With October being breast cancer awareness month, a number of shops have been featured in the press about various fund raisers they’re holding for cancer research. All of the fund raisers typically involve a ribbon tattoo of some sort, and the shop donating all of the proceeds to charity. It’s refreshing to see the media cover a truly inspiring event like this, and even more refreshing to see tattoo shops take the time to do such a commendable act. It’s a simple tattoo that probably means more to a number of people than any intricate fifty hour back piece.
Mark Duhan (featured before for his Billy Mays tattoo) and the Skin Deep Ink Tattoo were amongst the group that took the time to help. We caught up with Mark, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Tattoo Snob: I know your shop did ribbon tattoos to benefit cancer for a short period of time. How did this come about?
Mark: Almost everyone I know has been effected by cancer in some way. Tattoos have always been a way for people to work through hardships. So, it seemed to make sense. We planned this for almost a year. We had other plans that just kept falling through do to town hall permits and regulations. So we decided to join forces with “Relay For Life”. It was also the best way to find the most deserving candidates for free tattoos.
TS: What was the general reaction from people? Who came in to get them tattooed?
Mark: We had a very positive reaction from everyone we spoke to about this event. For some it shined a new light on the tattoo industry. For many of the people that participated it was their first tattoo. They were pleasantly surprised of how the overall tattoo experience helps emotionally. Every client that week had such strong feelings due to the fact that they were celebrating either themselves or a loved one surviving cancer. Sadly, some were memorial pieces that they will carry with them.
TS: What were the size of the pieces, and how much did you charge?
Mark: I drew about two dozens designs for people to choose from. A few of them were different style cancer ribbons, and most had small embellishments such as flowers or wings. We wanted to benefit as many people as possible so, we had to put a three inch maximum size limit. We did appointment only and charged a minimum donation of $20.
TS: How much total did the shop raise?
Mark: During our week long event we were able to squeeze in 56 cancer ribbon tattoos between only two tattoo artists. We raised $1285 for The American Cancer Society.
TS: During this, I’m sure you heard some emotional stories. Did these stories make you or other artists think differently, or change something they do?
Mark: Personally I am truly amazed at how strong people are. Some of the people that were able to share their stories with me have battled this disease since childhood. Some have lost children or spouses. Each and every person had a profound effect at how I deal with what I used to call a “bad day”.
TS: Any plans to do this again in the future?
Mark: We will try to make it an annual fundraiser. We already have people asking about next year.