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Line Work: Sanjana Iyer

Fine line tattoos have sparked significant discussion within the tattoo industry with their surge of popularity in recent years. This style is favored by novice tattoo enthusiasts for their minimalistic aesthetic and reduced pain due to the usage of thinner needles. This style is particularly appealing to beginners, as the thinner lines facilitate faster healing and reduce the risk of infection. However, executing fine line tattoos requires a high level of precision and artistry, often leading to improper execution when attempted by inexperienced artists. Blowouts, fallouts, fading, and blurry lines are frequently observed post-healing, resulting from even the smallest errors. Due to the challenges such as thoroughly researching specialized artists, thoughtful placement selection, and diligent aftercare, fine line tattoos are often not recommended for newer clients. But while opinions vary within the industry, Sanjana Iyer wholeheartedly embraces the delicate and intricate style. 


Sanjana is a second-year Political Science and Psychology major from St. Louis, Missouri. Her decision to attend Indiana University was driven by a desire to seek out a close-knit community of like-minded creatives. Always looking for outlets to express her creativity, Sanjana joined the marketing and communications department of our very own SEASON Magazine, and serves as the merchandise chair for her service fraternity. For her, tattoos serve as a permanent form of expression on her body in a way that represents her, similar to a signature necklace or an everyday accessory.


“I just always really loved the idea of having art on my body that truly represents myself to the world,” Sanjana shared.


Sun and Moon tattoo

Her first piece, a sentimental linework tattoo of the moon embracing the sun, was tattooed by Patrick Day at Iron Age Studios in St. Louis, MO. Given that the name “Sanjana” translates to “Goddess of Sun” in Sanskrit and was always her mother’s top contender for her name, this tattoo holds close significance. An excerpt from one of Sanjana’s favorite stories, a short untitled website post by Jason Cooper, reads, “Tell me the story about how the sun loved the moon so much. He died every night to let her breathe.” Sanjana expressed that she feels a deep connection to the sun, making this tattoo an integral part of her personality.


When asked about her favorite tattoo, Sanjana revealed her avid love of French poetry. She expressed that it holds a special place in her heart, noting its elegance and the deeper meanings it is able to convey.


"comment te dire adieu" tattoo

Her favorite tattoo, a cursive linework text reading “comment te dire adieu”, was done by Manny at Iron Age Studios in St. Louis, MO. It is the title of her favorite French poem by Line Gauthier, translating to “how to say goodbye” in English. Sanjana got this tattoo right before leaving for college, marking a vital period in her life, as it was the biggest transition she had ever faced. Her tattoo serves a double meaning as emblematic of her favorite poem and of the memories of her leaving for college. She loves this tattoo because every time she looks down at it, she can be reminded of home, friends, and family. 


"Body Electric" tattoo

Another beloved tattoo represents a different, more playful side of Sanjana’s personality. As a devoted fan of Lana del Rey’s music, she decided to tattoo the title of one of her favorite Lana songs, “Body Electric,” on her lower back. Rendered in fine line text in what Sanjana describes as “Lana del Rey stargirl font,” the tattoo was done by Jason Bane at Iron Age Studio in St. Louis, MO. Sanjana sees this tattoo as a humorous, yet meaningful reflection of herself.


Sanjana finds a lot of confidence in the summer months, when she is able to wear short sleeves and flaunt her tattoos, as the artwork on her body adds a unique element to her looks. While she encourages others to explore self-expression and confidence through tattoos, she acknowledges societal tendencies to judge appearances.


“I feel like in the type of society we live in, people often jump to conclusions and form opinions based solely on appearances. People [have] had preconceived notions about me, assuming I fit into a certain mold because of my race,” Sanjana said.  “Tattoos challenged those assumptions and allowed my true personality to shine through. Each tattoo holds personal significance, serving as a reminder of who I am and what I value.” 


While Sanjana has not experienced any explicit discrimination or been treated differently due to her tattoos, she recognizes it as an issue that merits attention. In professional settings, she opts for clothing that covers her arms to avoid potential bias. Other than occasional surprise from others when her tattoos are revealed, she feels that she is treated equally.


Sanjana happily maintains that she has no regrets about her tattoos. She approaches each tattoo with careful consideration, conducting thorough research and seeking input from those who are close to her. For her, tattoos serve as timeless reminders of her different chapters in life, with each piece contributing to her identity and values.

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