With the difficulty tattooing has had being accepted as an art form by the majority of society, it can be easy to overlook some of the more positive spins artists and enthusiasts have put on the practice. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while many are no stranger to the campaign's iconic pink ribbons, some body artists are showing their appreciation of and support for the cause in their own way.
The permanence of tattoos, not to mention the commitment required in the planning and actual tattooing process, makes the form ideally suited for those with causes near and dear that they want to raise awareness for.
A new take on awareness
Breast cancer awareness is perhaps one of the most well-known and widely publicized medical causes today. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, it's the most common type of cancer in women. Some 12 percent of women are estimated to develop the disease in their lifetime. Even men have a 1 in 1,000 chance of contracting this type of cancer. Its startling pervasiveness and persistence has made it a focus of many awareness campaigns and drives to find a cure.
As a response, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 as a joint effort between the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries, a company that manufactures many cancer-related pharmaceuticals. According to CareCycle Solutions, It wasn't until six years later, in 1991, when the now-iconic pink ribbon was introduced as the international symbol for awareness.
Since its introduction, the pink ribbon has been synonymous with all things related to breast cancer. As a show of solidarity, not to mention financial support for hospitals and treatment centers, one U.S. tattoo shop is taking the message of awareness to heart.
NBC News reported that Madison, Wisconsin, tattoo shop Blue Lotus is celebrating NBCAM by giving away pink ribbon tattoos on October 15. Between the four artists, they hope to give 100 tattoos in an eight-hour period. According to the shop, while the tattoos will be offered free of charge on a first come, first served basis, valued at $100, and recipients are encouraged to offer donations. All of the proceeds will be going to a local breast cancer charity, the source noted.
Tattooing for a good cause
The Wisconsin tattoo shop's efforts at supporting breast cancer awareness are remarkable, but they're far from the only example. Many tattoo artists have used their unique medium to drive interest in causes near and dear to many. For example, Pittsburgh tattoo artist Daniel Nodianos recently opened his shop up to a unique cause. Back in August, Nodianos' shop sold $50 flash tattoos – pre-made, common designs, often found on display on the walls of tattoo shops – to raise money for North Hills Community Outreach, a ministry-based community program that operates in the area.
Such efforts highlight the range of diversity not just in tattoos, but in the artists who perform them as well. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, Nodianos is a member of the Alliance of Christian Tattooers, a demographic segment that isn't often associated with body art.
In fact, Nodianos' shop has been open to fundraisers twice in the past prior to the most recent example. It serves as an indicator of how tattooing as a unique form can be harnessed for good, as a way to both support worthwhile causes and also dispel much of the stigma that surrounds the practice.
Many of those who choose to go under the needle do so in the face of the ever-looming threat of tattoo regret. However, when the practice steps out in support of such noble and worthwhile goals, it's hard to not be optimistic.
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