WASHINGTON, DC -- OCTOBER 3: Jamie Roman, 21, right, and Aaron Beattie, 25, of DC. Jamie: "One of the reasons why I started getting work done on myself is because I hated my skin. I didnât appreciate it. So I thought, once I started loving myself, this was an opportunity for me to remake myself and blossom into the person that I am really. Regardless of the social conflict that artwork like this has, it is what you make it. For me I always chose pieces that meant something to me. Itâs just things that define me and I keep on doing it. It helps me love myself more. I feel like more of what Iâm supposed to be. With my chest piece, I cried after the second session because I felt beautiful. Thatâs something Iâve always struggled with."
Aaron: "I sort of graduated my way up to getting a sleeve. I just got small pieces here and there. I just kept liking them the more that I got, so I just kept getting more and more. Itâs an oroboros serpent, a self-eating infinity symbol. Thereâs something about the idea of eternity thatâs satisfying to me. Or the idea that things are created anew is pleasing to me. Also visually it works really well as a sleeve. A serpent that wraps around my arm. Tattoos are very out there and in the public eye, but there will always be something very personal and sentimental that you hold with yourself and your tattoos." (photo by Andre Chung for The Washington Post)