Pats with tats

Everyone has a story. Oftentimes, you read or listen to other people’s stories. However, there’s one more popular way to share stories: art. While some people choose to put that art on a canvas or paper, others choose to make their skin their canvas. Whether the art represents a personal story or a random one, tattoos have been a popular artistry for hundreds of years. We’ve decided to see how Liberty—from students to staff—has used this art form for themselves. Here are five Patriots and their unique tattoo stories.

Olivia Briggs and Nicole Treece

Colby Van Ry

“After COVID-19, I was diagnosed with bipolar and depression and was really struggling,” senior Colby Van Ry said. “I started going to church, which helped a lot. So I decided to get a biblical tattoo.”

This tattoo—when finished—will be a sleeve covering Van Ry’s entire left arm. Currently, his tattoo is about three-quarters of the way completed. It contains multiple biblical allusions, including a Seraph, the Archangel, and soon, the Leviathan. A Seraph is the highest-ranking angelic being, consisting of six wings and, in Van Ry’s piece, a single eye as a body. This resides on his upper shoulder. Below that is the Archangel, the angel of the lowest rank, portraying a human with wings. Soon, the Leviathan will be placed, a multi-headed sea serpent, completing the sleeve. 

“I have two more sessions left, and I already have put ten hours into it,” Van Ry said. “I’ve done a six-hour session and a four-hour session. It hurts a lot more than I thought it was going to.”

Even through the hours of pain, Van Ry is committed to finishing the sleeve. And he doesn’t plan to stop there. 

Van Ry is getting his tattoo done at Slave to the Needle in Seattle, which charges around $200 an hour. While he does plan on getting more tattoos, the price can be a barrier.

“This has taken all my money,” Van Ry said. “But I’ve wanted a biblical tattoo for a long time. This is the perfect opportunity.”

Ella Moore 

“I wanted to have a simple tattoo that would be an encouraging reminder to me and held meaning behind it,” senior Ella Moore said.

On Moore’s left upper arm sits the Roman numerals 58:12:1-14, symbolizing one of her favorite passages from the Bible.

“The 58 is for the 58th book of the Bible, Hebrews, and the 12:1-14 is the chapter and verses,” Moore said. “It talks about the importance of endurance and discipline in life to help grow you.”

Moore had been wanting this tattoo for years and took the plunge during her vacation to Maui.

“I did it on a whim and even ended up switching the placement of where I wanted it the day before,” Moore said.

Despite what she considers a hasty decision, Moore loves her tattoo and has aspirations for more.

“It ended up going great,” Moore said. “The next one I want to get is a flower bouquet design on the outside of the same arm.”

Kai Falavigna

“My tattoo is inspired by my Italian heritage and my lucky number, eight, which is also my birthday,” Junior Kai Falavigna said.

On Falavigna’s thigh, the Roman olive branch sits with eight in Roman numerals, VIII, in the middle.

“I designed it. I had seen the olive branch before, but put it all together myself,” Falavigna said.

After the design was completed, Falavigna went to Idaho to have it tattooed right above his knee.

“I wish I could say I had thought about it, but it was a little impulsive,” Falavniga said. “I was supposed to get it in California, but that didn’t happen so I got it once we came back.” 

The tattooing process was similar to most: painful, but rewarding.

“It hurt a little bit, I can’t lie,” Falavigna said. “I’ve wanted a tattoo forever and I’m glad I got it.”

Mr. Woffinden

“The first one I got was when I first enlisted in the Air Force,” computer science teacher Jeffrey Woffinden said. “We all went out one night and a bunch of guys were getting tattoos, so I was like, ‘Yeah! I’ll get an eagle with USA on it.’”

Before enlisting in the military, Woffinden never thought about getting a tattoo, but parlors surrounded the military bases he visited.

“The other tattoos I got were in Germany after I thought my arm looked a little uneven,” Woffinden said.

Woffinden’s arm is adorned with a fierce wolf and a pegasus.

“While I was getting the wolf, I saw the pegasus and thought, “oh, that one looks cool” so I got it,” Woffinden said.

This may be the end of Wolffinden’s tattoo journey, unless he can find the perfect fit for him and his wife.

“My wife and I want matching tattoos, but I’m waiting to find the right design,” Woffinden said.

Heather Gow

“My tattoo is on my right side and it’s a ‘17’ for my friend Max, who passed away,” junior Heather Gow said. “I got the tattoo representing him.” 

Many people would go for tattooing the name of the person they are commemorating. What led Gow to her unique 17?

“He was 17 when he passed away, so I got the tattoo when I was 17. His birthday also adds up to 17,” Gow said.

Gow herself is 17, but you can only get tattooed when you’re 18 in Washington.

“I got it done in Kansas because you can’t get tattoos before you’re 18 here in Washington, so when I went on a trip with my mom I got it there,” Gow said.

Gow’s tattooing process was simple.

“I found a font and the guy wrote it out and I asked for it to be a little bit bigger, then he put it on and tattooed it,” Gow said.

Even though this was only her first tattoo, Gow has plans for multiple more.

“Now I really like them and I want to get another one,” Gow said. “I want my mom’s signature behind my ear, the coordinates of my house on the side of my wrist, because I’m going to move out eventually, and I don’t know what I want on my ankle yet.”