March 2021

T E X A R K A N A M O N T H LY

BY MARY MIDDLEBROOKS

that have been around for thousands of years. The number of people in your immediate circle who have at least one might surprise you, and more often than not, there is a story to go along with it. Tattoos are a form of body modification whereby ink is injected into the dermis layer of the skin which changes the color of the pigment and creates beautiful body art that remains forever. First introduced to the Western world in the 18th century, this form of body expression has grown in popularity ever since. Tattoos are still taboo to some parts of modern society because of their TATTOOS ARE A FORM OF SELF-EXPRESSION

β€œIt was never something I considered a possibility for a job or career. I have always loved art and wanted to do something in my life which required an art education, whatever that was. Although that never happened for me, I continued to work on my skill on my own and eventually life led me to meeting the right people at the right time, introducing me to the tattoo industry and launching me in a completely different direction (than) I ever envisioned for myself. I fell in love with it immediately.” Most of us have a limited understanding of the behind-the- scenes world of tattooing. We see the art and the work, but

association with gangs and other questionable groups. However, it appears they are now growing in favor as they grow in popularity with the general public. Joaquin Hernandez is a thirty-one-year-old local tattoo artist whose notoriety has spread far and wide since starting his business almost a decade ago. Born and raised in Queretaro, Mexico, a small town two hours outside of Mexico City, Hernandez moved to Texarkana with his family in 2000. The oldest of

what drives a tattoo business? According to Hernandez, the demand for tattoos is higher now than ever before. β€œI think social media, movies, sports, music and every other aspect of our culture has made the industry explode as we see our favorite artists, athletes, personalities and inf luencers get t ing tattooed. It is right there on our phones and tv in high quality and finding artists to make that happen for us is just as easy.” Hernandez is right. We

three children, Hernandez and his wife Sabrina have two wonderful children, Sofia and Oliver. Hernandez is not just a tattoo artist, he is a tattoo collector. He is building a body suit of tattoos from various artists across the country and plans to continue until it is complete. Hernandez is a driven person who has always been interested in art. His inspiration comes from several places and experiences, including the stories he hears from his customers. When asked about his art and how he entered the tattoo world, Hernandez says it just kind of fell into his lap.

see tattoos every day on social media, on the internet, on television, in our favorite movies and just walking down the street. There are more than 21,000 tattoo studios in the United States, and another one opens every day. Some reports say people are more likely to have a tattoo than an iPhone! The desire for self-expression and the high demand for tattoos has led to a boost to local economies. Approximately 84% of tattoo shops are locally owned and over $1.5 billion is spent on tattoos annually. According to Hernandez, demand for tattoos depends primarily on where you live in the world. In the United States,

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