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Saturday June 25th

Wake up, get tatted: a walkthrough of getting new ink

<p>Mike Wheeler cracks a smile as he begins the second application of Hayden Fitzgerald's Alaskan tribal tattoo.</p>
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Mike Wheeler cracks a smile as he begins the second application of Hayden Fitzgerald's Alaskan tribal tattoo.

Over 40 percent of millennials have tattoos, according to the Pew Research Center, and we’re telling the stories of the UNC students and Chapel Hill/Carrboro residents who fall into that 40 percent. This is one of multiple stories in the Swerve Tattoo Impression series. Read the rest here.

Hayden Fitzgerald’s Monday morning plan: Wake up, get tatted. 

When he’s not tap dancing in the lumber section of Home Depot or bartending on Franklin Street, you may find Fitzgerald at Glenn’s Tattoo Service in Carrboro. 

The Alaskan native has known tattoo artist Mike Wheeler since he started getting tattoos. Wheeler has extensive experience as a tattoo artist. He began his apprenticeship in Connecticut, and has since spent 13 years working in Florida and North Carolina.  

“Tattooing takes a lot of mechanical ability — technical know-how,” Wheeler said. He enjoys similar technical hobbies like building custom motorcycles and farming — something he believes makes him a good tattoo artist. 

Wheeler has only worked at Glenn's for a year, but he has tattooed Fitzgerald a few times. 

Fitzgerald’s latest tattoo is an Alaskan illustration of animals and tribal masks. The tattoo is mostly black ink, but a few colors will be added in future sessions, Wheeler said.

The legend behind his tattoo comes from Alaskan folklore and Fitzgerald’s roots. 

“I have this book that is a bunch of childhood stories about how to treat people, basically lessons you learn in life as a child,” Fitzgerald said.

The story is about how a raven brought sunlight to the world. The raven’s brother, a seagull, steals the light and the raven brings it back so all the other creatures can see. He found the story of trickery and deceit interesting.

“I’ve been looking at these pictures for a few years now, and I just really enjoyed that story,” Fitzgerald said. “I just had to figure out where to put it.”

The tattoo wraps around his whole forearm. Fitzgerald’s experiences, from tap dancing around the world to spending summers fishing in Alaska, can be seen in his tattoos. His first tattoo was a fishing hook on his calf.

Fitzgerald hopes to continue to add to the tattoos on his arm and eventually have a full sleeve. 

His other tattoos include a sailor woman on his left shoulder, a whale and squid boxing on his calf and “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” on his other leg.

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