Dutch entrepreneur to preserve tattoos of the dead
By Anthony Deutsch
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - When Floris Hirschfeld's mother died two years ago, he had her portrait tattooed on his back to honor her memory. One day he hopes the image, skin and all, will adorn the wall of an art collector's home.
It might sound like a macabre Roald Dahl story, but could soon be reality with the help of a Dutch entrepreneur who has set up a business to preserve the tattoos of the dead.
"Everyone spends their lives in search of immortality and this is a simple way to get a piece of it," Peter van der Helm, the tattoo shop owner behind the concept, said in an interview.
"Everybody with tattoos has that idea. It's not a new idea, we just found a way to actually do it."
Hirschfeld and about 30 other clients of the "Walls and Skin" tattoo parlor, which is tucked away in a canal house in the Dutch capital, have donated their skin to the company in a will and each paid a few hundred euros.
When they die a Dutch pathologist will remove the tattoo and freeze or package it in formaldehyde, ideally within 48 hours. It will then be sent to a laboratory outside the Netherlands, where a 12-week procedure extracts water and replaces it with silicone, leaving a rubbery substance.
Hirschfeld, an only child with no children of his own, does not yet know who will inherit his tattoo, but he knows he wants it saved.
"People have stuffed animals in their house, so why not skin?" he said. Continued...