Some Americans say,

By Sarah Lavers, News Correspondent

Even before the November 2008 election of newly-inaugurated President Barack Obama, memorabilia for his supporters took many forms, from collectible coins to coasters, commemorative dinner plates and even a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor, ‘Yes Pecan.’ But some more dedicated supporters have since decided to take the permanent route ‘- presidential tattoos.

The entire country watched as millions of people poured into the streets of the capital the weekend before the inauguration. Bars stayed open until 5 a.m., restaurants served Obama-themed dishes. Fatty’s Custom Tattooz in D.C. put their own celebratory spin on the event.

‘Come Celebrate the Obamathon!’ reads the parlor’s website. ‘Free ‘Obama ’08’ logo tattoo with purchase of a tattoo valued at $200+!’

During the months leading up to Obama’s election, a new wave of patriotism seemed to sweep the country. Citizens banded together chanting ‘Yes We Can,’ red, white and blue appeared to be the only color scheme around and Obama’s face became etched into some people’s skin.

Across D.C., tattoo parlors accommodated clients, like at Tattoo Paradise, where a representative said quite a few clients emblazoned their bodies with the inauguration date; a Jinx Proof Tattoo representative reported a few requests for the Obama ‘O.” Other designs included the iconic Shepard Fairey ‘Hope’ poster of the predent, the words ‘Hope’ and ‘Change We Can Believe In.” ‘ ‘

Boston tattoo parlors reported a smaller number of these patriotic tattoos, but it wasn’t unheard of. The receptionist at Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo said one client asked for the ‘O’ logo ‘about a month ago.’ Skin Art Studio in Cambridge, known for inking both Curt Schilling and David Ortiz, reported they had ‘unfortunately not’ had any Obama tattoos done, though they said they were eager to create one, given the chance.

‘We see ‘Americana’ stuff a lot,’ said Jennifer Rodd, an employee at Stingray Body Art and More in Allston. Though Rodd said no one at Stingray had drawn any tattoos that literally commemorate President Obama, one

client recently got an image of Atlas holding up the globe:’ Atlas represented the president to the customer, Rodd said, and the world represented all the work ahead of him in troubling times.

Ellen Murphy, an artist at Chameleon Tattoo and Body Piercing in Cambridge, said she specializes in portraits, and recently finished one reminiscent of Fairey’s ‘Hope’ poster:’ a red and blue likeness of Obama’s face that covered the client’s rib cage on his right side.
Northeastern political science professor Alison Uzdella said this resurgence of displaying political support is not really patriotism ‘- merely ‘Obamamania,’ as Time magazine dubbed it.

‘The media will call it patriotism,’ Uzdella said. ‘But it seems less like a love for the country than a love for this charismatic man who has really captured our attention.’
She acknowledged that, while running for office, Obama clearly gained the ‘young’ vote. And according to US News & World Report, people between the ages 25 and 29 constitute the most tattooed population.

This correlation may explain a sudden surge of Obama-related tattoos, Uzdella said.

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