• May 29, 2020
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Whether their purpose is strictly artistic, deeply emotional, or designed to tell a story, tattoos paint a picture on the most unique canvas of all: the human body. Each drop of ink that hits the skin becomes a permanent part of someone’s life. While some tattoos are acquired on a whim, others provide a visual means of telling one’s life story. 

For Darby Bowman, a Leesville senior, tattoos are all about symbolism. “I love the beach, and I’m more of a go-with-the-flow person, so my wave tattoo was a go,” said Bowman. “The palm tree on my other wrist symbolizes strength and wisdom.” Sporting these opposing symbols on opposite wrists, Bowman feels as if these two images define both primary sides of her personality. Many tattoos like Bowman’s are more than meets the eye–simple images that seem meaningless on the surface can wield profound meaning to the wearer. Regardless, Bowman wants more tattoos, if for no other reason than she “loves the art.”

While anyone can appreciate the visually appealing nature of symbolism tattoos, some prefer a more direct approach to body art. “For my seventeenth birthday, I went up to Virginia with my mom, and we got matching tattoos,” said David Sohn, a senior at Leesville. “The top part of my tattoo says ‘faith’ and the bottom says ‘family,’ and it’s written in Korean to honor my Father’s heritage.” Deep, powerful, and profoundly meaningful to a tight knit family with strong religious ties–all of this, found in a small patch of ink. “I think my mom wants to make it a whole family thing eventually. My sister is going to try to get one soon,” said Sohn. This family will forever share the values they hold dearest and will wear it on their sleeves until they leave this world. 

Regardless of meaning, design, or purpose, tattoos can be used to transcribe one’s life story through blood and ink. The human body provides an incredible and distinctly unique canvas for people to display their body art to the world. These permanent marks are incredible–no two are quite the same–and popping up more and more due to their increasing social acceptance. Tattoos are not for everyone, but once you find something significant enough to wear on your body forever, it might be worth a try. 

David Sohn poses in the student parking lot with his forearm tattoo on full display. “Faith” and “family” are the two values Sohn holds dearest in life, and now they are forever on display. (Photo used by permission of David Sohn)

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