Home Life and Arts Alkek finds a home on alumnus’ arm

Alkek finds a home on alumnus’ arm

A former student had Alkek Library tatooed on his arm.
Photo courtesy of Tara Spies Smith.

From the beginning of the semester to finals, Alkek library becomes a second home to students. One Texas State alumnus has taken the extra step to show how important Alkek is to him.

Alkek hosted their first Tattoo Design Contest in fall 2017. The winner would gain the opportunity to place their favorite book with their design in the library’s permanent collection. There were five submissions of designs and a total of 500 votes.

In October, it was announced that Valeria Sanmiguel, communication design junior, was the contest winner. Her design showcased a nighttime image of Alkek, featuring Old Main and gaillardia flowers surrounding it. Sanmiguel said she originally sketched the image before transferring it to digital.

Her design was made into stickers, and she was able to choose a library book to place it in. Her book selection was Michelangelo by Claudio Gamba; it is a collection of Michelangelo’s art work.

Travis Wright, Texas State alumnus, said when he heard about Alkek’s Tattoo Design Contest he felt inspired to put the winning design on his body. Wright is no stranger to tattoos, having collectively 36 hours of tattoo art on his body.

Wright said he has loved libraries and books since he was a child and could not think of a better library to place on his body than Alkek. He said Alkek is special to him because of the amount of time he spent there while as a student at Texas State. An essay Wright published in Texas Philosophical lies within Alkek as well.

“For years I have been wanting a library tattoo, and I could never figure out what to get,” Wright said. “I thought it would be really cool to have a library tattoo of the one I care about most.”

Wright said he shared his tattoo with the Alkek Tattoo Design Contest staff and they were more than thrilled with the outcome.

Megan Ballengee, expanded services library assistant, said the tattoo contest was a way for the library to connect with students and allow them to inspire each other.

“We were hopeful (someone may get the tattoo), but it was still a surprise that (Wright got it),” Ballengee said. “We were all delighted after all of our work that went into this, something really positive and unexpected came out of it.”

Sanmiguel said when she was informed Wright had got a tattoo of her winning design, she was excited and eager to meet the stranger who loved her art. The library arranged a time and day they would be able to meet and take pictures together.

The only change Wright made to the original design was adding color rather than keeping it black and white. Sanmiguel told Wright she loved the tattoo and had always imagined her design with color.

“When someone gets something you created into their skin forever that means a lot; it is an honor,” Sanmiguel said. “This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”

Sanmiguel said she loves creating art and is now looking at completing more tattoo designs in the future after this experience.

Ballangee said the library could host future tattoo design competitions, but for now, the library staff is happy with the success of their first contest.


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