In Ink Spot, Amy Price stops strangers in Dallas to shoot, and learn about, their body art.
Twenty-three-year-old Twisted Root bartender Melissa MacDougall frequently gives out those "best body parts" discounts from the behind bar, but if there was a discount for "most awesome tattoos," she'd get her meal for free.
MacDougall's most ironic tattoo is her chest piece that reads "Born to lose," a tribute to the Ramones' song. Surrounding the words are items known for bring good luck and fortune -- a rising star behind a horseshoe, dice, and an 8-ball. "It's contradicting because of all the lucky stuff around it and I feel like sometimes I'm handed the short-end-of-the-stick."
MacDougall's first taste of ink happened when she was 16 and got a hold of some India ink. Her friend did a pick-n-poke tattoo of a smiley face. "I like smiley faces," MacDougall said. "I wanted to get a big smiley face tattoo when I was younger, because I'm always smiling."
Her left arm is a mixture of her heritage, Scottish and Navajo, and her family. Her first professionally done tattoo was of her family crest with her own added twist. "It's suppose to be my family crest but I made it different -- it doesn't have a shield and it's not suppose to have an anchor." It reads in Gaelic, "To conquer or die," which has always been the MacDougall clan's motto.
Under her wrist is a collage of dice, cards and empty liquor bottles with the name "Ian" on top a banner. "It's for my brother -- he likes to drink, and for his band The Riverboat Gamblers." Above her wrist in traditional style is the name "Grandma," which she says means the most. "I got it when she was sick and then she passed away but she got to see it before she died."
It's impossible to not notice the tattoos on her face, especially the script under her right eye that says "Beholder" -- as in, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
"I get stared at a lot," she said, "and get a lot of whispers, and there's more people that criticize my body art, but occasionally I get someone who appreciates it."
She has a self-tattooed banana peering out the top of her thigh. I said I found it odd, seeing that poking out of her boxers; she said that was the point.
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She also has an ass tattoo of a dollar sign that says "cash only" across the middle. "I got it done in a mobile home trailer," she said. "It was sketchy. I knew this guy and he tattooed, so I just went."
MacDougall occasionally tattoos when she gets a chance, but doesn't ever want to do it for a career. Food is her passion, she said, and she would like to own a bar and restaurant one day. "I'm not trying to be your typical tattooed-stretched-ears young person who tattoos."