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Tattoo Story: MJ

"Tattoo culture... I feel like when I was younger, I always saw people that were in their twenties that had a few things here and there but most of it looked like jailhouse tattoos. It wasn’t as creative and polished. Now, you see the folks that have tattoos that were clearly produced by artists so it's more of an art form. I was drawn to the whole artsy community aspect, more so than the literal tattoo itself. The whole style is so timeless.

My first tattoo was a Tupac quote. It's, "Only God can judge me", but it's in Latin. I had just turned 18. I was just trying to dip the toes in the water but I knew I wanted to have flowers and to be more on the creative side of the tattoos and not only words and no other elements in there. It was definitely an on a whim type of tattoo.

I have friends that only do black ink, which looks really good if you stick with it. I like color. It makes you look a little different and it's positive and uplifting. No one's scared of you. There's that stigma that sometimes people get looped in so I had a positive spin on them to make them happy.

With modeling, people are looking for that alternative, more curated style. So many celebrities now have a ton of tattoos, so it's more mainstream. For brands like Skull Candy, Rockstar, all of those sporty or youthful brands, a lot of those, they want the people that either have a temporary tattoo on for their shoot or they want someone that looks a little rugged or eclectic. It's definitely harder to be a model, per se, but I also wouldn't give up tattoos just to model as a non-tattooed person.

When my friends ask, I’d say think about yourself like 40 years from now. Think about your interests. Is it just a trend thing and you have a silhouette of a cat on your wrist or is it something timeless that you'll enjoy when you're much older and would still find it silly or fun? That's why I like a lot of nature or animal things just because it's timeless, but then of course you mix in silly, joking things too." - MJ

Photos and stories created by Gray Warrior - Colorado Photographer. You can find more of his work on Instagram @Gray_Filter

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