Kyra Shindler shares her headless horseman tattoo. Photos by Grace DeSanti.
University of Rhode Island junior Kyra Shindler has big plans for her future, even if it includes adding to her existing collection of tattoos.
Her favorite is her most recent tattoo, a large portrait of the headless horseman on the back of her right shoulder. Shindler got the tattoo at a party this Halloween by her tattoo artist. The tattoo is meaningful to her because she grew up reading this classic Halloween legend, as it is one of her mom’s favorites.
“My mom is my best friend,” Shindler said, when talking about a future tattoo she plans to get, an image of the smiley face her mom draws in all of her birthday cards, behind her ear.
Shindler’s cousin gave her her first tattoo when she was 18 years old. It was done with the stick and poke method and is a small moon on her ankle, a matching tattoo with her best friend, Nicole, who has a moon in the same spot. Nicole has accompanied Shindler to many of her tattoo sessions, as has her friend Ally.
In addition to the sun and headless horseman tattoos, Shindler has a cat on her ribcage. This tattoo is a collaborative commemoration to all six of the cats she’s owned throughout her life. She also has an Aquarius constellation complete with small navy blue stars on the inside of her upper arm. Aquarius is her star sign, and is very symbolic to her, as she is very invested in her astrology, as well as the astrological identities of her peers.
But, Shindler’s not done yet. She plans to complete her upper arm with a sleeve embodying a space theme with more constellations, planets and lots of colors. She also plans on getting an image from the 1970 movie “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” on her older shoulder. She wants it to be from the movie’s musical scene “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.”
“That scene was playing the background when I took my first steps,” she said.
Shindler has always loved the idea of getting tattoos. She remembers loving to see the art on celebrities in movies or magazines. Shindler even remembers seeing them on teachers and family members, like her cousin who gave her the sun tattoo, who is working on his professional tattoo skills.
Just like Shindler, senior Brady Gunson always liked tattoos due to seeing them in the media.
Gunson was 17 years old when he got his first tattoo. His first three tattoos were all stick and pokes. He did them by himself in his bathroom using a do-it-yourself method. The first tattoo he gave himself was a small circle on his wrist with matching geometric shapes on the back of each of his calves.
Gunson’s first professionally-done tattoo is a topographical map of Mount Fuji. He got this tattoo at 18 years old, just after graduating from high school, to commemorate his trip to Japan and climbing Mount Fuji.
Gunson said that to him, tattoos are pieces of nostalgia-provoking memories that he carries with him everywhere. Just like the memory of Mount Fuji, Gunson also has a tattoo on his forearm of a hand holding a sun. This is a matching tattoo he got this year with his best friend Leah, who is currently away in England for grad school. This tattoo is symbolic for both of them and their connection even across far distances.
Gunson also has a tattoo running down his spine of a John Mayer lyric. Gunson said he likes the idea of getting song lyric tattoos and plans to get another one as soon as possible of a song lyric from the band “Cigarettes After Sex’s” new album. This is a band he has bonded with friends over, and, therefore is a memory he wants to keep forever.
“I like the look of clean lines and the idea of accumulating a bunch of little tattoos over time.”
Gunson also said he takes inspiration from the aesthetics of Harry Styles and Tate Langdon, a character from the show “American Horror Story.” He plans to keep his future tattoos all line-designs with minimal color and a simplistic look.