair share of experiences with students. With students in town, Jake’s job can be quite interesting. Whether passing out or puking from the pain, it’s never a big deal at Tattoo Marks. The staff is stocked with candy and the clients “just hop right back up.”

When walking downtown, it’s hard to miss Tattoo Marks Studio II, which was opened in 1999. Not only does it display some pretty awesome tattoo artwork, but it also houses various strange curiosities, like random trophies and antique-looking guns in the front window. I haven’t been to many tattoo shops, but the bustling Tattoo Marks is like traveling back in time. Covering the walls are intricate sketches of tattoo styles, mostly of the American traditional style that is characterized by bold outlines and pin-up or nautical themes.

“Nobody should ever think that our tattoo artists are confined to doing this style, though,” Jake said, explaining the wealth of tattoos available. For more than 15 years, Tattoo Marks has done custom tattoos, which means that Jake has seen his fair share of inked Nittany Lions.

With so many Penn State fans stopping by the shop for tattoos, Jake explained that it can be really hard to put a number on the amount of Penn State-themed tattoos he’s done. “Mostly it’s alumni who get it done, but we see a really good portion of Penn State tattoos come through here,” Jake said.

Tattoo Marks also provides body piercings for the State College area. The majority of the piercings done at the shop are things that “you see everyday.” Nostril, navel, and ear piercings are obviously common — but the shop offers almost anything else you would want to get pierced (if you’re brave enough).

Occasionally, the shop does get a few drunken students stumbling through its glass doors. Jake remained mum as to the types of hooligans that drunken customers have brought into the shop. However, it’s against health codes to tattoo intoxicated customers, and it’s probably not fun for the staff, either. “We usually just shoo drunken students out the door,” Jake the Kidd said.

So, if you think a drunken Friday night is a good time to get a tattoo, save your parents some money and come back when you can coherently choose what to get permanently inked on your body.

About the Author

Bridget Markham

Bridget is a junior majoring in journalism with minors in Spanish and art history. She still hasn’t figured out what she wants to do with her life yet, hence the art history. Like the typical north Jersey native that she is, Bridget enjoys Bruce Springsteen, the Yankees, and the Jersey shore… and she refuses to acknowledge that she has an accent from her home state. She can usually be found at either Saint’s or Webster’s, and if not there, the hiking trails. You can contact her at [email protected]


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