Purple Box: Inked Ephs

People want to find ways to express themselves. Most do so through changing their clothing style or trying out a new hairstyle. However, some students opt for something a little more enduring. These unique Ephs chose for just that – a physical, permanent stamp of expression to show their individual passions. For these students, tattoos aren’t merely an accessory or a form of decoration on their bodies. In fact, all of the tattoos have a special significance to the proud Ephs sporting them.

Ryan Scott ’12

When Scott’s roommate came back from winter break with his first tattoo, Scott knew that he wanted to have one done as well. It was 2006, after his first season of playing hockey in Indianapolis. The design took him a while to think up, as Scott admits he has “zero artistic talent.” He wanted to incorporate the three things he loves: Montana – his home state – the Rocky Mountains and hockey. He ended up bringing an outline of the state of Montana and a silhouette of a hockey player to the tattoo artist, “a one-man operation in Wisconsin that my buddy had recommended,” who “drew it up perfectly on his first try in less than a minute.” Scott wasn’t the only one getting inked that day. Some “regulars” were hanging around the parlor, “guys just covered with ink.” Scott’s final tattoo is an outline of Montana surrounding a mountain range and blue sky, with a hockey player above the state. It reminds Scott of his childhood home and the sport that he loves most.

Veronica Rabelo ’11

Rabelo got her first tattoo, a laughing Buddha on her inner forearm with “relax” written over it, after graduating from high school. Her mom told her it would serve as “a permanent reminder to calm down and savor the moment.” She deliberated over the design for this tattoo for over a year before finally choosing to have it done. The actual experience wasn’t very painful, especially since the tattoo artist kept taking cigarette breaks during the process, giving Rabelo time to recover from the sensation that she compares to “getting stung by a hundred bees in the same spot or applying a ton of pressure to a sunburn.” Embracing her Puerto Rican heritage, she chose a Taíno petroglyph resembling a sun for her second tattoo, and her third tattoo used two lines from a poem by José Martí, a Cuban revolutionary poet. For Rabelo, her tattoos serve as reminders of her half Puerto Rican and half Cuban heritage. She considers them works of art and believes they help her recall moments of her life and remind her of the person that she is.

Taylor Fitzgerald ’12

For Fitzgerald, getting a tattoo was not a decision to be taken lightly. He considers getting a tattoo a “personal and focused” experience, which is demonstrated in the profound complexity of his most recent tattoo. Fitzgerald feels that this tattoo is a representation of his past, present and future. The three sections incorporate an orca whale and moon, an ocean with three sea creatures and a ship. The whale and moon represent Fitzgerald’s subconscious, as he identifies the orca whale as his spirit animal. The water symbolizes “the perfect form adapting to any and all environments,” he said, which reminds Fitzgerald of the kind of person he strives to be. The ship indicates the journey of life, which rises and falls like the waves of the sea. Each of the sea creatures also has meaning: “The seahorse represents magic and good luck, the starfish is love and reflective of the heavens and the eel symbolizes patience and obedience, also camouflage,” he said.

Andrew Trainor ’13

Trainor dedicated his tattoo to his favorite sport: soccer, which has been a powerful force in his life. Ultimately, Trainor decided on a tattoo that features a “large cursive ‘A’ with the number 10 in the upper corner.” The letter is chosen because it is his first initial. Trainor added the number 10 because it had been his number ever since he began playing soccer as a four-year-old. Ironically the number 10 tradition stopped once Trainor arrived at the College: “I actually wear number 25 for Williams,” he admitted. However, Trainor wants to integrate his experience playing soccer at the College into his current tattoo and thus hopes to incorporate his new number from the Williams men’s varsity soccer team into the tattoo at a later date. Luckily for Trainor, the actual process of getting inked was not nearly as painful as he expected. Reflecting back on the experience, Trainor even thought that “it felt good,” in a strange way.

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