In the wake of any tragedy, people who are affected deeply by the events may feel the urge to bond together and express their support for the victims. Some even go so far as to get a tattoo to commemorate those lost. These tatts may serve as symbol of how the event had an impact on their own life, or they may prove merely to be a permanent reminder of how others suffered. After the Boston Marathon bombing April 15, 2013, many Bostonians were inspired to go under the needle for exactly these reasons.
Inking for a cause
Since the bombings at the marathon finish line, tattoo parlors throughout the city of Boston saw an influx of customers asking for ink mementos related to the event. Some selected an outline of the state of Massachusetts, while others went with the Boston Red Sox logo or a heart inside an outline of the city skyline. This move wasn't merely to make a statement – it was a way for those who felt helpless to do something for the victims.
In fact, according to Boston magazine, Brad's Custom Tattooing offered several different Boston-themed logos as part of a fundraiser. Hundreds of inkings later, they had raised more than $3,000 for the One Fund, a charity for the victims' medical care. Bloomberg reported that within five days of the bombings, Chameleon Tattoo & Body Piercing in Cambridge, Mass., saw 20 people come in and request Boston-centered designs. As a result, tattoo artist Reuben Kayden told the source that the shop raised $5,000 for the same charity.
"Getting tattooed is a way to never, ever forget," Kayden stated to the news outlet. "It's embedded in you."
Adam Myerson, a professional cyclist and coach, told Bloomberg that he felt the urge to get inked after his friends managed to escape from the attack unharmed. Myerson, of Dorchester, explained that when something significant happens, a tatt is a way to mark that occurrence for a permanent reminder. Moreover, he noted that his ink displays his local pride.
As the one-year anniversary of the marathon bombings approaches, locals are still looking for ways to raise money through this tattoo trend. CBS Boston reported that photographer Christopher Padgett, who took thousands of photographs of Boston-focused body art, will be putting his pictures on display at the Boston Center for Adult Education. He hopes that the photos in his exhibit, "Bled for Boston," will eventually be published in a book – provided he gets enough online donations. The proceeds from the book would benefit Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
Artists advise caution
While many may have been eager to etch their local pride or remembrance of the Boston Marathon bombing in permanent ink, tattoo removal specialist Carmen Vanderheiden told Boston magazine that it's a risky move.
"It all boils down to – and this is what I'm finding in my own experience – is that the underlying component is that emotional decisions and emotional tattoos are more often taken off," she explained to the magazine.
Still, Vanderheiden admitted that she found the amount of people showcasing their support through tatts to be moving. To avoid the possibility of tattoo regret, she advised considering several aspects. For one, she noted that black, gray and certain other colors can be easier to eliminate through tattoo removal methods. While not impossible to get off with laser tattoo removal, blue and green pigments can be more stubborn. She also pointed out that people may want to take into account the placement of the ink. Since tatts can sometimes affect the way that employers view a candidate, it's best to opt for a hidden location. That way, the person doesn't have to worry about compromising potential career opportunities down the road.
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