Have you ever heard of NAPSA? NAPSA is the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art, and their mission is to find ways to preserve meaningful and distinctive tattoo work past the lifespan of the person it’s tattooed on. On September 18 at the Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth in Las Vegas, NAPSA made its introductory presentations to the tattooing community. As NAPSA says on its site, “Whether you have spent countless hours and large sums of money on your tattoos or you have a few especially meaningful pieces, the labor and stories behind your tattoos can now carry on for future generations to experience.”
Since it inevitably touches on both vanity and mortality, tattoo preservation can be a touchy and awkward topic to discuss, but serious tattoo artists and collectors are starting to ask the question, “Is there any way we can preserve this work that means so much to us?”
NAPSA is a non-profit membership association, with the goal of providing certain services to members, which include “preserving skin art on a wide scale with the ability to pass it on to loved ones.” To join NAPSA, the initiation fee is $115, plus yearly dues of $60 (dues cover preservation of one tattoo (about the size of a chest piece), and each additional tattoo is an additional $100 one time initiation fee depending on size).
It may be that an annual fee isn’t the right model, although its attraction to a fledgling group desperate for capital isn’t hard to understand. Some members may prefer paying a one-time fee at the time of death/burial. A Dutch entrepreneur and tattooer named Peter van der Helm has started a business that achieves parallel goals.
Obviously, this process, which is intended to kick in only after a given tattoo lover passes away, involves the participation of funeral homes and similar entities. If the mortuary service of the deceased NAPSA member refuses to honor the process, NAPSA has a master embalmer on staff to advocate on behalf of the deceased member. As time passes, it’s expected that the network of reliable NAPSA-approved funeral homes will increase.
NAPSA faces a bunch of challenges, not the least of which is attempting to unify a fractious, independent-minded group like tattoo lovers. As Marisa Kakoulas says, “In my experience working with the tattoo industry for almost 15 years, I can say that it is an incredibly difficult task to properly represent the interests of artists and collectors across the country, as the laws (such as zoning) differ, not just from state to state, but among local jurisdictions.”
Here are some samples from NAPSA’s website. For any of the images below, clicking will get you a larger view.
“Death Before Dishonor,” J.R. Tubbs
“Cleveland Street,” Al Garcia
Many more after the jump…
Posted by Martin Schneider |
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