Preserving The Tattoos Of The Dead

Image Credit Matt Bauer, Talisman Tattoos

If tattoos are art, then they should be preserved, shouldn’t they? Reuters reports on a Dutchman who is doing just that:

When Floris Hirschfeld’s mother died two years ago, he had her portrait tattooed on his back to honor her memory. One day he hopes the image, skin and all, will adorn the wall of an art collector’s home.

It might sound like a macabre Roald Dahl story, but could soon be reality with the help of a Dutch entrepreneur who has set up a business to preserve the tattoos of the dead.

“Everyone spends their lives in search of immortality and this is a simple way to get a piece of it,” Peter van der Helm, the tattoo shop owner behind the concept, said in an interview.

“Everybody with tattoos has that idea. It’s not a new idea, we just found a way to actually do it.”

Hirschfeld and about 30 other clients of the “Walls and Skin” tattoo parlor, which is tucked away in a canal house in the Dutch capital, have donated their skin to the company in a will and each paid a few hundred euros.

When they die a Dutch pathologist will remove the tattoo and freeze or package it in formaldehyde, ideally within 48 hours. It will then be sent to a laboratory outside the Netherlands, where a 12-week procedure extracts water and replaces it with silicone, leaving a rubbery substance…

[continues at Reuters]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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3 Comments on "Preserving The Tattoos Of The Dead"

  1. InfvoCuernos | Dec 31, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

    Tattoos are like sand painting-they are meant to be as transient as the meat that they adorn. When you think that tattoos are “forever”, then you are approaching your own mortality with blinders.

  2. PrimateZero | Dec 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

    I don’t understand some people’s obsession with immortality. Does he really think that saving a part of his tattooed flesh will do it for him? When your dead, your dead. I’m pretty sure nothing will matter to you after that.
    I love tattoos, I have a lot of them… but they are for me. When all is said and done and I leave this world…. they go with me. Right into the fires of the crematorium.

  3. Richard Frith | Dec 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

    “Take a picture; it’ll last longer.”
    -original attribution unknown

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