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Former Wilkes senior goes from student to tattoo artist

Published: Friday, April 9, 2010

Updated: Monday, April 19, 2010 00:04

During their senior year, most students are preparing for graduation, searching for a graduate school or searching for a job to make good use of their degree.


In fall 2009 Jenna Stephens was a senior at Wilkes majoring in international politics and political science. With six credits to go until she completed her degree, Stephens left Wilkes to pursue an apprenticeship as a tattoo artist at Marc's Tattooing and Body Piercing in downtown Scranton.


"The opportunity to become a tattoo artist arose and I tried to continue with school but I didn't have enough time for both, and I decided that being an artist was more important to me then anything I could get out of schooling," said Stephens.


Stephens explained that after completing a study abroad program in India, she learned of an apprenticeship opening at Marc's Tattooing. Stephens prepared a portfolio and asked the artist, Chris Jones, if she could be his apprentice.


She had the support from her family to a certain extent. "My parents want me to be happy. They just wish a more professional career did that for me," said Stephens.


Tara Zavada, senior elementary education major, met Stephens through a mutual friend at Marc's Tattooing where Stephens works.


"Jenna is a very intelligent person, and I do not think she would make a rash decision, although I do think she should have finished school," said Zavada.


With such a fast transition from school to working in a tattoo shop, Stephens isn't completely out of her element; she got her first tattoo--brass knuckles on both her hips--when she was 18.


"To become a tattoo artist, one must have a love of art and love to draw. You must have some talent and also a love of tattoos." said Stephens.


Though Zavada has several tattoos herself, she has yet to let Stephens tattoo her. "After she gets more experience under her belt, I will defiantly let her tattoo me. I think she has great potential and will live up to everyone's expectations, and strive to be the best she could be." said Zavada.


Stephens doesn't regret any of the many tattoos she has, but in case someone has a tattoo that they don't enjoy so much, she suggests removing it through laser surgery or having a tattoo artists cover it up with something else.


"Before you do [cover it up], make sure you look at the artist's portfolios and see how many cover-ups they've done and what they look like. Of course, you should do this whether you're getting a cover-up or just a fresh tattoo. Always make sure you chose the correct artist for the style and type of tattoo you want to get," said Stephens.


Even though she plans on going back to school to complete her degree, Stephens doesn't regret the decisions she's made to put it on hold.





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