Military tattoo show to hit Jacksonville

30 Jun 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

If there’s one thing that’s as popular as physical training among Marines, it’s tattoos. As one of the most permanent forms of expression, tattoos found on Marines have ranged anywhere from tribal sleeves to dogtags to the eagle, globe and anchor symbol. Wherever there is a Marine Corps installation, there are bound to be tattoo parlors right outside the gate.

One of these parlors is Skin Art Tattoo Studio in Jacksonville, N.C., which has been, for more than 30 years, supplying high quality ink to Marines of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and the surrounding installations. It is this tattoo establishment which may be the focus of ‘Military Ink’, a television show possibly airing in a few short months, that focuses on Marines and their tattoos.

“One day I was watching ‘Operation Repo’ with my father, and at the end of the credits ‘EGA Productions’ came up,” said Allen Mishoe, co-owner of Skin Art. “Obviously the ‘EGA’ meant a Marine had to do something with the show.”

That person is Lou Pizarro, a former Camp Pendleton Marine and executive producer of EGA Productions and star of ‘Operation Repo’, a hit TrueTV vehicle repossession show.

“Allen called me up with the idea of doing a show about Marines and their tattoos,” said Pizarro. “That alone lets you know it’s going to be a great TV show.”

Approximately five months later, Pizarro showed up at Skin Art to shoot some footage for a ‘sizzle reel,’ otherwise known as a teaser clip which is shown to various networks. Pizarro is aiming for the Discovery, Military and History Channels to purchase and air the show.

“It will focus on Marines and their tattoos, what they mean to them, and also give a glimpse into their military career and info on their (military occupational specialty),” said Pizarro.

With the sizzle reel completed and the artists at Skin Art continuing to make Marines’ tattoo dreams come alive, those who defend this country’s freedom may soon be spotlighted as the first military tattoo show possibly hits the airwaves.

“We’ve been mulling this idea around for a while before talking to Lou,” said Mishoe. “These guys have been deployed and been in combat; it really is an honor to give them something in return that will be with them forever.”

As a reminder to Marines, the recent amplification to the Marine Corps Tattoo Policy as of Jan. 15, states any tattoos visible while in physical training gear must be no larger than the owner’s hand with fingers extended and together; that quarter-half-or full-sleeve tattoos are forbidden; and anyone with four or more tattoos is ineligible to be commissioned as an officer. Any tattoos that are outside regulations per the new amplification which were gotten before the change must be photographed and documented in one’s service record book.