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Beauty Is Skin Deep For Tattoo Lovers

September 25, 1990

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Call it body art.

Robert Fleisher, who calls himself an art collector, scrutinized the field at the Tattoo Expo ’90 and then stripped to the waist, leaving his body in the hands of Ronald Bonkerk of Amsterdam, a man Fleisher refers to as a ″Dutch master.″

″I have well over 100 tattoos. I’ll keep going until I run out of places to put them,″ said Fleisher, a 53-year-old retired automobile salesman from Philadelphia. ″The human body is just a canvas for these artists.″

Fleisher was just one of hundreds at the Clarion hotel during the four-day Tattoo Expo ’90 that ended Sunday.

Needles buzzed constantly at the booths. Women in bikinis and bare-chested men showed off their tattoos or added new ones. Others were more circumspect.

″All of my tattoos are covered,″ said Janet Rivard, a 34-year-old registered nurse from Sacramento, Calif. ″I don’t mind showing them, but I like it to be my choice.″

Rivard started with a small flower design on her right breast, then added a full color lynx that covers her entire left buttock, before having a lion’s head done on her stomach to cover an appendectomy scar.

″Our shop is near a college, and we have a lot of college girls come in,″ said Susan Agan of Susan and Critter Tattooing in Troy, N.Y. ″They don’t want their tattoos seen. They want them to be something they can share in intimate situations. Something only seen when they’re undressed.″

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