If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does ink permanently injected in your skin worth? Throughout history, tattoos signified the wearer to such information such as ancestral tribes, social status and more recently, personal expression. Asking to pick a favorite tattoo is like asking a parent to pick who their favorite child is—their answer could vary by the day and hour—instead we asked the following inked barbers what tattoo held the most meaning to them and why.
Georgia Tournai @gtournai
Session barber, Palm Springs, CA
“Then another great cry went from the dust: Crazy Horse is coming! Off toward the West and North they were yelling ‘Hoka Hey’ like a big wind roaring and making the tremolo; and you could hear the eagle bone whistles screaming.” — Black Elk Speaks
"I faced a lot of adversity growing up, not because of my multiracial culture, but because I was growing up as a queer kid in a very conservative community. To me, ‘Hoka Hey’ is more than an indigenous battle cry at the Battle of Little BigHorn, it’s resilience. It’s a cry of passion and feeling, an outburst of looking fear directly in the face and conquering it. It stands for seeing hope when everything feels lost. It’s placement serves as a constant reminder of resilience and strength, that I CAN and WILL persevere.
"Leyna Adamson, @leyna_grace of @unioncolonyunderground has been tattooing me now for over 10 years and freehanded my head piece."
Rick Morin @dapeoplesbarber
Flawless Barber Shop, Corpus Christi, TX
“I was waiting for the perfect moment to introduce my tattoo that I got done about a year ago. Behold, “La Virgen Clipper”—it represents what I love most in life—God, my lovely wife Rosie for 15 years, and barbering.
"Tattoo artist @pinnaclechris removed the Virgen and replaced it with my favorite Cordless Wahl Senior, to represent my wife as being the mother to my children but also to represent the clipper being one of the motherhoods of barbering."
Paul Laurie @paulaurie
District Barber Shop, Buffalo, NY
"Some of my fondest memories when I was a kid was going down the street and spending time with my card-playing grandfather. He always had multiple games of solitaire set up and ready to play. In addition to solitaire, he taught me how to play rummy and a game we called Oklahoma. This tree in a prairie on my right shoulder is the picture on the back of the deck of cards we used all the time."
Sean Casey @twincutz_ceo
Sean Casey Hair Studio, Fort Myers, FL
"When I first started barbering school, I picked up an Andis Master Clipper and I have not used another clipper since. Any time I’m on stage educating and someone asks me what my favorite clipper is, I just point to my tattoo to let them know the love is organic and real."
Felicia Febo @lici_ladybarber
Hair Fluent Barber and Beauty Shop
Bury Saint Edmunds, England
"My forearm tattoo of the scissor impaling an apple, draped with a banner and words ‘Love, Learn, Teach’ is the essence of my values and what is at the core of my career. The apple is a representation of education and the scissors is my career as a barber/stylist. In the hardest moments in my life, I’ve always found solace in hair. I share my experiences and mentor others. My tattoo is my mantra and helps keep me focused toward serving my hair community."
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