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Posted on Sun. Feb. 02, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

If it’s to last, put it in ink

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Who has tattoos?

Results from a 2012 Harris Poll:

All U.S. adults – 21 percent

Age: 18-24, 22 percent; 25-29, 30 percent; 30-39, 38 percent; 40-49, 27 percent; 50-64, 11 percent; 65-over, 5 percent

Sex: Male, 19 percent; Female, 23 percent

Race/ethnicity: White, 20 percent; Black, 21 percent; Hispanic, 30 percent

FORT WAYNE — By now, you’ve noticed that tattoos are everywhere, both in the geographical context as well as on one’s physical being.

From the menacing face of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson to a delicate flower on an ankle adorned with high heels, tattoos vary as much as the person who wears them.

According to a Harris Poll taken two years ago, one in five adults in the United States has at least one tattoo.

People between the ages of 30 and 39 are the most likely to have a tattoo, at 38 percent. And women have surpassed men in getting tattoos – 23 percent to 19 percent.

The Journal Gazette talked to four people about their most meaningful tattoo.

Diane Williams-McCoy

Long before her two daughters were born, Williams-McCoy, 32, already had numerous tattoos. Her first was when she was 17. And with a close friend as a tattoo artist living in her native Florida, she would return to Indiana after every Florida trip with an inked souvenir.

Because her grandmother’s last name is Dragone, Williams-McCoy had the name tattooed on her foot. Later, she had a dragon tattooed on her right arm.

It was shortly after her daughters were born when Williams-McCoy chose to add to her own artwork.

“I’ve got my two little monkeys,” she says. “Those are my little Giada (6) and London (5). Actually, it started as a cover-up, but I knew I wanted to portray little monkeys. I got Giada’s after she was born, and I got London’s after she was born.”

They are monkeys holding teddy bears, and every now and then, the girls want to see their tattoos.

“They love ’em,” Williams-McCoy says. “They’re like, ‘Can I see my monkey?’ ”

Trey McKinney Jones

Often it’s the mother who balks at the idea of her son or daughter announcing the desire of getting a tattoo.

For McKinney Jones, a 6-foot-5 guard who averages nearly 18 points with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, his first tattoo was his mother’s idea.

“I came home from spring break, and she was like, ‘You want to get a matching tattoo?’ And I’m like, ‘Really?’ We figured out we were going to do something religious – something that would stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

They agreed on the Mark 9:23 Bible verse, “Anything is possible for he who believes.”

And now both of them share the same verse.

“I think it’s rare, especially for my mom,” McKinney Jones said of her suggestion. “I didn’t expect that at all.”

Justin Werst

Even now, at age 32, Werst remembers those days with his grandfather, the late Donald Kee. They would sit and watch “The Andy Griffith Show,” and both would laugh.

To honor those days, Werst has a portrait of his grandfather on the inside of his left forearm. But there is room for more.

Next to his grandfather, Werst is getting portraits of other “Andy Griffith Show” cast members.

“He raised me,” Werst says of his grandfather. “We were very close. My dad was never part of my life, so my grandfather was always around. He lived with my mother and I. I was very close to my grandfather.

“This is just a remembrance. It’s a picture forever. I don’t know if he was ever a fan of tattoos, but I’m sure he would appreciate it.”

Ryan Hadley

While it has been Hadley, an artist for nearly 12 years, who has done all of Justin Werst’s many tattoos, he has a special tattoo of his own.

He lifts his pant leg to unveil on his calf a portrait of Mickey Mantle.

“I’m a huge baseball guru,” Hadley says. “I love baseball.”

He had played since he was 6 years old and learned to love the New York Yankees the way his father did. He rattles off the names of Yogi Berra and Roger Maris and Lou Gehrig – Yankees who played long before Hadley was born.

“Mantle is the only one I really put thought into,” he says of his several tattoos. “He was my dad’s favorite player, too.

“It was something my dad and I shared together. It was baseball; the baseball Hall of Fame. He’d tell me a lot about the baseball cards he had back in the day. I wish I had those cards. Outside of all that, it’s pretty much a tribute to my dad and I.”



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