External expressions

Crystal Fresquez

At the age of sixteen senior Bradley Merritt found himself attracted to a form of expression that requires a bit of passion, a hint of courage and a lot of sting: tattoos. Merritt got his first tattoo days before his seventeenth birthday that eventually led to his newfound hobby tattoo design.

After getting a tattoo himself he decided to learn how to create them as well. The first ink job he ever did was on his own forearm that reads “mom” and “dad.”

“It means life and highlights the people that gave it to me,” Merritt said.

Merritt’s favorite design is of a skull due to the different shapes and shades. Ink comes in all forms and can look however you like. Merritt throws in color to personalize the tattoo as much as possible.

To Merritt a tattoo means more than cool looking ink for everyone to see; they serve a deeper purpose to the holder then how they appear to the viewer, it’s what they mean. It doesn’t matter if others don’t find it appealing.

“Tatts describe who you are and signify what makes you you,” Merritt said.

Merritt’s first job was on his best friend Matthew Tickle. Tickle has known Bradley since the sixth grade which gave him complete confidence in Bradley.

“He got a machine, asked if he could practice on me and I said sure,” Tickle said. “I don’t know if I will get another one but if I do, I’ll let Brad do it.”

This aspiring body artist continues to practice in order to pursue his career choice because it is a life style he can live with but would also like to live his childhood dream and become a firefighter.

“Brad is a great guy with high ambitions,” friend Michael Pasmant said.

For this developing ink master it all started with a machine, a good friend, and a steady hand. Whether he becomes a tattoo artist or a firefighter he will prosper and thrive.