Julia Hyndman and I are sitting at her kitchen table when she lifts her shirt to show me the half mandala tattoo on her sternum. Years have gone by since she was first inspired by a stranger’s tattoo, but it wasn’t until last year that she actually got one, “Judy” on her lower lip. Though the reasoning behind this lip tattoo is light-hearted, she approached her most recent one with more serious intentions.
Julia’s cousin, Sam Hyndman, has always been an artist, but struggled to find where his talents were best expressed. After working with a number of mentors who were not concerned with how he improved, he finally met a mentor, Delaney Hutchings, who appreciated his art and was willing to help him grow as a tattoo artist. As his success in his artwork and tattoos took off, Julia knew that her next big tattoo had to be done by him. “At first I just wanted a tattoo because I thought that tattoos were cool but in the past year it’s turned into something, like, I want a piece of art on my body. I want to support this artist because I’m also an artist and I want to support people who are doing what they love.”
The style of tattooing that Julia wanted, pointillism (a technique in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image), was one that Sam had never tried before and her requests for this specific technique were met by hesitation at first. Though they discussed it over the summer, it was not until this past winter break that they were both ready. After four and a half hours the tattoo was complete and Julia left feeling empowered. “When I first looked in the mirror,” she said, “I felt like it was supposed to be there.”
The concept of the mandala appealed to Julia because of the continuity that it represents and the meditation that exists in its repetition. The design was created by Sam after Julia sent him pictures of similar tattoos that she liked and requesting that certain aspects be present. She decided to get the tattoo done on her chest as a representation of her acceptance of her body and describes its addition as a new way of respecting her femininity. Though it is often hidden under her clothes, Julia’s personal knowledge of its existence has given her some newfound confidence.
The artistry of Julia’s tattoo has led to an increased interest in Sam’s work and he has had the opportunity to continue to work with pointillism as well as other styles. For both Julia and Sam, this tattoo was a chance for personal growth.
Sam Hyndman is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana at 5.9 Studios. His work can be viewed on his Instagram, @sam_hyndman.