As a form of expression, tattoos have been celebrated for centuries across the globe. Whether for religious, traditional or personal reasons, people have chosen to decorate their bodies with ink.
Emanuel Hartman shows off his self-taught tattooing skills on his thighs with pride, each carrying an important meaning.
The senior math student’s left thigh features three separate stick-figure representations of Greek myths. He did the set over the course of six months.
“I grew up on Greek myths,” Hartman said.
In descending order on his left thigh are the myths of Prometheus, Atlas and Sisyphus. Each myth connects to a piece of Hartman’s favorite literature. He recalled his favorite novel, The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, which connects to his Sisyphus tattoo. The next piece relates to the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which ties into the myth of Atlas. The literary representation of Prometheus is Frankenstein, the book originally titled The Modern Prometheus.
“The literature references sort of came later,” Hartman said.
The right leg sports album iconography, representing three Kanye West albums: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 808s and Heartbreak and Yeezus.
Hartman said he plans on doing more as part of his musician-themed thigh piece. He also said he plans to dedicate a whole row to Kanye West’s music.
“My Kanye Column,” Hartman said.
He has plans to get Kanye’s other albums The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation and is working now on something to represent the Life of Pablo album.
Kendrick Lamar, another of his favorite artists, will be featured as part of Hartman’s thigh piece.
Hartman originally used the stick and poke tattooing technique for all his tattoos, but now uses a tattoo gun for the album art pieces.
He claimed he gave tattoos to several other people in the past who have asked him for stick and pokes.
When asked why he does all his tattoos himself, Hartman was enthusiastic and laughed when he answered.
“Well, I’m a masochist so I like to hurt myself,” Hartman said. “That’s a joke.”
His true response revealed his feelings on the specific tattooing practice he uses.
“It’s something to do and it’s a way to mark yourself with things important to you,” Hartman said.