Artistically Ink-lined

senior pursues tattooing next year


Claire Powell, Editor-in-Chief

At the age of 16, with a sewing needle in hand, senior Liam Dale gave a fellow peer a stick-and-poke for the first time. Three years later, he plans to be a tattoo apprentice.

“I’m going to move to Lawrence, scope out the scene there and see what kind of opportunities are there,” Dale said. “If it doesn’t work out in that year, I’ll probably try and get a degree to be a teacher — but either way, I still want to do tattoos.”

Wanting to make sure it was a safe experience for others and already having a passion for art, Dale started doing stick-and-pokes for $10.

“At first, it was really stressful,” Dale said. “Once I started to get pretty good at it, it was nice to see people walk around with what they wanted.”

Many BV students now roam the halls with Dale’s work on their skin. However, his opinion on stick-and-pokes has changed.

“It’s permanent — I had no idea what I was doing,” Dale said. “That’s why I want this apprenticeship. I don’t want to just do it in my basement with a tattoo gun because it’s a really complicated thing.”

They don’t teach you how to draw — they want to teach you how to tattoo.”

— Liam Dale, 12

Focusing on tattooing, Dale spends his free time at parlors like Classic Tattoos and Piercings. He currently is working on his portfolio to send out to other tattoo artists.

“You have to show them you have good line work, you understand the basics, you’ve done your own research, you know how to draw,” Dale said. “They don’t teach you how to draw — they want to teach you how to tattoo.”

Though it took some warming to, Dale’s parents are supportive of his choice in abstaining from the typical college route.

“College just isn’t for me — I’m not a straight-A student at all,” he said. “I’d be more nervous to commit to something that expensive right away.”

Even with his parents’ support, Dale often tells some others vaguely what his after high school plans are.

“There is some stigma to it — leaving high school and not going straight to college and [instead] doing something like tattooing,” Dale said. “I always tell people I’m going to pursue different art forms after high school — by different art forms, I mean tattooing.”

While the future tattoo artist said most are encouraging for his career-expedition, Dale said he cannot be more excited to pursue the career.

“It’s a big industry — a lot of people want tattoos — and it’s growing and will keep growing,” Dale said. “I just see myself wanting to get better at that. As an artist, that’s cool that my art can live with you forever.”