The stigma around tattoos has melted in the last few decades and now so, too, has the question of what happens to them when you die.
Chris Wenzel, a Canadian tattoo artist in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, died last year of heart failure at 41. His wife, Cheryl, and he ran a tattoo shop.
She says he didn’t see much sense going through the process of getting a tattoo if they were just going to be buried with him, and he would’ve wanted Chris’ body of work to be preserved.
There’s really only one way to do that, and several funeral homes were not interested. Finally, she found one that would, basically, skin her husband. She thinks it’s going to catch on, the CBC reports.
“Back then, it was a voodoo to get tattooed, and now, we’re breaking waves for the voodoo of preserving them,” Cheryl said. “To keep moving forward, you have to break those waves somehow.”
The procedure — and experts who helped won’t divulge how the procedure works — was done last Halloween.
“At one point [the funeral director] came out and said, ‘We have some concerns. His body has gone through so much already. We’re not sure if we can get his back tattoo removed,'” she told the CBC last fall.
The process of preserving them and framing them was to take about three months.
The update: They’re done and Cheryl unveiled the art over the weekend at a tattoo expo in Saskatoon.
Great time at the Saskatoon Tattoo Expo. Happy to be able to bring Chris home to his wife.
“Now that he’s home, I feel like we’re completed, like we’re back together and I’m willing to take him out and finish our journey that we started,” Cheryl tells the CBC.