VIDEO: Webster Art Student uses Tattoos to Express Himself


Teeth connected to ribs, which go to muscle tissue with a snake in between and five roses below spider webs that connect to a heart. This is the full-sleeve tattoo of Webster University senior printmaking major Tom Cline.

The five roses originally represented Cline’s five loves but he said it now only represents love since he has had more than five loves. The spider webs show connections to other people and the heart is because Cline’s emotions.

“The heart is because I wear my heart on my sleeve. My emotions are very forefront,” Cline said.

Cline said each piece of the tattoo has a reason. The teeth are because Cline has always been interested in teeth. The ribs and muscle tissue represent the human body, while the snake represents sin.

Cline designed his own tattoo when he was 18 years old. He said he got the full sleeve tattoo because he likes long sleeves, so he decided to get a permanent one.

Cline said he has always been interested in tattoos. He said expressing himself wasn’t his main reason for getting a tattoo but he feels the relationship with art plays a role in why many art majors get tattoos.

“I think we’re just more free,” Cline said. “You know, a little more expressive and nonchalant about permanence. I mean, I don’t throw away works of art that I’ve done five years ago.”

Senior graphic design major Ian Dickens said he doesn’t have any tattoos because he doesn’t currently have one type of design that he can commit to having for a long time. But he does like tattoos as long as there is a good reason behind them.

“It’s kind of a love-hate relationship,” Dickens said.

“If they’re really great and really clever, I love them and if not, then they’re just hard to look at and you kind of wonder why someone did this or that sucks for them, I guess,” Dickens said.

Dickens said while he doesn’t have any tattoos, he thinks artists having tattoos makes sense because they are always showing off their work.

“I think because we are drawing all the time and we do love to showcase our work, it seems almost only natural to display it on yourself and have it be a part of you,” Dickens said.

Cline’s tattoo isn’t complete. He said he plans on adding some color and detail to it once he has enough money set aside.

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