Have you ever thought about what happens to your tattoos when you die? If you assumed they got buried along with everything else, you're not thinking big enough, but don't worry — the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art, a.k.a. Save My Ink, has got you covered. The nonprofit preserves your tattoos after you die, which you can leave to your least squeamish family members as a way to remember you. Or, alternatively, you could leave it to your most squeamish family members, because the looks on their faces would be absolute gold even if you aren't around to enjoy them. Take your pick.
Founded just last week by Charles Hamm, Save My Ink has already preserved 21 tattoos using a chemical process that keeps the art from decaying, the Daily Mail reports. It may seem macabre to some, but Hamm told the Mail that leaving your tattoos behind is akin to passing down a wedding ring or priceless work of art. "Your tattoo is also art with a unique story, just on a different canvas," he said, pointing out that he has spent thousands of dollars and more than 150 hours on his tattoos to date. He added that like many, his tattoos have "deep meaning" for him.
Hamm developed the process used to preserve the tattoos by practicing on loose skin he saved from a weight loss surgery, and so far it has kept the tattoos with 100 percent accuracy. To sign up for the process, all you have to do is become a member of NAPSA, pay an activation fee of $115, and make an annual renewal payment of $60 afterward. The important part comes after you've passed away, when your appointed beneficiary is required to notify NAPSA within 18 hours. Once notified, NAPSA sends a removal kit to the funeral home, and voila! Three to six months later, your loved ones have beautifully-preserved skin art to remember you by.
"The gorilla on my chest represents me guarding my wife, so that is obviously going to her. My grandson designed one of my lizard tattoos, so he will receive that," Hamm explained to the Mail.
Considering that tattoos are becoming increasingly mainstream, it's not surprising that some would want their body art to live on after death — and make no mistake, tattoos can absolutely be art. OK, maybe not the rainbow dolphin I had to be talked out of getting tattooed on my bicep during spring break in college, but you get the idea. We can't all be Rick Genest.
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