Tattoos often have negative connotations associated with them, and can be seen as unprofessional, however, a recent increase in popularity has changed the conversation surrounding tattoos. They have been increasing in popularity for the past several years. 

New shops and parlours are popping up all around Calgary as the mentality around the art form changes.

Altar is one of these new shops. It opened two years ago and was able to expand 15 months later to include new artists. Heather McLean has been a featured artist since the shop opened, and is excited the art form is being more widely accepted. She has been tattooing for 20 years and has noticed the recent increase in popularity.

“People just seeing that everybody has them. It’s like any other novelty or fashion thing, it’s just kind of viral, and just the fact that society is more open-minded now, it’s not a taboo thing anymore,” she says. 

Tattooing is the process of depositing pigment into the second layer of skin with a needle, which gives the result of a life-long lasting image.  

Kris Dupuis has been a client of McLean’s for over ten years now to work on his tattoo bodysuit. His latest appointment entailed a touch-up on the first tattoo he ever received 13 years ago. 

“It’s been a decade long journey,” says Dupuis. . “I knew I was going to get a bodysuit along the way, I guess just throughout the years when we were working on the next portion, we just kind of went with whatever mood that particular time was, and idea at that moment. 10 years later it kind of all blends together.”

Dupuis explains that getting tattoos is not so much an important form of self-expression, but it’s about getting to carry around artwork that he enjoys 

“It’s more a for me kind of thing than a ‘hey look at me’ kind of thing.

Whether you love them or hate them the enjoyment people get out of tattoos seems to be ever-growing, and there’s no evidence of that slowing down any time soon.

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Editor: Monique LaBossiere |  

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