Local tattoo artist reacts to new law allowing scarification

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

An earlierversion of the bill banned Arkansas body artists from performing scarification butstate legislators reached a compromise with the Ark Dept of Health.

Dewey Bryantowns Immortal Ink on Caraway Rd and has been a tattoo artist in Jonesboro forabout a year and a half. He says he doesn't have a problem with scarificationbut prefers not to do it.

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

Arkansaslawmakers recently updated the rules and regulations governing tattooing andpiercing in the state adding scarification to the term "body art."

Bryant saysa lot of kids get the idea from famous athletes.

"We havenever actually don't any scarification here. It was popular back in the day,obviously it's still popular with some," he said.

Bryant said hehad two people come in his shop requesting scarification in the last year and ahalf but he said no.

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

And withscarification comes a lot of health concerns.

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

"There's notmuch difference between what we do and what surgeons do, we are changing yourbody permanently," Bryant said.

Arkansas SenateBill 387 was in both chambers earlier this year. When healed, scarificationleaves a permanent design with healed skin instead of link like tattoos.

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