Mastectomy Tattoo Artist (with Amy Black)

It’s not just the body change…these women have had to deal with the entire diagnosis and treatment…and to have to look at those scars [brings it all up again]. To be able to help them with the mastectomy tattooing, and have them look at themselves in the mirror again, it’s just really a wonderful gift to be able to help with.

The human body does so much for us and asks for so little in return.  It’s like the big, silent buddy to our soul.  All we gotta do is feed it and give it sleep, and it’ll do pretty much anything we ask of it.  It makes sense then that some people decide to give their big, silent buddy a gift.  A work of art.  A tattoo.  Today’s guest, Amy Black, helps people give this gift.  She also is an amazing human being who gives a much larger gift to breast cancer survivors.  Through her post-mastectomy tattoos, she helps women (and men) look in the mirror again.  She helps bring their lives back to a sense of normalcy, and helps those who need feel a sense of closure.

My first tattoo was really small. I loved seeing tattoos on other people, but I just wasn’t sure if I was gonna like seeing it on my body.
There’s so many other critical factors that these surgeons have to worry about. Someone like myself can take that off their plate for them, and it must be one less thing for them to have to worry about.

Interview Contents

2:45 - Amy’s background

5:00 - Taking becoming a tattoo artist seriously.

7:35 - A typical day for a tattoo artist.

9:10 - Do you try to guide people that ask for weird or crappy tattoos?

11:20 - Memorable tattoos.

12:15 - Non-verbal healing.

16:20 - What makes for a great tattoo?

18:40 - What makes a great tattoo artist?

22:20 - Why do some tattoos look so vibrant and others so dull?

23:20 - Tips for getting a vibrant tattoo

26:00 - The nipple tattoo/breast cancer work that Amy does.

30:25 - Do plastic surgeons and surgery techs usually do nipple tattoos?

34:15 - Working on scar tissue.

35:20 - The progression of mastectomies.

37:00 - The drive by.

42:20 - Amy’s non-profit to help breast cancer patients.

43:30 - What education and training is needed.

44:10 - Barriers to entry.

45:10 - What is advice that she wishes she could give herself when she started?

Links

Amy’s site

Pink Ink Fund (Amy's charity)

Some of Amy's tattoo work

Some of Amy's mastectomy tattoo work

Amy's TED talk

 

Blake Fletcher

San Francisco, CA

Livin it up!