A Piece for Eternity
Tattoos often hold an immense significance in people’s hearts. They are a way that people commemorate a passed loved one, remind themselves of their roots, or just simply a way to put a smile on their face. However, there used to be a strong stigma and stereotype associated with tattoos. Todd Hunter, owner of Utica’s local tattoo shop Eternal Images, spoke of his experience growing up and seeing this shift of ideologies. Hunter spoke upon this change by saying, “I saw it progress from the beginning, it was bikers and military men. That’s who got tattooed. I was the first place [in the city of Utica], that you could go into a place and get a tattoo, and look around and see what it’s about. To show people it’s not a scary place”. I was extremely impressed by how Hunter saw the acceptance grow from a firsthand experience. Hunter responded by commenting, “Now it’s art! It’s finally came to fine art”. As an art student coming from a family of artists, I resonated with Hunter’s view of tattoos greatly. As a tattoo artist, you must be well versed in many styles based upon the client’s taste, and confident in the execution of each piece. Hunter is definitely a confident artist as he named types of pieces he has completed, including skulls and flames then hibiscus flowers the next session. Through these different customers, artists are introduced to many walks of life and a strong community is built. On this, Hunter explained that he used to own other tattoo shops but chose to close them down as he found that he was turning into strictly a business owner and was no longer able to take part in the creative process. Hunter spoke about how the payment of his work comes from people’s reaction to his work. Through my talk with Todd Hunter, I understand that being a successful tattoo artist does not come only from the ability, but from the passion and drive to fully give back to the community one builds through artistic expression. I see this in Eternal Images as the team that works there truly “gives the gift of eternal ink”. Eternal Images is a unique location in Utica, decorated with taxidermy, interesting masks, classic tattoo illustrations, and passionate artists like Todd Hunter who appreciate the opportunity to decorate their clients with their own passions.