Tattoo king to donate preserved body art
World-renowned Amsterdam tattoo artist Henk Schiffmacher wants to make it possible to preserve tattooed skin, and leave it in a will. He has set up a donor codicil that would allow people to give these pieces to family or collectors, the Algemeen Dagblad reports. "I want to leave a few pieces of my skin behind, yes", says Schiffmacher. In a bid to make permanent his body art even more permanent, the tattoo artist and enthusiast wants to set up an official donor codicil with which people can indicate that when they die, part or parts of their tattooed skin can be taken off, and left to family or collectors. Schiffmacher has been toying with this idea for some time, but has now made actual progress. "A notary public is now figuring everything out for me. Because a codicil like this has to be judicially intact. You have to arrange it neatly." In Japan, a pathologist has already started a collection of tattooed human skin. Donors gave permission for this, and doctors then surgically removed these pieces and preserved them. Schiffmacher has seen this collection and became fascinated by it. "It's amazing: all those bits of skin are hanging there in frames and around dolls." He said this at a tattoo exhibition in Paris where he was an honored guest at the opening. In an interview with the Algemeen Dagblad, Schiffmacher is asked whether he wants to have a collection just like that of the pathologist in Japan. "Well I don't want to pull the skin off everyone with a tattoo, really! Hahaha. I don't want to help the entire population out of their jackets! No, I only want that some highlights are preserved. There are some beautiful tattoos that tell a story about their time and you have to make an exception for that. You have to keep those, I think."
Schiffmacher also wants some of his own pieces to be left behind, which is why he is trying to get everything organized as quickly as possible. The Amsterdammer, in response to the question whether he thinks there will be a lot of interest in a donor codicil for tattooes, tells that people often come by with those kinds of questions. "A man, for example, he said: 'Mr. Schiffmacher, my leg has to be chopped off. There's tattoos on there. Would you like to have that leg?'. Yeah, sure I'll take the leg, but then there's immediately a big panic at the hospital! 'Are you completely insane!' they say. Such a codicil, then, is supposed to arrange that you are allowed to leave a tattoo behind." The business of preserving tattoos is not new, then. But leaving these works of art behind in a will is. Amsterdam tattoo and graffiti supplies shop Walls and Skin are "creators of the tattoo preservation process", and provide the service that allows people to leave tattoos behind.