Tat-Tuesday: SXSW Festival-goers share stories behind ink

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For four days, Affinity Tattoo on Sixth Street transformed into the tattoo parlor of Suicide Squad character Harley Quinn. Fans who lined up outside the shop from March 11–14 could answer trivia questions about the Squad in order to win a free tattoo based off of the movie's characters. On Monday, the parlor's last day, The Daily Texan caught up with three winners in this week's edition of Tat-Tuesday.

Photos by Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

Marcy Davis

Marcy Davis, one of Harley Quinn's assistants at the tattoo parlor, got a tattoo of Suicide Squad character The Enchantress when they opened up shop.

Davis, a Wiccan, said she identifies strongly with the character because of her use of magic.

"I love the fact that they used [her magic] as kind of a superhero or villain power," Davis said. "I think that's pretty badass."

While Davis has a number of tattoos, the white barn owl on the back of her hand is her favorite. As part of the Native American Crow Nation, Davis got the tattoo to honor her spirit animal.

In the Crow Nation, tribe members find their spirit animals through prayer or meditation. In death, Davis said they believe they are reincarnated into their spirit animal.

On a late-night drive a few years ago, Davis discovered a barn owl in the middle of the road. Rather than flying away, the bird made eye contact with her.

The next day, when Davis heard her grandfather had died, she was convinced the owl was her grandfather letting him know he was still with her.

"Ever since then, I've seen owls whenever I'm going through something really hard in my life," Davis said. "I see them, and I feel this sense of wholeness."
 

Rachelle Boehm

During a trip to Belize, University of Rhode Island sophomore Rachelle Boehm had her cook draw a floral design that now marks her upper shoulder.

Because she couldn't find any tattoo parlors near her, Boehm said she decided to take a design back from Belize and have it tattooed when she returned home to New Hampshire.

"I didn't give her the design, she just drew it," Boehm said. "I decided whatever she drew I was going to get tattooed on me. I didn't even give her a design."

The tattoo, like all of her others, have to do with traveling. Her first tattoo was originally supposed to be a small crescent moon on her wrist, but upon arriving to the tattoo shop, she decided to accompany it with a quote from her favorite book "Tuesdays With Morrie:" "But in the end, the moon always returns, as do we all."

Later, she had a compass tattooed on her arm that points toward the moon.

"When I'm traveling [the moon] is everywhere, so no matter where I go, it's something to follow," Boehmer said.
 

Sarah Kelley

One of the only blondes in her school growing up, Sarah Kelley of San Antonio was always told to check out comic book character Harley Quinn.

While she already has a tattoo of Quinn's costume on her thigh, she chose to get another tattoo of the character on Monday. Kelley said she's drawn to Quinn's strength and inner conflicts.

"I love that she's a badass, and she fights the good even though she's kind of good herself," Kelley said. "It's an oxymoron that I love."

Kelley said of all her tattoos, her favorite is the one at the nape of her neck that reads "perfectly flawed."

"Growing up as a girl you're always told to be perfect," Kelley said. "I always wanted to just show myself every time I looked in the mirror it's okay to have mistakes because that's what makes you who you are."