Tat-Tuesday: Students share stories behind their ink

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Photo Credit: Devika Manish Kumar | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: Tat-Tuesday is a weekly series that features students around campus and their tattoos.

Lexie Mulkey

Lexie Mulkey used to be a chemistry major until she took a political theory class, which inspired her to pursue a degree in Humanities instead. Though chemistry is not her main field of study now, a part of it stays with her forever on her arm.

“One thing I liked about chemistry was the delta because it signifies change, but because the triangle’s open, it means that you’re open to your change and the thing above it means you’re moving towards your change.”

But accepting change doesn’t mean never looking back. Mulkey said she wanted to make sure to hold on to some of the past while still moving forward. For her, the trees in the triangle remind her of her childhood home.

“I remember being a kid and always just going there,” Mulkey said. “I guess that’s just the most peaceful times I’ve ever had. So it’s like keeping a piece of your past but always moving towards your change.”

Kevin Vu

After working on a personal project studying tattoo culture in Japan, Kevin Vu, a computer science senior, became interested in getting one himself. Following many hours of research, he decided to get a sleeve that honors his family, religion and virtues.

“ … (the lotuses) just (represent) my family because there’s four of us, and we’re Vietnamese, so the Vietnamese flower is a lotus so I thought that be nice to represent that,” Vu said.

Vu said the lion represents his astrological sign, the Leo, and the rosary around its neck showcases his Catholic faith. Aside from images commemorating him and his family, he has a section to keep him looking ahead.

“(The eye) is just a reminder for me to have an open mind and look forward to the future in a way,” Vu said.

With just a few empty spaces left on his arm, Vu said he is waiting for inspiration to fill up to a full sleeve.

Matt Poling

Everyone goes through challenges in life, and this truth inspired biology senior Matt Poling’s tattoos. According to Poling, the three-quarter sleeve of a dragon soaring from a pond to the heavens represents the journey to enlightenment and overcoming challenges on the way.

“The dragon comes out of the water and starts off as a koi fish,” Poling said. “For me, the personal meaning is it doesn’t matter what kind of crap life throws at you. If you just keep trying and trying and trying, you can achieve enlightenment or achieve what you want.”

Poling has only a few more credits to complete before applying to physical therapy school. He overcame many challenges to get to this point, and some of them are chronicled on his arm.

“(The tattoo has) a couple (of) lotuses representing a different struggles in life that I’ve been through,” Poling said.

Peyton Allen

When biology junior Peyton Allen was a freshman, he commemorated one of his favorite comics and movies, “V for Vendetta,” with his first tattoo. Although he loved the design, his parents thought otherwise.

“I originally wanted more, but my parents were not happy so I’m holding off for a while,” Allen said. “My mom cried, but after a that she was like, ‘Well there’s nothing I can do.’”

Allen said “V for Vendetta” resonated with him because of its anti-authoritarian themes.

Allen said he plans to add to his tattoo collection one day with a similar piece on his other shoulder, representing the character Rorschach, from the comic book movie “Watchmen,” overlooking New York City. But that’s after he pays for med school, of course.