Thanks to a new service called ‘Save My Ink’, your tattoos can now last forever. Launched by American tattoo artist Charles Hamm, the bizarre service involves slicing inked skin off dead people and preserving it through a bunch of chemical processes.
Hamm, 60, said he got the idea for Save My Ink – a.k.a National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art (NAPSA) – when he realised how much time and money people put into their tattoos. “You would never burn a Picasso or any piece of art you invested in and had a passion for,” he explained. “Your tattoo is also art with a unique story, just on a different canvas. It’s just like a house, wedding ring, or any other cherished possession.”
“I have over 150 hours of tattoo work on me, and I have almost covered my entire upper-body, excluding my neck and face,” Hamm said. “When I was getting more tattoo work completed on my back piece, a 10,000 dollar investment, I began considering all of the money I had put into my tattoos. I had also read an article in which Johnny Depp stated his intent to have his tattoos preserved, and it all inspired me to begin fully developing Save My Ink.”
So far, the service has preserved 21 tattoos, with a 100 percent success rate. It uses a special chemical and enzymatic process to ensure that the tattoo remains intact while the skin tissue is prevented from decaying. Hamm perfected the process by practicing on tattooed bits of his own skin that were removed during plastic surgery, after he lost weight.
“I asked the plastic surgeon to mark where this procedure would take place, and then I informed him that I would have tattoos put on those spots,” Hamm said. “He removed the tattoos, the process on those pieces worked, and we were ready to go. Now, we have a growing gallery with tattoos from passed-away members.”
Membership to NAPSA costs $115, along with an annual renewal fee of $60. Only members are allowed to register for tattoo preservation, and only living people can opt for the service. After death, relatives have 18 hours to inform Save My Ink. They are then sent a removal kit with instructions, and a prepaid return packaging to the funeral home. The tattoo needs to be removed by the embalmer within 60 hours and sent back to Save My Ink. The art is then returned to the family after three to six months. Hamm says NAPSA already has several tattoos registered for preservation.
He added that the tattoos on his own body are deeply meaningful to him, and he’s arranged to preserve each one. The gorilla tattoo on his chest, for instance, represents how protective he is of his wife. “So that is obviously going to her,” he said. “My grandson designed one of my lizard tattoos, so he will receive that, and my children have tattoos registered for them to receive as well.”
For now, the service is available only in the US, but Hamm plans to expand globally at some point. “The community section of our website, which includes a photo gallery, artist profiles, and news content, features artists and work from all over the world,” he said. “People from all over the world are welcome to become a member and enjoy the other benefits our association is offering.”
Photos: Save My Ink/Facebook
via Daily Star