Friday, June 19, 2015

Ⓥ Vegan Tattoos

I know this probably isn't a major concern for most people, but one of the only things that has been a real struggle for me, since going vegan, has been getting tattoos. I love tattoos, I always have. I think I first started talking about getting one when I was around twelve, and I got my first one when I was sixteen. After that I got an average of about one per year. That is, until I learned that tattoo ink is usually not vegan. At that time, the idea that my tattoos might have animal derivatives never even crossed my mind (Of course, I know better now. Pretty much everything has animal derivatives, unless otherwise specified.)

After I found out about the ink, getting a tattoo went from being something exciting and enjoyable to a huge ordeal that required a lot of planning and hassle. Most larger cities seem to have at least one or two vegan tattoo artists, and some even have whole vegan studios. Where I live though, vegan tattoo ink is just not something that people even consider. For my first two tattoos, after learning the truth about the ink, I drove all the way to Columbus Ohio to find a vegan artist. It was a several hour drive, but it was still worth it to me. Unfortunately, the artist ended up moving to Canada, and I was back to square one.

I finally realized that some studios may just not advertise vegan ink, because there are still a lot of people out there who think that veganism is wimpy, and that sort of clashes with the whole tattoo culture. So I started calling around to different studios and asking them if they had any vegan ink. I eventually found one guy in Pittsburgh who did. I managed to get one tattoo from him before he too disappeared. That was several years ago and I had not located another vegan artist anywhere closer to me than New York City, until yesterday. There is now a tattoo studio called, Rogue Tattoo, in Pittsburgh which advertises on it's website that one of the artists does vegan tattoos! It may not make a lot of sense, but this is incredibly exciting for me. Tattoos are a part of who I am, and knowing that I finally have a place I can go to get new ones is a huge relief to me.

By the way, for anyone who is wondering what makes tattoo ink unsuitable for vegans, the base is glycerin which is generally derived from animal fat. Also, many places use "bone black" which, supposedly, provides a deeper black color but is made from bone char.
My tattoo, splattered with chalk at the color festival. 

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