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Tattoo Stories | Douglas Rogers

Douglas Rogers, BKB team member, shares the stories behind the ink under his skin.

Meet Douglas Rogers, our incredibly thoughtful and wise Assistant Operations Manager for HR and Training. Every one of his personally-designed tattoos is a tile in the mosaic of his life – a life of faith, charity, and coming full circle.


What was your first tattoo?

I got my first tattoo at 15, it says “Neis Guy” with a play on my father figure and wrestling coach, Coach Neiswender, who had recently died from cancer.

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Tell us about your body of art.

I believe around 80% of my body is covered up. I do my own tattoos and have been doing so since my early 20s. Both my arms and legs are entirely covered with allegories of the duality of life. For example, my left arm tattoos are darker, both in shade and icon, as it represents darkness, negativity, and obstruction. My right arm is lighter and represents positivity, optimism, and purity. I believe in the yin and yang, how the essence of bad exists in order for us to appreciate the good; I believe that you get your power from your right, but it’s the left that feeds the right.

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Can you give an example of “the left feeding the right”?

On my hands, I have complimentary tattoos – my left hand has an icon of a spirit/ Father Time inside of a mouth with two vacant eyes. So in order to see, I need to unlock the light, which is why I have a key by my left thumb. The key unlocks the keyhole by my right thumb, which opens the light and eyes of the spirit as seen on my right hand.

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If you have an overarching theme or message, what is it?

I have “Faith” written on my neck, because of my restored faith in humanity and myself. I used to get in trouble and when my mom passed away, I felt very lost. But I try to keep positive and do good deeds. I essentially feel that we are born good, and then along the way we hit hard times, but it’s through hard work, kindness, and learning, that we come full circle, that we become good again.

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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.

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

Douglas Rogers will be hosting our next community DIY Workshop: Self-Defense 101! Rogers is a trained and experienced martial artist, a black belt in both taekwondo and judo, and a former dojo master. Join us to learn techniques to protect yourself in situations that warrant decisive and defensive action.


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