Thanks to a New Association, Your Tattoos Can Live Forever

”Every tattoo tells a story,” says the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art. The new group was formed to help preserve tattoos of the deceased for their families and loved ones.

It’s common for people to leave houses, investments, or family heirlooms to loved ones when they die. But a new service will allow individuals to bequeath their tattoos, and it’s brought to you by an association.

The newly launched National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art, a nonprofit membership group, spent the last year perfecting its tattoo preservation process.

Many people have thousands of dollars’ worth of art on their personal canvas.

“We’ve met so many people through the years—from military personnel to firefighters, physicians, teachers, and artists that have shared their personal stories with us,” Charles Hamm, chairman of the board and NAPSA executive director, said in a statement. “When you factor in that deep connection, plus the fact that many people have thousands of dollars’ worth of art on their personal canvas, it’s a natural next step to want to explore ways to preserve the art and the stories for loved ones.”

So how does it work? Upon joining NASPA, a member shares his or her intentions with the association via its website, At the time of the member’s passing, beneficiaries notify the association and identify the funeral home where a nontoxic kit to remove the tattoo should be sent. The skin art is sent back to NASPA, which preserves it and returns the final artwork, framed, to the beneficiary in three to six months.

In addition to providing loved ones with a treasured memento, Hamm hopes that NAPSA’s work will help people develop a greater appreciation for this particular art form, he told

“I know people who have ashes on their mantelpiece. It’s not much different to me. In fact, in my mind, this is a much better thing to look at, because when you see that tattoo, you have a clear remembrance of that person that you loved.”

This idea is also carried through in the work NASPA plans to do to advocate for the interests of tattoo enthusiasts, artists, and collectors.

“We will never stop fighting for our members, whether it’s protecting their original art, overcoming misconceptions, or helping to set up a studio in a new city,” Hamm said.

(National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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