"Having tattoos is part of my identity."; Maggie’s half sleeve
Maggie Sepeda is an avid traveler who spent the good part of the last three years (pre-pandemic) exploring the other side of the world. Along the way, instead of souvenirs she collected tattoos. “I love tattoos,” she enthuses, “because to me they are an extension of who a person is. It’s an art form, a statement, and a community.”
I ask her to tell me her favorites, and starts with the black and white sunflower tattoo that adorns her right hand. (Queen Bee Tattoo, Springfield, Oregon, $400). “I got the sunflower because for one, I’m a Leo, and I feel a strong connection to the sun and all things sunny. It’s also my favorite flower, and I’ve had a lot of meaningful coincidences involving sunflowers throughout my life.”Eugene, Oregon is where Maggie spent 10 years of her adolescence, and a city, she says, where tattoos are a lot more common and accepted than the typical U.S. town.
The tattoo directly above the sunflower portrays an abstract hand (Elysian Tattoo, Perth, Western Australia, $180), which Maggie got on a flash tattoo day. It was tattooed by artist Tahlia Undarlegt, who also happened to design and create the spotted stingray that wraps around the middle of Maggie’s arm (Elysian Tattoo, Perth, Australia, $430). “The stingray was inspired by my time living in my favorite place in the world, Coral Bay, Western Australia. It’s a tiny beach town on the Indian Ocean in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the Australian desert. Every day around the same time, orange-spotted stingrays would come out by the dozens and hang out near the shore. So stingrays are really representative of that time and place for me.”
Maggie feels tattoos serves as markers as one navigates through life, and as a sort of therapeutic, visual life story. “I grown more comfortable in my skin with the more tattoos I’ve gotten. I feel they have helped me figure out who I am. Thinking something is beautiful, or weird, or cool is reason enough to put it on your body if you want. It’s a powerful thing to be in control of your body in that way.”