Science of Tattoos


Science! Tattoos! And beer!

Join us for a night of Biology, Anthropology, and Art at Tomlinson Tap Room! What happens to your skin when you get a tattoo? Why are tattoos permanent? How have cultural attitudes towards tattoos changed through history? What roles have tattoos played in folklore? What do artists think about when designing tattoos? How do techniques differ among tattoo artists?

You have questions, and our experts have answers!

Arrive early to grab a beverage from the bar. Then, after short introductions, enjoy casual discussions with our guest presenters. This ain’t no boring lecture. Our experts will be sitting at tables around the venue, and you can join them for discussion at your own pace.


6:30 – “Doors open”
7:00 – Introductions
7:20 – Mingle and have fun!

The event will take place to the side of the bar area. Guests under 21 may attend but will not be allowed in the bar. Most or all of the food vendors in the City Market will be closed for the night, so plan ahead for your noms. But there will be plenty of beer!

Be sure to RSVP with Eventbrite so we know how many of your beautiful faces to expect!

The experts:

Annie Collier s a 5th year PhD student in the department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on stress responses in human skin, particularly those related to UVB irradiation and how skin cells form various layers of the epidermis.


Dr. Jeana Jorgensen teaches anthropology, folklore, and gender studies at Butler University. Her research centers around the body in folklore, STis in culture, gender and sexuality in narrative, body art, the history of sex education and dance.


Laura Black and Gerrit Verplank are tattoo artists at Firefly Tattoo.

Laura is a self-taught artist, forgoing art in college to earn a Master’s degree in archaeology from Purdue University. She remained involved in art though, and it was her pysanky that eventually opened the door to becoming a tattoo artist. In the beginning of 2009 she gave up her day job as an archaeologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to start her tattoo career. In 2012 she and fellow artists Dina Verplank and Gerrit Verplank went on to establish the Firefly Tattoo Collective. Laura’s art is infused with complicated designs and bright color. She loves fine detail and clean lines, and strives to bring a level of technical precision to her work.

Gerrit studied art abroad in Norfolk, England (and there might have been a bit of rugby playing), before returning to the States where he attended Indiana University (and maybe played a bit more rugby) before eventually ending up at Herron school of Art and Design. He graduated in 2004 with a BFA in general fine art, with his main focus in illustration. In 2009 Gerrit started his tattoo apprenticeship, going on to help establish Firefly Tattoo Collective with his fellow artists Laura Black and Dina Verplank in 2012.