Monday, 30 November 2015, 9:52 pm

Tattoos: an expensive, permanent addiction

One of Jake Terry's tattoos. PHOTO BY NICK FEARNSBy NICK FEARNS
Staff Writer
Imagine sitting in a chair for hours while a needle pierces your skin over 10 times a second – and you’re paying for it.
For many people the idea of getting a tattoo can be terrifying, but some people take the plunge again and again and go back.
“It can be very addictive,” says Adam Dee, 27, of Guelph. “You are making a permanent visual or pictorial representation of something possibly meaningful to you, on you.”
“Having someone touch you in such a regard and leave that kind of, at least, physical impression, to some, can go beyond the impact of making love with someone.”
Dee has eight tattoos with two large pieces, one covering his side as well as a sleeve.
Dee got his first tattoo just prior to his 16th birthday and has spent over $10,000 getting inked.
He says half the time and money has been spent on his side and sleeve tattoos “since commencing this addiction.”
Dee was not really passionate about tattoos until he spent some time at university.
There he developed a love for tattooing and the art of tattoos thanks “to the influence of just-by-chance meetings with great tattooists.”
Jake Terry agrees that tattoos can be addictive.
“It can be therapeutic,” says Terry, 26, of Hamilton. “It is not severe like getting punched, but more like a release of pressure, like popping a zit.”
Terry has nine tattoos that he has gotten over a period of eight years. Most are black and white and in a style he described as gray scale.  In total, Terry says, he has spent around 22 hours in the chair getting tattooed and invested at least $2,000.
Ever since he was little he knew that he wanted tattoos.
“My dad had lots of tattoos and I wanted to look like dad,” he says. “I wanted one as long as I can remember.”
Terry recently finished a skull tattoo on his hand, but is already planning for his next, a design combining several motifs important and personal to his life such as lightning bolts to represent his job as an electrician, and a football helmet with his high school jersey number.
“The tat is designed to capture my passion and my roots,” he says.
McKenzie McFarlane, 21, of Waterloo, Ont., has 10 tattoos, getting her first when she was 14 years old. She says for her the appeal “was the idea of having something that represented myself, that would be on myself forever.”
McFarlane says she doesn’t see herself stopping any time soon.
“I’ll probably just grow out of it and one day just stop getting them.”
Terry, on the other hand, doesn’t plan on a tattoo moratorium, but admits he is “running out of room.”

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