Interest in ink flourishes as tattoo taboos fade - FOX 13 News

Interest in ink flourishes as tattoo taboos fade

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Chelsea Mailo sees her body as a blank canvas.

"I think it’s a great way to make your body a piece of art," Mailo said.

To her, pain is pleasure.

"I got my first tattoo with my mom, which is a hibiscus flower," she said.

One has turned into five, with more planned for the future.

Artist Patrick Reili is the inkmaster behind Mailo's splashy design.

"I do mostly traditional Japanese traditional American," Reili said.

He owns the Ybor City Tattoo Company and just recently opened up shop in St. Petersburg.

He's been drawing up colorful creations for more than a decade.

"Used to be sailors, bikers and whores; now it’s doctors, everyday nurses, everybody," he said.

In fact, it’s estimated that around 45 million Americans have at least one. That's about 14 percent of the U.S. population. That number jumps way up when you look at people ages 26 through 40. In that case, a whopping 40 percent have at least one.

"Over the years, it's been more accepted. Over the years, go to the beach, everyone’s got a tattoo," Reili said.

"I just think in general, people are more comfortable with a lot of things," Mailo says.

Of course, the stigma hasn't completely gone away. But they expect it to continue to fade.

Trends also come and go, and Reili says these days there's a lot more artistry that goes into each design.

"Everybody liked tribal back in the 90s, now it’s not that cool anymore," Reili said.

For him, it's a labor of love, turning bodies in works of art.

"I love all of my tattoos so much," Mailo says.

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