Results tagged “black & gray tattoo”

02:11 PM
mastectomy scar tattoo.jpgI've gotten a number of emails in the past couple of years asking me about tattooing over mastectomy scars and nipple reconstruction, and I've referred breast cancer survivors to long-time practitioners, listed below, for this type of tattooing. [It's an issue close to my heart as my both mother and aunt have had breast cancer.] Beyond realistic tattooing in creating the look of the nipple & areola, decorative tattoos over these scars can be a beautiful option.

A perfect example is this work by tattoo artist David Allen, whose blog I've been a fan of for years. I talked to David about the tattoo and he gave me some interesting info on the process and procedure. His client, fellow New Yorker Adriana, also offered her thoughts on her tattoo.

Adriana was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at age 31 in September 1999. She had a modified radical mastectomy removing a 5cm tumor. At the time of the surgery, she had reconstruction and several follow-up surgeries after chemotherapy and radiation. As the radiation ruined her skin, she was unable to have a nipple reconstruction. Almost exactly 11 years to the date from her surgery, Adriana made an appointment for her first tattoo.

Adriana came to David with a basic idea of "vines or branches with flowers" that could "go across the scar." But because she knew the skin texture varied along the area, she was open to suggestions. Before her appointment, David picked out a number of floral designs but no matter how many photos he saw of the scar, he needed her presence to make the tattoo flow and fit her form. Here's how he described the tattoo process:

"After sizing and spending awhile figuring out placement, I realized I could mask the scar by pulling the eye away from a horizontal line, accentuate the curve of the implant and make sure the organic nature of the flower blended in with the most obvious areas of the scar tissue. The implant was directly under her muscle, as the fat layer was removed, so the transition from chest to implant was abrupt. Making sure the design blended the two was important.

Tattooing over the scar altered depending on the area. Towards the armpit, some of the fatty layer was intact, so I had to stretch like normal. The actual scar reacted normally with swelling and redness. But as soon as I started tattooing over the saline implant, the skin was already taut. So taut I had to turn my machine down and treat it with finesse, like I was tattooing an ankle bone. When broken down, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

David adds that he'd like to see Adriana again to darken the blacks and see how well it hid the scar. He says that he's never done this type of work before, but would definitely love to do it again.

As for Adriana, she had lived with what she saw as a disfigurement for ten years. David said that when she looked in the mirror, she was amazed and proud of what she saw, which was overwhelming for both of them. Adriana told him, "I feel repaired and whole for the first time in ten years. Incredible. I want to flash everyone to show them. It's a beautiful piece."

It's an inspiring story, and I'm grateful to Adriana and David for sharing it. 
See more of David's tattoo work here.

Noted studios who do do nipple & areola reconstruction as well as decorative tattooing over mastectomy scars:
If you know of other studios that do this work, please suggest them in the comments.
05:53 AM
black & Grey tattoo.jpg
I'm thrilled to announce the release of the latest in the series of hardcover coffee table books (or rather coffee tables) for Edition Reuss Publishing, which I co-authored with the wonderful Edgar Hoill. Behold our three-volume monstrous box set:

The beautifully designed box contains three hardcovers, totaling 1,008 pages and weighing 22.6 pounds. They are monsters at about 15 x 12 inches (24.5 x 31.5 cm).  [Yes, like my Black Tattoo Art book, they double as a home defense device.]

If you want to take a look inside, check the Flickr photoset.

Ok, now for the promo blah blah ...

photo by edgar hoill.jpg
"Black & Grey Tattoo" is a mammoth work. Comprising over a thousand pages, it is one of the largest - if not the largest - tattoo book ever published! Its three large-format volumes are contained inside a lavish and sturdy hardcover box. The set explores a monochrome art form through a kaleidoscope of the most widely diverse interpretations and craftsmanly techniques, performed by tattoo artists from all parts of the world. This tattoo tome explores the origins of black & grey tattooing - from the prisons and streets of LA to its contemporary resonance on Hollywood's red carpets, at heavy metal music festivals, and in private ateliers from Budapest to Beijing. While rendered in just shades of grade, the spectrum of design is vast: Aztec warriors, fierce harpies, family portraits, religious icons and permanent shrines to celebrities adorn these pages. The common thread among them all is their inventive exposition and mastery of execution. It is divided into three volumes: "Traditional Black & Grey", "Dark/Horror" and "Photorealism". Indeed, there is cross-pollination among the different styles, but the breakdown is not just for easier lifting of this monster collection. It is to show how tattoos with similar stylistic elements are interpreted differently by stellar artists around the world. The books also present the fine art - including paintings and charcoals - of many of those featured, although the tattoos themselves should be considered fine art.
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