Local tattoo artist reacts to new law allowing scarification - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Local tattoo artist reacts to new law allowing scarification

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- A relatively new tattoo law has been getting a lot of attention on social media. Arkansas lawmakers legally redefined the term body art to include scarification,which is the scratching, etching or cutting of skin to produce a design.

An earlier version of the bill banned Arkansas body artists from performing scarification but state legislators reached a compromise with the Ark Dept of Health.

Dewey Bryant owns Immortal Ink on Caraway Rd and has been a tattoo artist in Jonesboro for about a year and a half. He says he doesn't have a problem with scarification but prefers not to do it.

"Heavy handed tattooing, that's just to bare down too hard to try to tattoo someone like you are tying to carve it into their bones," Bryant said. 

Arkansas lawmakers recently updated the rules and regulations governing tattooing and piercing in the state adding scarification to the term "body art."

Bryant says a lot of kids get the idea from famous athletes.

"We have never actually don't any scarification here. It was popular back in the day, obviously it's still popular with some," he said.

Bryant said he had two people come in his shop requesting scarification in the last year and a half but he said no.

"It's for lack of a better term, medieval, so that's just my personal opinion on how I feel about it," he said.

And with scarification comes a lot of health concerns.

"Infections is the first. Staph is easily generated by that," he said. Bryant said there is a fine line between tattooing and intentionally scaring someone.

"There's not much difference between what we do and what surgeons do, we are changing your body permanently," Bryant said.

Arkansas Senate Bill 387 was in both chambers earlier this year. When healed, scarification leaves a permanent design with healed skin instead of link like tattoos.  

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