Never mind the gallery full of beautiful paintings… I’m wondering if I have missed my chance to leave the ultimate piece of artwork to my children on my demise. I’m referring to tattoos, of course. I just read an interesting article — a bit macabre, if I’m honest — about people having their tattoo(s) sliced off and stretched — or tanned? — when they die, to have them framed as a memento to leave for their loved ones to hang on their walls. Shades of Buchenwald, if you ask me.
Just for the record, I don’t actually have any tattoos. (Don’t look so surprised; there are quite a few things I haven’t done.) Anyway, even if I were attracted to the notion of leaving an artistic piece of me behind — or my behind — it’s far too late for me to get a tattoo… it would no doubt look more like it had been smocked than tattooed.
You know as well as I do that tattoos don’t age well. Almost no one retains the same body shape as they grow older. Even if you maintain the same weight, it rearranges itself in all sorts of unflattering ways. It’s hard to work out just where on the body a tattoo would remain the same over time. Wherever you put it, it’s bound to shrink and go wrinkly, or expand and grow longer, or wider, or just distorted like a shrivelled up piece of dried fruit.
The photos I’ve seen show odd-shaped patches of skin, with embarrassing tattoos. One would think that whoever prepared it for framing — I’m thinking taxidermist here — would at least cut the hide (!) into a shape that didn’t look quite so much like a piece of jerky with a weird picture on it. But who knows–maybe one day such works of art will start showing up in ‘Collectibles’ magazines and second hand shops. Mind you, I have seen some gloriously tattooed faces on mummified skulls, but they were not for public display. I think the idea of preserving the skin of a loved one as a momento is going to take a while to catch on.
Meanwhile, it occurs to me that I’ve left my sons enough of a memento by passing my genes on to them. I won’t be burdening them further with a framed slab of my flesh. MM
If you want to read the article I referred to, click here.
If you want to know more, (and I’m sure you do) the website of the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art (NAPSA) is: http://www.savemyink.com