Inked in the dorms: from bedroom to tattoo studio

It started off as a hobby. Now, Izzy Ward, a sophomore in the College of Communication, leaves a legacy that is inked on indefinitely. Ward gives tattoos to about two clients a week in her dorm room.

“I got into it because I really hate paying for tattoos. They’re so expensive and I’ve kind of always been into art so I figured ‘Why not buy a tattoo gun and save all that money,’” Ward said.

Ward first practiced tattooing on fake skin and then tried it on herself and her friends. She also watched YouTube videos and spoke to a tattoo artist for tips. She officially began tattooing this past summer.

Nate Fisher, Izzy’s boyfriend, has received multiple tattoos from her. One of his favorites is an abstract skull that is on his arm.

“This one is probably one of my favorites because of how amazing the linework is she did on it and because of how visible it is because it is very like tedious work in there,” Fisher said.

Over time, Fisher said he has seen Ward’s passion for art.

“She used to draw on her doors and make cool galaxies and stuff, and she fell in love with tattoos, watching tattoo shows and all sorts of stuff. Seeing her watching and critique on there to like critique your own stuff was really, really cool, especially to see how far she’s come to her first and now,” Fisher said.

Fisher bought Ward’s first tattoo gun for her birthday, and he said it has been cool to see her improve.

“Once she got better at doing them, like this one [a tattoo of a skull on his arm], it kind of got dangerous after that because she’s gotten so good to the point where I’m getting comfortable with her doing better and better stuff. I have this free opportunity to get as many as I want,” Fisher said.

Jaiden Loreti, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said it has been amazing to see Ward and their roommate, Geena Brumm, a sophomore in the College of Communication, who does nails, be able to promote themselves and work.

“I feel like their little princess. It’s pretty cool having them in here, and it’s really cool that’s how I met Izzy through Gina, doing nails. So it’s also, a really cool way to meet people while working hard in promoting yourself,” Loreti said.

Ward has done multiple tattoos on Loreti. She got a pair of dice filled with hearts, cherries, a peace sign and others all done over a span of about four hours. Ward has also done tattoos on Loreti’s leg and the back of her neck.

“Even when I was little, I used to look at people with tattoos and be like, ‘Oh they’re really cool.’ My mom has two tattoos, and my dad isn’t really the biggest fan of tattoos, but I always like, ‘Oh my gosh, like that’s so awesome,’” Loreti said.

Loreti said she always planned to get tattoos and now she has 21 of them.

“It’s a really cool way to express yourself. If you like them, I think it like adds to your style. It’s not just clothing or makeup hair,” Loreti said.

When a client comes in for a tattoo, Ward prints off the picture of the tattoo on stencil paper and then traces it on them. The client then sits down where they are most comfortable, which is sometimes a bean bag. Once Ward finishes the tattoo, she instructs them with proper aftercare.

“It feels the exact same as when I got it professionally done, so I trust her,” Fisher said.

This story has been updated from the printed version that ran in the Marquette Tribune. 

TJ Dysart contributed to this report.

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at [email protected]