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Tattoo Stories: Ryan MacGibbon

For this week’s installment of Tattoo Stories, we highlight climber & tattoo artist from the cornfields of New Jersey – Ryan MacGibbon. He talks to us about his Japanese body suit.

Ryan MacGibbon, tattoo artist.
Ryan MacGibbon, tattoo artist.

What does your tattoo mean?

The first three of The Four Noble Truths. All life is suffering. The root of suffering is desire. The cessation of desire is the end of suffering. But, it’s also just a scene of our essential reality, a man in the woods.

ryan macgibbon tattoo artist

What do tattoos mean to you?

An affirmation of the impermanent nature of existence. The beauty left when death is assured. Like cherry blossoms in the spring and maple leaves in the autumn.

The workings follow Kierkegaard’s idea of a leap of faith.

As a tattooer, I see leaps in all directions, toward both material and conscious realities, some landing, some not.

macgibbon tattoo


Kiku (@kikupunk) tattooed all of it but my left arm. He works at Invisible in the LES. It’s based on a Kuniyoshi print described as “Usui Matagoro killing a giant white monkey in the mountains of Hida.”

Check out Ryan on Instagram.

Tattoos are intimately personal, and stereotypical of Brooklynites. Walking through Brooklyn Boulders, it’s more often than not you’ll see some adorned bodies climbing our walls. Each inked piece tells a story, whether it’s silly, inspirational, nostalgic, funny or just a fond memory.

BKB Tattoo Stories showcase various tattoos around our space, and the stories behind them. Get to know your community of climbers a little more than skin-deep. All photos by Koji Ishibashi. 

If you have a particular story you’d like to share – get in touch with