Gambier Ink: Tattoos Around Campus, Part XVI

Teddy Hannah-Drullard ’20

“My goal is to one day be covered in tattoos I’ve designed; right now I’m at two. This tattoo is the most recent—I designed it and got it done over Spring Break my sophomore year (I have no clue where the final drawing went, but I managed to find one of the preliminary sketches on my art account on Instagram). (That’s a plug.) 

My mom only has two rules when it comes to tattoos. The first, and I agree, is that it must be thoughtfully and meticulously designed. For both of my tattoos, I worked on thumbnails and rough sketches for at least two weeks before making a final drawing. Mom’s second rule is that each tattoo has to be uniquely, personally symbolic—I disagree. I think art can be profound in and of itself, and a person’s commitment to permanently exhibiting art on their body is meaningful enough, whether or not that art has a “deeper” message.

What I told my mom was that this tattoo was a tribute to my Quaker faith, that the brain was a symbol for mindfulness, the heart for openness, the ginkgo leaves for memory. That was for her, but the truth is that this design just looked like it would feel right on my body, and that worked for me.”


Taylor Hazan ’19 

“I have had this little red balloon on my right hip since April 2016, but I started thinking about getting it in high school. It was actually a belated 18th birthday gift from my mother (so no, not a secret Spring Break tattoo). The balloon represents my triplet sister Haley, who passed away three weeks after we were born. My family lets balloons go on our birthday every year to remember her, so I got the tattoo to honor her every other day of the year, too. She’s with me all the time, you know? The balloon reminds me to keep fighting, to keep dreaming, and to always remain thankful for the time I have on this earth.”


Cecily King ’22

“Swallows are a common bird in the countryside of the UK (where I’m from) and migrate to Africa during the cold months, flying back to Europe when the weather is warm again. I am such a spring/summer person and I used to get so excited as a child when I saw the swallows return because it was the first sign of summer. Not only is this tattoo comforting to look at in the winter, as it’s a reminder that winter won’t last forever, but it also has a metaphorical meaning. During the low moments of my life, I can look at my tattoo and know that like the seasons, things won’t be dark forever.”


Sam Grunder ’19

“For me, circles are sacred. So many metaphors and ideas are held in this tiny shape. When I look down at my wrist, seeing the tattoo grounds me and I remember to embrace the flow of life and the sacrality of existence.”

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