โš“๐ŸŒน๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿฆ‰โค๐Ÿ€๐Ÿพโžผ๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ‘‘โˆž๐ŸŽตโœžโญ
April 15, 2019 1:20 PM   Subscribe

A tattoo is a decision you have to live with for the rest of your life. But what about after that?

Save My Ink Forever preserves tattoos after death in a process that leaves them looking like parchment.
posted by jacquilynne (39 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's actually super rad, a lovely memento of those who have passed.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:23 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, I was just thinking about this. I'm in the midst of getting a big tattoo on one forearm, and meditating a lot on what it means to buy and, to some extent, become art in this way. I like the idea that my tattoos will die with me, that they will stop when I do. But this is really interesting to read about, and I can see it really answering a need for others.
posted by kalimac at 1:24 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


I kinda like that tattoos arent really forever (any more than any living thing is), and that they change and fade with time. . . but i guess im glad shes getting what she wants also, diffrn't strokes and all.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:25 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


A previous post about a similar service.
posted by misteraitch at 1:27 PM on April 15


I've done some tattoos for friends, one of whom died recently. It was a shock learning of his death, even though we'd never been close, but I wasn't prepared for how much it shocked me again, later, when I realized that not only was he gone, but also, those tattoos were now gone from this world. It's weird the things that catch on you when you lose someone.
posted by ITheCosmos at 1:34 PM on April 15 [10 favorites]


I want a tattoo but can't decide on anything I'd want to wear for the rest of my life. I even went to a tattoo-con and couldn't pull the trigger.

Maybe I have nothing I need to say that badly? Maybe I just haven't thought hard enough?

Is there an antifa tattoo? Maybe I could do that?
posted by sjswitzer at 1:40 PM on April 15


tattootaxidermy
posted by JenThePro at 1:43 PM on April 15


jesus christ
posted by ouke at 2:01 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


Whatever happened to just sticking some silly putty on it and peeling off a copy?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:05 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Maybe I have nothing I need to say that badly? Maybe I just haven't thought hard enough?

let me submit from my observation of multiply tattooed friends that you may actually be thinking about it too hard and treating it with too much gravity
posted by Gymnopedist at 2:09 PM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Roald Dahl wrote a short story called Skin about this very concept! Though in that case the skin was, er, an involuntary contribution.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:09 PM on April 15 [8 favorites]


Just glad my grandparents didnโ€™t do this.
posted by Segundus at 2:23 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


Kids! Get bad, poorly thought-out tattoos so that nobody tries to skin you after you're dead because your tattoos are so cool. Do you want to face your psychostasia with a big patch of skin missing? The heck you do.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:24 PM on April 15


If I were to get a tattoo, I think I'd like to think of it as a deliberately temporary thing that won't outlast my life. Kind of like how some Buddhist monks make the crazily intricate mandalas out of sand and then sweep them up as soon as they're finished. Then again, I'm not the tattoo artist.
posted by Defective_Monk at 2:25 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


One of my tattoos is the sigil of the 'realm' I'm part of in my LARPfull-contact medieval combat sport. After I got the tattoo done, I sent a picture to the creator. His texted response:

WHAT
HOLY SHIT
IS THAT
MY ART
ON YOUR SKIN?

At the time, I told him he could have it back when I was done with it. Now I know I can make that happen in the creepiest way possible! YAY!
posted by hanov3r at 2:25 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


You know, I like to think that I'm pretty open-minded about death rituals, but it turns out that framed human skin as home decor might just be a bridge too far for me. And I say that as someone who has visited and enjoyed the Mutter Museum. Different strokes for different folks, I guess!
posted by bowtiesarecool at 2:43 PM on April 15 [7 favorites]


let me submit from my observation of multiply tattooed friends that you may actually be thinking about it too hard and treating it with too much gravity

Quite possibly! Really, the only issue is the rest of my life (notwithstanding the taxidermy aspect of this thread).

And, FWIW, the rest of my life is maybe 30 years, give or take. So there's that.

A tattoo isn't all that, but it it is a statement. Somehow the statement I want to make is both more important than I can imagine at this moment and not worth a 30 year commitment. That is on me, but whatever... I cannot find that exact statement.

I wish I could.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:43 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Pretty cool if that's your thing. I'm taking mine to the grave to show something off to The Devil.
posted by East14thTaco at 2:53 PM on April 15 [9 favorites]


If you come across what you want, youโ€™ll know it. Draw on yourself in pen or sharpie, even if itโ€™s not accurate. If it feels like an โ€œah yes that was meant to be thereโ€ youโ€™ve found it.

I had 20 years between my 1st and 2nd. Less than 2 between 2nd and 3rd.

None are regrets and the most recent two are things I either designed myself or had some create for me. (The first is a word.)

Not everyone needs a tattoo. Itโ€™s ok if you donโ€™t. You can always get a temporary one!
posted by sio42 at 2:54 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


I want a tattoo but can't decide on anything I'd want to wear for the rest of my life. I even went to a tattoo-con and couldn't pull the trigger.

I've had the same problem. Almost everyone I know has tattoos. I've been a barista, and a bar tender a bouncer, a gutter punk, a raver, and even a dirty kid and I have none. I often know at least one working tattoo artist in my life and could likely call in freebies or discounts. There's even at least two people out there with my art tattooed on them and that's even super extra weird to me.

I'm down with tattoos and think they're fascinating and I like hearing people's stories about them.

One thing I learned early on in my life is that my tastes can change so fast that stuff I was into even last year might not mean the same things to me any more. And if I would have had all the tattoos I'd ever thought of, I'd probably have UV-reactive invisible circuit traces on my face and barcodes and other weird 90s industrial kitsch.

Or later, geometrics, sacred geometry, psychedelia and optical art and stuff.

Today I'm thinking more in terms of very small/fine linework, like maybe a synthesizer oscillator circuit diagram, a resistor symbol and maybe a couple of personally meaningful molecules and reminder symbols.

I kind of want one on the inside of one of my wrists that simply reads "drink H20" or somehow reminds me to drink water and take care of myself better. If I have a big effort thing like a bike ride or music gig I will sometimes carefully write that on my wrist and cover it in a bit of tegaderm so it stays until I take it off.

And all that being said if someone wants to tattoo me and tan my hide and make a wallet or art project or something out of me after I'm done with this flesh prison I'm in to it. A book cover, camera case or a really nice pair of hiking boots or walking shoes would be appropriate, or perhaps a nice bicycle seat or handlebar grips. How about a flogger?
posted by loquacious at 3:14 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


The only thing about this I don't really understand (besides tattoos in general but I've accepted that they exist and people like them so whatever) is what did they use to experiment on when designing the process? The only thing I can think of is buying pig skin from a butcher? Is that possible? I don't think it'd be ethical to experiment on a corpse unless the family consented and who would consent to that if the final product was an unknown? Like maybe one or two but how would you get enough?
posted by bleep at 3:15 PM on April 15


The only thing about this I don't really understand (besides tattoos in general but I've accepted that they exist and people like them so whatever) is what did they use to experiment on when designing the process? The only thing I can think of is buying pig skin from a butcher? Is that possible?

I know apprentice tattoo artists practice on pig skin, so this seems plausible to me.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:18 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Are lasers involved, not that it matters.
posted by clavdivs at 3:19 PM on April 15


Maybe I have nothing I need to say that badly? Maybe I just haven't thought hard enough?

let me submit from my observation of multiply tattooed friends that you may actually be thinking about it too hard and treating it with too much gravity


Not everyone needs a tattoo. But I find tattoos to be a tangible symbol of...a lot of things really. Life, the lack of it, how people fit into society. It's one of those things that will probably be really different for different people, but for me it seemed like such a huge deal (in the mid 80's when they weren't quite the same thing) beforehand and immediately after laughing at how it really wasn't and how much I'd wound myself up over it.

Don't get something clever, trendy, something that's going to make your friends laugh for a couple of days. Or do. You'll be dead soon anyway.
posted by bongo_x at 3:44 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


You can do what I did: wait until you're sixty to get inked. No regrets.
posted by kozad at 3:50 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


WHAT
HOLY SHIT
IS THAT
MY ART
ON YOUR SKIN?


That was pretty much my reaction. The first one was... a regrettably Corel-Draw looking zodiac symbol someone requested.

The other was one of my optical art designs and it was actually really weird seeing it on skin, and I remember it was well done and that only made it weirder. I even had warning and they asked permission and everything. Sheepishly, I don't actually remember who it was. It might have even been a MeFite from a long time ago or another internet friend? I can't remember if I ever saw it in person.
posted by loquacious at 3:56 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


My tattoo might make a nice scarf. I never thought about that before....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:01 PM on April 15


And all that being said if someone wants to tattoo me and tan my hide and make a wallet or art project or something out of me after I'm done with this flesh prison I'm in to it. A book cover, camera case or a really nice pair of hiking boots or walking shoes would be appropriate, or perhaps a nice bicycle seat or handlebar grips. How about a flogger?
posted by loquacious at 6:14 PM on April 15


And that, ladies and gentlemen - is *the best* post-mortem planning you could possibly make. Explicit wishes, customized gifts... and really - who is going to part with an extremely thoughtful gift (which is quite literally from you)? I mean... I can imagine, the right wallet everybody will fight over, but... who exactly do you know who would not only appreciate but use the 'flogger'? And... do you like that person, or not... and... before you give it to them... do you tell them, or just explicitly get it made, then give them the final product... I mean... clearly get a great lawyer and executor - because... wow... yeah. I may remember that one.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:47 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


It oddly strikes me, as a part time interior designer, that humans seem naturally disposed to wanting animal skins, heads, racks, stuffed corpses etc displayed or used in their homes. Many are disposed to buying skins of animals as receptacles for their stuff.

Iโ€™m sure it is not only an aesthetic leaning, or an evolutionary hangover from needing animal parts to survive, but a primal, atavistic desire to bring animal worship (?) or some kind of spiritual attachment to preserving special body parts of other creatures. People keep urns of their belovedsโ€™ ashes all the time.

The Catholic Church has preserved human body parts like fingers for display and veneration, as have many other religions. Whole bodies are mummified for public viewing (eg Lenin) for decades of viewing. The colonizing praxis also pickled body parts for display and to whet the metropolesโ€™ curiosity about the Other. Thereโ€™s only a few places in the world where death is ritualized as an endeavor in total erasure and de-attachment.

So I guess Iโ€™m thinking this skin preservation seems like a very human thing to choose as a ritual.
posted by honey-barbara at 6:10 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


sio42 > If you come across what you want, youโ€™ll know it. Draw on yourself in pen or sharpie, even if itโ€™s not accurate. If it feels like an โ€œah yes that was meant to be thereโ€ youโ€™ve found it.

Can concur, this is what happened when I decided I wanted some dragon wings, made a template, and had my boyfriend Sharpie them onto my arms. I was really sad to see them fade off over successive showers. It took me a few years to decide exactly what to put in the huge silhouettes, but once I decided on "Kirby cosmic energy swirls" I found myself a tattooist within weeks.

I don't think I'd mind having it flayed off my corpse and displayed at all.
posted by egypturnash at 9:28 PM on April 15


I wouldn't be comfortable with encountering this at all. If this feels right with someone, more power to them, but I'd be squicked out and not be able to enjoy my tea at all if this were hanging in their living room while I visited. Probably to the extent that I'd always avoid going there after that, preferring to meet in public our at my place.

And anyway, isn't part of the properties of tattooing as art the context the person provides? I would imagine a good photographer could capture more of the essence than, ahem, this process.

Hmm, seems like I've found the context where I'm the prude...
posted by Harald74 at 1:21 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I've been working as a tattooer for 13 years, and this is the first time I've seen skin preservation offered to the public (there are preserved tattooed skins in museums in Japan)! They seem to do a good job, frankly the preserved tattoos looked more vivid and crisp than the actual living tattoo would. I wonder if the process of preservation makes this happen?

To each their own of course, but I do like the idea of the tattoo lasting as long as the person does. That makes it uniquely theirs, you know? I still remember the first client of mine that died; a girl named Annais who was hit by a falling tree while working at a summer camp. I had come in to tattoo a hummingbird for her on my day off since she was leaving for camp. She was gone not a month later.
In another method of memory preservation and tribute I redid the design to be tattooed on her loved ones after her passing.
posted by evelvenin at 2:35 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


"A book cover, camera case..."

Something like this perhaps?
posted by Paul Slade at 5:28 AM on April 16


Never saw the point of tattoos. Ever.

I must be old.
posted by fordiebianco at 7:55 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Never saw the point of tattoos. Ever.

I must be old.


Unless you're many, many thousands of years old, tattoos presumably pre-date you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:01 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


I don't find this weird at all. I'm strangely unattached to most things people seem attached to, and rather attached to most things people don't give 2 thoughts to. I can't say I'd want this from any of my loved ones with tattoos, a reminder of loss of that magnitude would probably make me practically useless for years and years after. But the idea of human skin on display doesn't bother me. I would most likely enjoy seeing it, if it were people I like (artists, public figures) but didn't mourn over
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:34 AM on April 16


I watched a very scary movie/show about this as a child....a man whose tattoos were so well known or so great that someone wanted them off him- and obviously he had to be dead to have that happen. Maybe tales of the unexpected or a similar show? It stayed with me for a long time!
posted by bquarters at 6:18 PM on April 16


in a process that leaves them looking like parchment.

Parchment is skin.
Here's how it's made (from sheep skin).
posted by ikahime at 7:18 AM on April 17


Wow I'm mostly interested in the legality...is keeping preserved human remains like this ok all over? I am not concerned for anyone just curious how these items are classified.
posted by agregoli at 3:07 PM on April 18


« Older The Half Decent Football Magazine   |   Spira, Spera - Victor Hugo Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.