Tattoo Stories: From Meaning to Memories

Aug 14, 2015Brooklyn Boulders

Gavin Heverly is a Renaissance man, athlete, and straight edge. Which doesn’t stop him from having a great time: the proof is in the ink.

“In general, my tattoos are about the experience and the artwork – when I first started getting tattooed, I used to pay a lot of attention and felt like my tattoo had to have some super deep meaning, that my tattoos had to be profound in someway… but now so many of my tattoos are like, pretty spontaneous. I have party shark on my leg, which is a shark wearing sunglasses I got in Florida three weeks ago – it was on a whim and now it’s a memory. My friend Tara got a pineapple with sunglasses on her wrist.


I like to get tattooed when I travel – there are so many ridiculously talented artists out there, that I just really like to tattoo with when I travel. I like to try to find a tattoo artist, in Brooklyn, Denver, Boulder, Florida, NYC, Boston, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.


Black sheep, it’s the words ‘out of step’ taken directly out of the ‘Minor Threat Album’ — I got these on the 20 year anniversary of me being drug-free and sober when I was 35 years old. I drank and did drugs pretty young (age 10)  and when I was 15, I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was a skateboarder at the time – I was hanging with the wrong crowd – popping pills and being a dick . I had a couple of friends who were skaters who were straight edge. I hadn’t really heard of that before, but it was a definition.


I’m still straight edge to this day. That was 23 years ago. The arrows are a traditional sign of like strength unanimity and solidarity.

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 us:

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