Tattoos of HZ — Part One

Working in a creative environment, you’re bound to find at least a few people who express that creativity through tattoos. Well, here at HZ, we’ve got a fair bit more than a few.

Tattoos can be the perfect way to show off your obsession with the Little Mermaid or your once-thought-to-be soul mate. Jess Ruzz, one of HZ’s senior copywriters, said it perfectly: #WinoForever. Maybe you just really like feathers (I’m lookin’ at you, hipster with the dreamcatcher tat). Or maybe you’ve got that travel itch – #wanderlust.

I got my tattoo about 3 years ago. I had been thinking about getting one for years and was mulling over one specific idea. At that time, no image really stood out to me as something I wanted on my body for the rest of my life. But one poem from the Persian poet Hafez had always stuck with me: “Even / After / All this time / The Sun never says to the Earth / ‘You owe me.’ / Look / What happens / With a love like that, / It lights the whole sky.” I love the idea of giving unconditionally to your passion (be it hobby, career, or another person). To tie in my ethnicity, I asked a calligrapher to write out the last line (“It lights the whole sky”) for me in Persian:

Whatever the reason, as one HZer put it, never be ashamed or regret your decision: “I don’t believe in regrets, especially for tattoos. A crappy tattoo is still a tattoo worth having because it represents who you were at that time. It’s a reminder that you used to be really stupid and not think things out. And maybe, that tattoo will motivate you to be more mindful in the future” (Antoine Butler, Senior Frontend Developer).

So with that being said, time to show off some HZ ink!


Sara Carr, Receptionist

How long have you been at HZ? 6 months.

When did you get your tattoo(s)? About 2 months ago.

Why did you decide to get one? It’s a moon drawn by my sister. I got it because I’m a crazy cat lady and my cat’s name is Luna. There are three dots bottom-inside for me, my brother and sister; two dots in the top-inside for my parents. I had wanted one, and had the idea for it – so one day I just went for it.

What did your mom/dad/grandparent/most judgmental person you know say about it? No one judged me. I was scared to tell both my mom and dad (Dad the most). When I first showed him, he didn't believe it was real and kept touching it. After staring for a solid 3 minutes he said “Well… maybe I should get one too.”


Jess Ruzz, Senior Copywriter

How long have you been at HZ? 2 and a half years.

When did you get your tattoo(s)? 2011 and 2012.

Why did you decide to get them? Ask me in person, and I’ll be happy to share.

Share your experience. Inspiration, concept development, and obsession; creative brief with supporting visuals to fave artist; review and minor tweaks to design; “OMFG yes, put that on me permanently”; lie down on table, relax (better than the dentist any day), and let the endorphins kick in; plastic wrap and Aquaphor; minor peeling; love it love it love it. Repeat as needed.

Did you cry? I didn’t. But beefy-burly dude next to me (getting inked in the same fleshy tricep area as I was) whined and complained for half an hour before making an excuse and quitting, while I tried not to giggle as we approached the three-hour mark on mine. High pain threshold FTW.

Do you have a go-to? Brent at Ghost Town Odditorium in Old Ellicott City.

What did your mom/dad/grandparent/most judgmental person you know say about it? That’s what Jewish mothers are for, right? ;) But for the record, Grandma Sylvia thinks the work is gorgeous.


Laura Kovacs, Traffic Coordinator

How long have you been at HZ? 7 months.

When did you get your tattoo(s)? On my 25th birthday – about a year and a half ago.

Share your experience. I wanted to get one before I left Colorado, to remember my time there. It was my birthday, and after a few drinks, my friends egged me on, so we found a place across the street to get it done. It took all of 15 minutes. I love the snow, so a snowflake felt right.

Any words of wisdom to share? Do it sober, and make sure the placement is right.


Antoine Butler, Senior Frontend Developer

How long have you been at HZ? 4 years.

When did you get your tattoo(s)? First one was in 2001. My latest was about a month ago, and my next one is next week.

Share your experience. The first three were quick, mostly of fragile meaning. There wasn’t much pain, at least that I recall. A few – part of a double sleeve – have significant meaning: A visual ode to where I’m from (a Washington, DC, that no longer exists) and a collage of sorts for my family (the most valuable & important thing in my life).

Did you cry? Haha, hell no.

Do you have a go-to? Anyone at Raw Ink Tattoo in Gaithersburg, MD. Ask for Bobby, and tell him Antoine sent you.

Any words of wisdom to share? Embrace the pain – it builds character. Besides, nothing worth doing is easy.


Scott Hedstrom, Developer

How long have you been at HZ? 2 weeks!

When did you get your tattoo(s)? 2 years ago.

Share your experience. I traded a very talented young lady a website for a full sleeve. I did about ten 4-8 hour sessions over the course of a year. She was only 23 years old I think, and I let her freehand the design with a marker on my arm before each session. I gave her the vibe I was after, and set her free on my arm.

Why did you decide to get the tattoos? I've dedicated my life to my spiritual path, and by covering my body in these symbols, I thought that I would never be able to forget what my plan was.

Do you want more? I have some plans to do a full chest piece and some leg/back work.

What did your mom/dad/grandparent/most judgmental person you know say about it? My mom thought I joined a cult and was weirded out by it... my grandma, however, saw the deeper meaning behind what I did and respected me for it. 

Do you have any regrets? Never.


Amanda Kloos, Art Director

How long have you been at HZ? 7 years this July.

When did you get your tattoo(s)? In June 2004, a couple of days before I graduated high school.

Do you want more? I definitely want at least one more. I just haven’t pulled the trigger.

Do you have any regrets? Over 10 years later, and no regrets. I still love it every time I look at it!

Any words of wisdom to share? The person who went with me (which was my sister’s boyfriend at the time) had told me several months earlier to decide on a design and location, and then think about it for at least 6 months. If after 6 months it was something I still wanted, then I should go get it done. I thought that was really great advice.

We’ve got tons more to share, so stay tuned for the rest of the series. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to get your next (or first!) tattoo.