Skin Deep

Ink tells stories beyond printed words


Photographs by Lauren Berny. Photo editing by Travis Jepeway. Video recording by Andres Soto. Video editing by Alinna Boonklun and Ang Cruz. Interviews by the Mt. San Antonio College multimedia storytelling class.

The Mt. SAC Journalism 2018 multimedia storytelling class sat down with 10 individuals to discover the stories behind their tattoos. We found that all 10 chose their tattoo to pay tribute to a significant influence in the their life. These influences ranged from family members, to institutions, to existential and spiritual forces. While some of the tattoos were the result of an impromptu decision, it was clear that the inspiration for each tattoo resonated with the individual in a deep and enduring way.

Here are their tattoos and their stories.

Alinna Boonklun, 23, creator and designer

“I chose the birds first, because I flew out of the nest when I moved to San Francisco and second, my [two] sisters and me, when we’re together we soar. I can reach for the sky as long as they are by my side.”

Kevin Vargus, 21, kinesiology major

“I think she would really love it.”

April Lopez, 25, fire technology major

“They didn’t want someone else to look at me that way.”

Joell Quintero, 22, photography and biology major

“We’re connected in so many ways we don’t understand.”

Sergio Navas, 28, business major

“I don’t want to be like him. I still don’t want to be like him.”

Ben Ouyang, 32, real estate seller

“It’s the most painful part when someone gets the tattoo.”

Joseph Harvey, 21, communications major

“I think why I clung onto him was because I saw someone I wanted to be.”

Albert Serna, 29, Project Expert at Mt. SAC Journalism Program

“All I could do was keep doing me and moving forward.”

Jacob Freed, 24, nursing major

“The reason I got this one right here is to keep her memory alive along with a heritage alive.”