© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

How millennials have popularized the body art once reserved for bikers, prisoners and gangs

Ways To Subscribe

The old stereotype was that people with tattoos couldn't get good jobs, or were all thugs and criminals. Now, tattooing is a multi-billion-dollar industry.

People with tattoos were once looked down upon. But these days, tattoos are widely accepted — and even celebrated.

According to MarketResearch, the tattoo industry grew by nearly 10% every year for more a decade prior to 2018, and industry analysts believe this trend will continue well into the 2020s.

David Gant and Aaron Olivo are tattoo artists at Grimm Tattoo in Kansas City, which has been around for four generations. Olivo credits Wes Grimm, who's been tattooing since the 1980s, for helping him develop his career.

"It's been one of the best experiences that I can say," Olivo says. "I am learning so much more of tattooing than just the process."

Even though tattoos are widely popular, there are still some professions that don't allow certain tattoos. Dr. David Ores created the Fresh Start Removal Program on the Lower East Side of New York to help people who've been traumatized or faced significant barriers because of their tattoos. For example, he helped one of his clients remove a face tattoo so the client could be eligible for a promotion.

Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.