A NEW service allows people to have their tattoos cut from their skin when they die, and get them beautifully-framed for loved ones.
The service, called "Save My Ink" is run by the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art (NAPSA).
The NAPSA describes itself as "a nonprofit membership association of like-minded tattoo artists and enthusiasts".
"We provide a wide-array of support and benefits to the tattoo community - including artists, studios, collectors, and those curious about the industry," it says on its website. "And now, with a new proprietary process, NAPSA has developed a method of preserving tattoos so that your story, your spirit, and your legacy can live on, for generations to come."
The service is only available to members of the association, who pay an initial joining fee and then an annual membership fee. Once registered, people can complete online forms that confirm they want their skin to be preserved, and designate a beneficiary who will ensure that it gets done and who can be sent an amount of money to ensure that they do so.
After members die, a kit is sent to the funeral home that includes of all the equipment to "recover, temporarily preserve and safely ship" your tattoo to the association.
Once that's sent, the association will return the "beautifully preserved art" three to six months later.
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The preservation process uses "a chemical and enzymatic process that permanently alters the chemical structure thus permanently fixing it against decomposition (while preserving the integrity of the art)," Napsa told Hyperallergic.
NAPSA's includes testimonials from family and friends who have used the service - it highlights the story of Mark, who passed away in early 2015 and left his tattoo to Linda when he did so.
"I believe that the preservation of skin art is something that is going to become a big deal," wrote Mark. "A lot of people, when they get their tattoos, their tattoos mean something to them."
Linda says that she is "proud of" Mark, who "wanted to leave something positive on this earth".
"As I thought about it more, it's just a different way of keeping a part of somebody close to you," she writes.