Tattoos lead to careers

Rae Updike, Reporter

Tattoos and piercings were never a big part of the Crawford family. That is until their father decided to start up his own tattoo and piercing business about four years ago.

It all started when sophomore Taylor and senior Spencer Crawford’s father, Tom Crawford, took their older sister, SHS graduate Susie Crawford to Claire’s, located in the mall, to get her ears pierced.

“He thought that they did a really crappy job,” Spencer said. “And he was like, ‘I bet I could do that,’ so he opened his own piercing shop.”

The SHS siblings’ father opened up two tattoo parlors about three years ago. Their shops, named Body Language Tattoos and Piercings, are located at 6801 Madison Ave. and 1606 1/2 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47303.

Ever since their father’s shops were opened, Spencer and Taylor have gotten more exposure to the atmosphere that the parlors create. According to Taylor, the way the parlor is set up is welcoming and family oriented.

About a year ago, Spencer started taking initiative to get involved in the family business.

“It started with a school project,” Spencer said. “I went out and bought some colored pencils, drew a little picture and thought, ‘hey this didn’t turn out that bad,’ so I kept going with it.”

After this school project, Spencer decided to start practicing his drawing more consistently, teaching himself everything he now knows along the way. He even got an iPad to practice designing online.

Taylor started to notice Spencer drawing more and more both in and out of school on a consistent basis when he first started. Taylor herself hasn’t gotten into the art aspect of the parlor but has gotten piercings and a tattoo.

“When my dad started piercing… he needed pincushions basically,” Taylor said.  “He needed practice and I wasn’t against [piercings]. So I let him do my first cartilage piercing in the sixth grade, and it just escalated from there.”

Spencer has four piercings and one tattoo. The piercings started with his ears, but after hanging around the shop more, he decided he wanted to do something different to add to his personal style. This lead him to get his eyebrow and tongue pierced as well.

When it came to choosing their artist, bothe Taylor and Spencer had a preference on who they wanted. Taylor knew one of the artist better than the rest. Spencer chose his mentor, who he spent the summer with learning about tattooing, to place his own tattoo.

Both the Crawfords at SHS have meaning behind their tattoos. For Taylor, she always wanted something for her grandfather when he passed away in 2009. The other added pieces to her tattoo are meaningful as well, the “C” is for her last name, a snowflake for the month December because it is an important month in her life, a root beer barrel for her grandfather, and a cross for her religion.

Spencer’s tattoo is symbolic of what he wants to do in life. His tattoo is a skull with roses. This symbolizes life and death, and the decisions we make that that make us who we are. The top of the skull is cracked with pencils, tattoo grips, paint and paint brushes. Spencer chose this because it depicts what he wants to do with his life.

Spending time in the parlor, Spencer gained a lot of respect for tattoo artists because of what they are able to do. To Spencer, it’s “absolutely amazing” the amount of trust that customers put into the artists, to put a piece of artwork onto their body for the rest of their life.

Spencer is hoping to eventually work at his father’s shop in Muncie, and hopes to possibly take it over at some point. In preparation to work in the parlor, Spencer plans to go to Ball State University to major in art and minor in business.