Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Media Studies

Reader 1

Kim-Trang Tran

Reader 2

Carlin Wing

Reader 3

Ken Gonzalez-Day

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

@2019 Sabrina M. Drescher


What I am intrigued by is the individual and interpersonal power of a tattoo to transform and rewrite personal narratives and experiences within the body. Bodies exist as homes that we, whether we want to or not, have to live in. Technically we should own those homes, but for many people, that ownership has been denied or taken away. Physical trauma, scars, transformations, and deformities identify bodies as “not belonging,” and when they do not fit structured categories, are denied their agency to exist as not only bodies but as individual minds and souls. What is displayed for my final capstone is a documentation of these stories through the drawings that responded to the story, the stencils that were used to design the tattoo and place it on the skin, text transcribed from the stories told by the individuals, and photographs that were done immediately after the tattooing session, aimed at being directed as much as possible by the subject, rather than me, the photographer, tattoo artist, and listener.

This project brings together a number of disciplines and practices including tattooing, art history, media theory, and psychology. I initiated this project with a search to define and articulate why my relationship to my body is so conflicted, and why tattoos have become an obsession as well as a major factor in improving my relationship to my body, trauma, body dysmorphia, chronic pain, and genetic mutation. My experience with getting and giving tattoos has been greatly impactful and transformative to the way that I not only perceive my body but also how I perceive my identity. A tattoo is unique as it combines the physical sensation with a visual image, as well as a process (The process of getting the tattoo, the process of healing, and the process of it ageing). A body is a canvas, but it is also connected to a soul, and has endured, born, and interacted with the world around it. Learning what is right and what is wrong through establishing a “sense” of what is happening.

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This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.