Tattoos of AA: Milestones in Ink

Ms. Vogenthal’s Body Art


Photo by Danny Packer

Lynn Zhang ’23

Ms. Ilana Vogenthaler, a member of the math department, known to students as Ms. V, got her first tattoo when she was 23. “I wanted to be reminded of important things in my life by seeing them everyday,” she said when asked about her first tattoo, the word “Patience” wrapped around her ankle. “I got it to remind myself to be patient with myself and others.”
The second tattoo Ms. V got is an image of two owls, one on each foot, perched on a branch that stretches across her two feet. The two owls represent her son and daughter, Koen and Amira Vogenthaler. “They are wise souls that guide my footsteps,” she said. The third tattoo she got is an X-ray of a lotus flower on

By Lynn Zhang ’23

her right arm. Since lotus flowers normally grow in mud, Ms. V compared them to how the most beautiful things in life are the ones that thrive in difficult situations. Something as beautiful as the lotus can grow out of something so unlike itself, just as miracles can grow out of misery. She chose to have an x-ray of a lotus flower instead of just a lotus flower because, she says, “X-rays symbolize transparency [and I want to] live life genuinely and transparently.”

Photo Courtesy of Ilana Vogenthaler

The fourth tattoo Ms. V got depicts the last three stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Her husband has the first three stages,from caterpillar to cocoon, on his right arm and she has the last three stages, from cocoon to butterfly, on her left arm. This represents the love she and her husband share for the people around them, from the moment they met to now, even after all the changes they have been through .

Lynn Zhang ’23

Her fifth and final tattoo, the only colored tattoo she has, is of a tiger lily. Ms. V’s Chinese zodiac sign is the tiger, and her favorite flower is the lily, hence she chose the tiger lily. “Lilies come back every year, [so] every year and every day is a chance to bloom and grow in a different way,” she said. Ms. V got all of her tattoos done in Albuquerque\; three were done by Erickson Linn and two were done at Fine Line Tattoo. At the end of our discussion, Ms. V said, “Tattoos aren’t to be taken lightly because they will become a permanent part of your body [and they take a lot of] thoughtful preparation.”