The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. One of the great things about a tattoo is it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that in order to be a working professional, it is categorically *impossible* to have a tattoo… because how can someone with a tattoo be a professional? We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please get in contact with us.

By Jarryd Frey

It has always interested me as to why/what inspires people decide to get inked. Is it because of the emotional or physical meaning behind them, the beauty of them or a way to express themselves through art? This is what goes through someone’s mind who does not have any tattoos or the urge to get any himself – i.e. someone like me.

Art is perceived as something beautiful and unique, much like women have been viewed for hundreds of years. However, times have changed, and beauty has a brand new look as the saying goes “beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder”. I am lucky enough to have been born into the era where people can speak and think freely, which ultimately allows them to express themselves in ways never thought of before.

This couldn’t have been truer for women in society. Women have always been limited in what they can do and how they should look; they have been controlled into being what society wants them to be. Fortunately things have changed dramatically and women have been able to express themselves in their own personal ways and are redefining the true meaning of beauty.

I personally have never had anything against tattoos, in fact quite the opposite really. Just because I don’t have any desire to get one doesn’t mean I’m against the notion of others getting them. People should find ways to better express themselves and what better way to express yourself by getting tattoos to tell your story? This is what is so beautiful about art and why art is so beautiful.

I really wanted to find out what interests people, more specifically women who get inked, and if their backgrounds or societal perceptions influenced their decisions in any way, shape or form. I was fortunate enough to be put in toucht with a woman named of Kirsten Claire Zacharowitz, who sees true beauty in the art form of tattoos and whose body tells a story about her life journey. I asked her a few questions to better understand what her art works mean to her. Let’s get started:

Me: How many tattoos do you have?

Kirsten: I have about 25 tattoos (one full sleeve)

Me: Will you get more tattoos? 

Kirsten: I will absolutely get more tattoos.

Me: Why did you get your first tattoo?

Kirsten: My first tattoo was for my gramps who passed away. I got it around my 16th birthday and it says “amazing grace how sweet the sound“. It was his favourite song and I loved him so much. Family is very important to me and it’s still one of my favourite pieces

Me: Do you use the same tattoo artist, or do you enjoy the different techniques of various artists?

Kirsten: I have used artists from all over the world. I love using different people with different vibes and styles. You get to meet and get to know so many artist types. It’s fascinating.

Me: What do you want to say to women who want to get tattoos but are worried about what society has to say about them?

Kirsten: I think the world is way too focused on skin. Its colour, what we do with it. Its complication, its differences. I think that if something makes you happy you should do it. You need to embrace the life you have and the body you were given!

Me: How did your religious beliefs (if any) play a part in deciding to get tattoos?

Kirsten: I am Jewish, and although tattoos are technically against my religion, I don’t believe that our souls and faith have much to do with our forms. I think God made me colourful for a reason and I feel loved enough to express myself. It’s cool.

Me: Which tattoo is your favourite and what is the meaning behind it?

Kirsten: My absolute favourite tattoo at the moment is “fin” on my hand. I just got engaged and we are really into finding Nemo. Anyway, we got matching fin tattoos cause he always says “hold my fin” when we are walking. I LOVE it!

Thank you so much for telling your story, Kirsten. I’m sure women all over will be inspired by your words and passion for tattoos!