Pink Ink

Tattoo artist overcomes “the mastectomy drive-by” effect

Customers of Virginia-based tattoo artist Amy Black have told her about the reality of walking past the mirror and being confronted by their scars, after having undergone a mastectomy — she says they’ve dubbed it “the mastectomy drive-by.”

Black did her first mastectomy tattoo in 2011, after a woman cold-called asking if the ink artist would recreate a nipple and areola that had been removed in surgery. Back in 2011, few people offered nipple tattoos, and while many hospitals incorporated tattooing and nipple re-pigmentation into reconstructive surgery the attempts could be rudimentary. With 10 years in tattoo work under her belt, Black agreed. Today, Black is a specialist who receives referrals from plastic surgeons across the US, with clients who have travelled as from as far away as Sydney, Australia.

Black charges around $250 per breast, but market rates can be as high as $800. To help those in need cope with the cost, she officially launched The Pink Ink Fund last year, a charity that provides financial aid to people across the world who need help getting mastectomy tattoos. Black has done work for clients older than 70, and as young as 21, but she said that younger women who’ve undergone breast cancer particularly seek out the tattoos. “They want something pretty to look at,” said Black, “rather than the reminder of the cancer they went through.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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