Originally published at The Daily Texan.
Between her personal love of both music and tattoos, radio-television-film junior Yessenia Herrera has a great appreciation for artistic expression.
Herrera said she dreams of a large network of tattoos adorning her body, but for now she settles for the single, minimalist design of an origami frog, inspired by the cover of the album Copacetic.
“I wanted to start small, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted,” Herrera said. “Then I got it off an album cover of a band I like, Knuckle Puck. Their lyrics are very personal to me.”
Though the idea of tattoos can have a somewhat negative connotation, Herrera loves the personal ability to express herself and show that to the public.
“They’re very much about claiming your body,” Herrera said. “I feel like they’re about personalizing yourself, and I like the art and modification.”
The album Letting Off the Happiness by Bright Eyes had a significant impact on speech pathology sophomore Evan Stack when he first heard it in middle school.
“When I first listened to it, it really changed my perspective on music in a drastic way,” Stack said. “I think about it daily. I still listen to the record, and I still love it the way I loved it.”
This January, Stack decided to take an unplanned trip to a tattoo shop and get a portion of the cover on his shoulder. But to him, these three fireworks mean more than just a beloved album.
“There’s a lot of lo-fi production techniques that are technically unimpressive but add a human quality to the record,” Stack said. “It symbolizes a DIY musical ideology, and it really struck me poignantly.”
The tattoo of a black-eyed susan — Maryland’s state flower — that marks the leg of journalism senior Emily Gibson is only the first in a planned series of tattoos.
“I got it the summer after I moved here from Maryland,” Gibson said. “It’s where I grew up, and I have this plan that I’m gonna get a tattoo for everywhere I live that shapes me as a person.”
The experience of living in Texas and Maryland have been stark contrasts to one another, with both cultures valuing different sports, different foods and different attitudes. Moving to Texas uprooted her life, and the tattoo helps to commemorate the previous chapter.
“The places where you live inform who you are,” Gibson said. “You learn about who you are everywhere you go.”