Tattoos of Delaware

The medium: ink on skin. The artist: a hopeless romantic. The stories behind the works of art: as unique as the people who wear them.

No regrets

Jen Anderson
Chester County | Tattoo artist

Everyone has heard about someone getting a tattoo of his or her significant other, only to have the relationship end. That’s when the tattoo can become a painful or embarrassing reminder of love gone wrong. But that didn’t bother Anderson, owner of Jen Anderson Tattoos, when she and her boyfriend split. The tattoo of a man and woman embracing is still special to her. “I’m a hopeless romantic, and I was dating a man with a mustache at the time,” she says, describing the design inked by Luke White. “It’s meant to represent us. I don’t believe in getting significant others’ names tattooed on my body, but instead I have an image meant to capture a moment in time for eternity. And even though we parted ways, I don’t regret it for a minute.”

About the artist: Jen Anderson has been tattooing professionally for about seven years. She graduated from Penn State University in 2009 with a degree in fine arts, then served a one-year apprenticeship at a tattoo shop in Pottstown, Pa., before striking out on her own. Many customers take advantage of Anderson’s offer to travel to their homes.

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Rob Willis


Rob Willis, 31
Wilmington | Coffee roaster-production manager

Like the catchy Corona ads, Willis has found his beach. It’s on his upper arm in the form of a half-sleeve tattoo. The design includes a tropical sunset scene featuring DC Comics characters Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy sporting skimpy bikinis. Willis first had the beach scene done because his favorite place to be in the world is on a beach with palm trees at sunset. A Batman comic series called “Gotham City Sirens” was the inspiration for the sexy trio. Says Willis, “I think the tattoo says I’m a beach bum with a natural affinity for bad girls with nice girl tendencies.”


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A teaching moment

Jennifer Hochstuhl, 30
Hockessin | High school English teacher

Hochstuhl’s colorful starfish tattoo has done more than gain the attention of students at A.I. du Pont High—it’s led to many positive encounters that may otherwise not have happened. “It’s surprising how many connections I make with students who I don’t even have in class,” she says. “They see me in the hall and ask me about my tattoo. It’s a positive connection with a teacher.” Hochstuhl asked Anderson, a grade-school buddy who she recently reconnected with, to create the starfish in honor of a favorite parable. “A boy is throwing beached starfish back into the ocean one by one,” Hochstuhl says, “and even though he is told he can’t save them all, he knows he is saving each one he throws back in. To me, that parable reflects teaching. I know I can’t save all of my students, but I can do everything I can in the time that I hold them in my hand before the tide takes them away.”

Jennifer Hochstuhl


Ashley Eisele

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Proud as a peacock

Ashley Eisele, 28
Milford | Pharmacy technician

When choosing a theme for her third tattoo, Eisele wanted to include a few of her favorite things: lilies, a peacock feather and her children’s names (Danika and Raines) written in pearls, “because my children are my everything.” She added a compass because her husband has one in one of his tattoos. “I wanted a bigger custom piece, and Jen delivered it to me perfectly,” Eisele says. “It has my favorite things tied into one piece of art that I love. I get to show it off when I want, but can hide it when I need to. Not that I’m ashamed of my choice of getting a tattoo, but for professional reasons, I like that I can hide it with no problem.”


Skull session

Benjamin Shahan, 35
Newark | Military maintenance mechanic supervisor

When Shahan saw a photo of a tattoo on a military website, he knew he had to have it. The design was inspired by an insignia worn by the Marvel Comics character The Punisher. The tattoo features a skull-like image rocking the colors of the American flag. Flames flicker inside its eye sockets and the skull is surrounded by a camouflage design. The Punisher, also known as Frank Castle in comic books and films, is a United States Marine-turned-vigilante who punishes criminals. Shahan says the tattoo, his seventh, reflects his love for his country. He enlisted in the Delaware Army National Guard in the days following the Sept. 11 attacks. “I’m a patriot,” Shahan says. “I love the military and I love what the flag stands for.”

Benjamin Shahan


A timely tribute

Tyeisha Lyles, 28
Bear | Licensed practical nurse

Lyles endured the loss of several friends and uncles during a short period recently, so she asked Anderson to design a watch surrounded by flowers as a tribute to them. “It’s symbolic,” Lyles says, “because time waits for nothing, so do everything you can while you can.” The timepiece tattoo, her 13th, was added to a rose near her elbow that was done by a friend. She plans on adding more tattoos in the future. “Tattoos describe who you are,” Lyles says. “I think they also contribute to your personality.”

Tyeisha Lyles


We want to see your tattoos! Share a photo (and a brief story, if you’d like) with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TattoosOfDelaware.

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