A 19-year-old man deemed “Public Enemy No. 1” by police earlier this week is now behind bars for allegedly stabbing an elderly homeless man to death in Southeast Baltimore.
The ever-edgy news network Viceland will air a show tonight about the economic livelihoods of four individuals in Baltimore: a dirt biker, an underground tattoo artist, a photographer and the owner of a hookah business.
I can’t say I regret any of my tattoos, exactly, but I’m not sure if I’d have ended up with all five of them if I’d had to wait 24 hours between deciding to get one and actually getting inked. Apparently the DC Department of Health thinks that’s a good thing; they want to make District residents wait a full day before getting tattooed or pierced. As Gawker points out, that’s a stricter regulation than some gun laws!
I tried not to gawk, really. But the first time I encountered this quintessential suburban mom sighting—with a decidedly ‘modern-day’ twist—it seemed too surreal not to stare.
Here’s the scenario. A mom climbs out from behind the steering wheel of her minivan in the parking lot of a community swimming pool, slides open the mammoth side door of the car and reaches in to unfasten her children from their car seats. Pretty typical stuff, right?
It wasn’t until she hoisted her youngest child up on her hip and started making her way to the pool entrance that I noticed it, clear as day: An elaborate, colorful collage of tattoos from the top of her shoulder to her bent elbow. That, my first exposure to a young tattooed middle-class mom, was a couple of months ago. Now, inked-up moms seem to be popping up everywhere I turn.
I guess it should come as no surprise that all those hip Millennials who’ve been flocking to tattoo parlors over the last several years would eventually settle down and start raising kids. An estimated 40 percent of Millennials, ages 18 and 31, sports body art, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. Even though tattoos have become mainstream fashion statements among that generation, tattooed suburban moms still strike me as surprising. I suppose it has something to do with the image of tattoo-wearing folks that I formulated as a kid growing up in the seventies and eighties.
Chicago-based tattoo artist Kevin Leary just came up with a page of tattoo flash based on the Wire and, by extension, Baltimore. (Where does that dolphin come from, though?) It inspired us to go looking for Baltimore-themed tattoos on the internet. Sure, we’ve all seen the Boh man on some dude’s bicep, and the Maryland flag does make really nice ink art. But it turns out that Baltimore-themed tattoos can get way, way more elaborate than that:
Courtesy Citybizlist – Brightside, a fashion boutique and tattoo art studio in Baltimore, is among “The 50 Coolest New Businesses in America,” according to a listing by Business Insider.
Looking for people with a look, we headed to one of my favorite hair salons in Baltimore, balance the salon. Balance is located on Cold Spring Lane in Roland Park and I think it is a prerequisite that you must have a tattoo to work there.
What do you do for a living?
I’m the front desk coordinator at balance salon (on Coldspring Lane in Roland Park). The receptionist!
How would you describe the way you dress?
Eclectic. I love vintage. I love Urban Outfitters. I love color.
So lets talk about that tattoo!
You mean my sleeve?
Sleeve. Of course. The colors are amazing!
It took six months to complete. I got it in Frederick, Maryland.
What do you see in your future?
I’ve worked in salons since I was 16 and I cut hair for two and a half years, but I have a business degree so who knows!