Tattoos are pretty common these days and with three in ten Americans now using their bodies as living canvases, it's perhaps a little less surprising that some companies now offer the option to preserve your inked art forever.
One such company, Walls and Skin, preserves dead people's tattoos that can then be donated to the Foundation for the Art and Science of Tattooing. Another company, The National Association For The Preservation Of Skin Art (NAPSA), is an organization with membership fees that will arrange for your tattoos to be collected, maintained, and given to your loved ones posthumously.
There are many reasons why one would be interested in tattoo preservation. Some people have meaningful tattoos that are dedicated to family and friends. Some have spent a fortune on body art and don't want their investment wasted. Still others are simply proud of their body pieces and want it to be on display for mass consumption. Whatever the reason, we now have the option to let our tattoos live on. Of course, there are probably a lot of people who wouldn't want their ink to outlive them but that is another list entirely.
Here are some pictures of preserved tattoos, along with an explanation of how it's possible to undertake the feat.
You Can Become A Member And Pay Fees For Your Tattoo Preservation
NAPSA charges a $115 activation payment and an annual renewal fee of $60. As long as you pay all of your dues, you're entitled to the preservation of one tattoo. There are additional charges to preserve additional tattoos, though, so choose wisely.
They Send Your Funeral Home A Kit For The PreservationPhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
When you join the organization, you fill out paperwork stating who you'd like to receive your ink. Please don't forget to tell the recipient about the gift, though, because it's their responsibility to contact the organization and let them know of your passing so arrangements can be made. The company then sends the funeral home a kit with tools the embalmer can use to remove the tattooed skin.
Your Skin Gets A Chemical Bath
The funeral home then sends the skin to NAPSA, or another tattoo preservation company of your choosing. This process is, in part, so simple because a group of embalmers, doctors, and tattoo artists worked with NAPSA to find the best way to preserve tattooed skin. They decided a non-toxic chemical bath was the best route to prevent decomposition and protect the art.
The Company Sends Your Loved One The Tattoo
After the chemical bath, it takes about three months for your loved one to receive the freshly-framed tattooed skin.