Red Cross' Tattooed Volunteer Ads
01:00 PM
Last month, Karen Day of Cool Hunting generously reviewed my Black Tattoo Art book and in doing so, also held a contest for US readers to win a free copy if they submit the name of their favorite tattoo artist and studio. Cool Hunting picked the winner at random, and that winner turned out to be someone who's adorning billboards, taxis and bus stop shelters around NYC.

Meet Ginger Sierra
: paralegal, long-time Red Cross volunteer and tattoo collector. This Sunday, you'll find Ginger at one of the Red Cross Stations in Central Park for the NYC Marathon.

Oh, and for the record, her fave tattooist pick is Craig Rodriguez of Hand of Glory Tattoo who is doing beautiful work on Ginger. She also credits Steve Boltz for restoring a lot of older work and bringing it back to life.

As Ginger is also a Brooklyn girl, I decided to meet her in person to deliver her book. She's not one to flaunt her tattoos in public easily despite the billboards, but when she does, it's a treat, with her array of butterflies and flora that adorn her back and upper arms (she's gotten more work since that Red Cross photo above was taken).

I'm writing this post for two reasons:

First, to encourage all to follow Ginger's volunteerism and donate your time to organizations like the Red Cross. A lot of us complain that tattoo stereotypes still exist. Just look at this article on whether "tattoos make you trashy," especially the comments, and see that they indeed do. But these attitudes are best fought with action, not whining. And that's exactly what people like Ginger do when they use their free time to help others.

Second, Ginger told me a cool story that showed these negative attitudes towards tattoos are changing in the workplace. When the Red Cross campaign first launched, she told her Human Resources Director at the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, noting the visible tattoos. And the response? The Chief of HR sent around a proud email to all employees of the DA's office to have them look out for the Ginger's ad. She says, "I'm a city employee. It is what it
is...truth, justice, and tattoos!"

Look out for Ginger at the marathon Sunday and look into volunteering yourself or supporting the Red Cross in many other ways. I'm considering buying their three-day emergency Go Bag, ya know, for the imminent zombie apocalypse.

The photos for the ad campaign were taken by the talented Jake Chessum.

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