Art is everywhere. It’s in museums, at fairs on buildings, sidewalks, and on people’s bodies. It’s an expression of someone’s inner thoughts and imagination. You’ve probably started to notice an increase in body art. According to recent data, 24% of Americans have tattoos and 14% have body piercings.
Today, many people feel free to get body art without the same kind of judgment they might have received a couple of years ago because it’s become more socially acceptable.
“We’re in the business where everybody leaves happy and smiling, you know? It’s not like the DMV” said Craig Hayes, 62, the owner of the Pink Armadillo, a tattoo and piercing shop located in downtown Brockport. Hayes has owned the shop for 23 years.
Pink Armadillo, Brockport NY., Monday, Sep. 11, 2023. Photo Credit: Hanna Butcher
The shop employs four tattoo artists all with different styles, and all including Hayes can pierce. Hayes says his favorite piercing is the conch. Usually people get it with the intention of getting a hoop earring, but he loves the look of a diamond stud instead.
Conch Piercing Photo Credit: Maria Tash
Mary Pichello, 89, is the oldest customer that Hayes has given a nose stud piercing to. He says that his customers of all ages leave with the biggest smile on their faces.
Tatum Arnold, 21, is a SUNY Brockport senior who has gotten four piercings from Pink Armadillo and 20 piercings overall. She got one of those four piercings with her mother, the double helix.
“The price of a double piercing is less expensive than getting a single,” Tatum says.
Hayes has mentioned that regulars from different areas, New York or Long Island, come in often to get pierced at Pink Armadillo because of how decent their prices are compared to where they’re from. He’s also noticed how often Suny Brockport students come in as well.
“September is all students; the locals stay away for a bit and the students come in instead.” He welcomes and encourages anyone to come in.
Hayes and Arnold both agree that the stigma of the older generation being against body modification is slowly going out the window.
“It’s all societal based. I mean if you look back 20 years ago women had to look clean and pristine and innocent and I feel like piercings and tattoos don’t give off that look.” Arnold says.
“Even now I get criticism for it, especially the septum piercing I have. I just think that we’re in a society where gen z and millennials are finally pushing those standards.”
“Now it’s in the workplace and these older generations have to accept it because their grandkids and children are doing these things, and I don’t think that anyone should say that tattoos or piercings make you a bad person or make you a good person. It’s just how society deciphers it and the stereotypes around it.” Arnold encourages people who are debating getting a piercing to just do it.“
“If you want to express yourself through piercings and tattoos do that, don’t be afraid of the pain or what people think – I mean I would definitely put some thought into tattoos as it’s on you for the rest of your life versus a piercing that you can take out at any time, but if you want to do it then go for it!” Says Arnold.
Art is everywhere. It’s in museums, at fairs, on sidewalks and now, more than ever, it’s on someone’s body.