This white tattoo was born over six years ago in London and has endured some of the world's most intense sun...places like Dubai, Bermuda and Nigeria (just to name a few):
To all the haters who still pout about the legitimacy of the mighty white tattoo, we lovingly say "Suck it!"
If you follow my socmed you know that I was all up in Personal Ink's twelve-city 10.10 event to cover mastectomy scars this past Friday. While it was an absolutely invigorating, exciting experience to work with a national network of organizers to perform what something neither the AMA nor the tattoo industry have ever accomplished (that is the bringing together on a grand scale mastectomy scars with people who are actually qualified to re-invision post-operative scarring) I could not help but be subdued by the underlying gravitas of the work.
Tattooing has been traditionally the visual church of those with little left to lose. For the soldier shipping off to war, the prisoner barely seeing the light of day, the tattoo was that last swing from the microcosm of What Matters...mom...baby...the unconditional love of the Red Nose we'll never see again. These are a few of our favorite things.
Mastectomy patients are not generally people who were inclined in their former life to reach out to tattoo for their self-expression. However in their new life as survivors --as warriors who have faced down fear, hairless chemotherapy and mutilation --they come to us with ready chests to be decorated with the rewards of their passion for life. Medals of Phoenix, flowers, dramatic flourishes and yes, even cats. These are people who are unafraid to bare all. However it is we see them, like any tattooed warrior, the mirror that once held their savage history now shows them their preciously personalized future.
There was a sudden stink about tattoo ink last month when the FDA issued a warning about an obscure brand of tattoo ink that had used tap water as a carrier, which caused an inordinate amount of bacteria to build up in the bottles and cause infections at the site of the tattoo. The problem is that the FDA issued a blanket statement covering ALL tattoo inks as potentially infectious. Since I'm sponsored by one of the world's greatest ink manufacturers, and is one of only two inks in the the US that uses gamma irradiation to blast the heck out of any bogies that might've been present before the ink was zapped, I was compelled to blog about the whole colorful discussion and dye-hard prejudices. There's a lot of great information out there from tattoo-friendly chemists interested in demystifying tattoo ingredients, so for further reading check out these sites: Chemistry Is Life , Tattoo Ink Chemistry and the ACS undergraduate blog (ironically called) Reactions
It's the end of summer and I am launching my annual tour this year with an ono work trip to Waikiki Beach and Electric Paradise Tattoo. If you're up on my Instagram, you've seen me pal around Europe and the US with my dear globe-trotting homegirl Peggy Jordan, who owns EPT along with Hawaiian heavyweight Makua Annon, who specializes in that Polynesian style we all know and openly lust after.
I'll be holding it down with the team for a two-week guest artist spot, so you have plenty of time to buy your ticket, rent your little grass shack and quit your job. We'll figure the rest out when you get here.
Banner photo of ALex McCord and Friday Jones courtesy of Eddie Garou ©2012