Before you get stuck, get informed

Thinking about getting a tattoo? How about your nose pierced? Before you make any decisions, go to the tattoo and piercing forum to be held today, to educate PSU students about issues involving tattoos and piercings. Admission is $5 and will benefit Wants and Needles, a statewide campaign about tattoo and piercing safety.

The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. in Shattuck 212. Doors open at 5 p.m. for a reception and refreshments. Panels and open discussions will feature local tattoo artists and piercers as well as PSU faculty, the Oregon Health Licensing Office and a doctor specializing in tattoo removal.

The aim of the tattoo and piercing forum is to educate students about tattoo and body piercing issues. Organizers also hope to break down negative stereotypes about tattoos and piercings, inform students about potential health risks and help students make educated decisions about getting a safe tattoo or piercing.

Dozens of tattoo and piercing studios are listed in the phone book, and two panel discussion will take place at the forum to help students make informed decisions about picking a reputable one.

The academic panel will feature sociology professor Randy Blazak and Trish Rainey from the anthropology department at PSU.

The professional panel is composed of tattoo artists and piercers from Sea Tramp Tattoo, Dermagraphics, Tiger Lily Tattoo and Black Hole Body Piercing. Both panels will discuss health, cultural, social, medical, legal and occupational issues about body art and will follow up with open question-and-answer sessions.

Wants and Needles, a campaign sponsored by the State of Oregon Health Licensing Office, kicked off in early 2000 after state inspectors began receiving reports of illegal piercing and tattooing of individuals under age 18. State law requires parental permission to tattoo or pierce minors. Health officials started the Wants and Needles program to address health risks and legal issues about tattooing and piercing and are targeting people age 13 to 20. For more information about Wants and Needles, go to their Web site at www.hdlp.hr.state.or.us/wants.htm.

The tattoo and piercing forum is an applied graduate thesis project for Carrie Dixon, a second-year graduate student in speech communications at PSU. Dixon has researched body art for five years.

This event is open to the public and all are welcome. Individuals considering getting a tattoo or body piercing are especially encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Carrie Dixon at (503) 725-5383, [email protected]