Needles & Cred, the INDY‘s inaugural look at tattoos and tattooing in the Triangle, is not meant as a comprehensive guide to area ink. Despite the woes of one former area tattooer, the region is indeed too rich with a tradition of body art and a lineage of entrenched or active body artists to capture within a single frame. Instead, these stories and Alex Boerner’s photo essay from a day spent shooting skin at Raleigh’s Ray Price Capital City Bikefest attempt to glimpse a few of the ways locals use their tattoosas a source of income, as a mode of remembrance, as a piece of decoration, as a means of celebration, as a bit of humorto enhance their daily lives. Tattoos are often as varied and surprising as the people who have them, defying stereotypes and challenging conventions (and, yes, sometimes reinforcing both). Here are but a few tales of the art and the owner.

Ink in the workplace seems more visible and accepted than ever, but the Triangle is not quite an art-for-all paradise yet

Using tattoos to keep petsor at least their lessonsaround forever

Custom paint: Photos from Tattoo Fest