The family of a deceased Saskatchewan man is making arrangements to have the tattoos that covered most of his body preserved and framed.
Chris Wenzel died in his sleep on Oct. 29 at the age of 41. The Saskatoon resident’s wife, Cheryl, says her husband had suffered from ulcerative colitis, and had been complaining about chest pains shortly before his death.
Cheryl says her husband “knew he was going to go” and had already been researching tattoo preservation when he came across a U.S.-based company called Save My Ink Forever.
“He used to always say, you know, tattoo ’til death’,” she told CTV News Saskatoon. “And I think he really took it to a different context!”
According to their website, Save My Ink Forever allows families to preserve their loved one’s body art whereby the deceased’s skin is surgically removed and treated with a special formula. The entire process takes approximately three months, at the end of which families receive the framed tattoos of the departed.
“Tattoos, you know, tell a story about a person,” said Kyle Sherwood, the owner of Save My Ink Forever. “And for someone to get something tattooed on them that they’re displaying for life, you know, means something to them… You wouldn’t burn or bury a Picasso and that’s what some of these pieces are.”
Sherwood said he believes the removal, seven tattoos in total taken from Wenzel’s back, chest, arms and legs, will be the largest tattoo preservation performed in North America.
Prior to his death, Wenzel operated his own tattoo business, Electric Underground Tattoos Inc., and was a well respected artist.
“If you know anybody in the city with a tattoo, it’s probably one of his,” said Marc Wishart, a fellow tattoo artist who worked alongside Wenzel. “He was super dedicated to putting his whole energy into what he was doing each day. “
According to reports, the preserved tattoos are set to be unveiled this spring at a tattoo expo in Saskatoon.
Cheryl also revealed she has plans to have her own tattoos, which were pieces by her husband, preserved after her death.
“He was a really, really caring man,” Cheryl added. “He’d do anything for his children and for myself… It still feels like I’m just waiting for him to come home.”
The entire process will cost approximately $80,000 but Cheryl says she’s determined to honour her late husband’s wishes.