Tattoos: Estimated 1 in 5 is inked. Are you?

Posted at 5:06 AM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 06:06:56-04

TULSA - Got ink?

A foot meets a pedal. A needle secures its ink. An artist begins to transform his canvas.

Despite repeating this routine an estimated 80,000 times for 21 years, Doyle Wright of Brookside Tattoo said he still gets nervous fulfilling a client's request.

"It's a great responsibility. You've got to be nervous, you've got to be right," Wright said.

Of course, the bearer of tattoos has a few nerves to deal with as well.

"He's got a pretty light hand. That makes a big difference on any tattoo, in any spot," said Chris Pettek of Wright who is working on Pettek's shoulder.

Tattooing is a practice that dates back thousands of years.

"Otzi, the ice man that was found a number of years ago by the Italian border, was probably the earliest human remains that had tattoos on the body and they were small tattoos," said Bob Pickering, Adjunct Curator of Anthropology at Gilcrease Museum.

Pickering says tattoos were also found in ancient Egypt, preserved through the practice of mummification.

While the practice of tattooing spans cultures and millennia, its legal history in the Sooner state is relatively short-lived. Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattooing, in 2006.

Its popularity is immensely popular, with an estimated one in five Americans being "inked."

"I tattoo every walk of life. From doctors to police officers to teachers to TV anchormen," said Wright.

For some, tattoos are fun. For others, they have a personal meaning. In any case, they convey something about the person wearing them.

"You might think of tattoos as a means of non-verbal communication. I don't have to say something to you. You see my tattoo, and you know something about me," said Pickering.


Email us at a picture and a what your tattoo means to you.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Download our free app for Apple and Android and Kindle devices.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook