Photo By Jordan Denny (cropped) / Momentary Ink.
In my tattoo newsfeed this morning was this Houston Chronicle article on a start-up that let's you "test-drive a tattoo before you make it permanent." The company, Momentary Ink, essentially makes custom temporary tattoos that last 2-5 days. There are a number of companies that do this, although this one looks like they are on the higher end of the scale in terms of realism, and the temps are sweat and water resistant.
The reason I'm posting on this, though, is that the idea of "test-driving" a tattoo doesn't sit well with me. I do think that people should be sure about what they want to permanently put on their bodies -- although, if there's hesitation and a strong desire to "try it out first," maybe that commitment isn't really there at the outset.
The real problem is that the temporary tattoos are not what the actual tattoo will really look like in most cases -- whether it is right after the completion, and especially after some time has passed. If you take a look at the "Browse designs" page on the Momentary Ink site, you'll find your usual infinity symbol tattoos and feathers turning into birds design; some of these ubiquitous "Pinterest-type" tattoos may translate, but a lot of the others will not.
A temporary tattoo design overloaded with too many details and not enough negative space could be a real tattoo in which the lines bleed into each other over time. Of course, there's also the debate over tattoos with no outlines fading into blobs of color without any structure to the design. Essentially, one can't expect that a real tattoo in skin will have the same properties as a digital stick-on. It's kind of like "test-driving" a car but not getting the fully loaded -- or even the same -- car that you tested.
That seems obvious, doesn't it? But if you read all the other ridiculous tattoo stories that come up in my newsfeed, it becomes pretty obvious that a lot of people don't put much thought into the tattoos they slap on -- real or temporary.
I may just use the service to do a fun, one-off temporary tattoo for family and friends, but not in anticipation that it'll be more than momentary.