Luis Ruiz is an international student whose tattoos are inspired by family, religion and love. Ruiz currently has five tattoos: a sparrow on his left wrist, an anchor on his right ankle, the word “Abud,” which means “son of God” in Arabic on his waist, the quote “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21) and a deer on his right shoulder.
Ruiz got his first tattoo at age 14 on a trip to Lebanon, and several of his tattoos have religious connotations.
“The way I see Luke 17:21 is telling us that there is no heaven or hell,” Ruiz said. “It´s just this life, it’s the only one, and it´s the only chance we have to build the kingdom of God within us.”
Ruiz’ most significant tattoo revolves around respect. The deer on his right shoulder symbolizes his respect for all living things.
“I was born and raised in a family that loves deer hunting, so I used to see it as just another sport,” Ruiz said. “As I grew up, I realized that you should not kill animals for entertainment – it is just an awful practice. I felt ashamed of myself, so I quit. I got the tattoo because it symbolizes the commitment that I have now to respect any kind of life. I learned how to live in harmony with others. As a gay male, I believe in acceptance of differences.”
Ruiz got his deer tattoo in Barcelona, Spain, for roughly 200 Euros, or approximately 260 U.S. dollars. According to Ruiz, the tattoo was a memorable experience, because it was also a form of celebration.
“After I got my bachelor degree in Mexico, I moved to work in Spain,” Ruiz said. “I was living many new experiences, and it was just another way to celebrate a new season in my life.”
Ruiz acknowledged the pain of getting inked is all part of the experience.
“Getting a new tattoo would not be the same without the pain; it just makes them more memorable,” he said.
Ruiz plans to get more tattoos in the future, but hasn’t decided what they will depict.
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