Saskatchewan

Linked by ink: Melfort tattoo shop offers customers a chance to ink each other

Getting a tattoo from an untrained artist might garner an ugly result, but a Melfort tattoo shop owner is betting the personal connection will make the new ink worth it.

Tattoo artist says getting a tattoo from a loved one is a way to make it more personal

Melfort Tattoo Shop is giving people an opportunity to give each other tattoos in what the owner says will be a safe and controlled environment. (Melfort Tattoo Shop/Facebook)

Getting a tattoo from an untrained artist might garner an ugly result, but a Melfort tattoo shop owner is betting the personal connection will make the new ink worth it.

Matthew Reynaud owner of the Melfort Tattoo Shop, said the idea of allowing people to pay to use his shop to tattoo each other came up through a conversation with his wife.

"We're sort of moving away now from the design itself. We're moving more into the fact this is a personal experience for me, and between me and that person," he said.

For instance, he said more and more people are coming into his tattoo shop wanting signatures of loved ones who passed on.

That could be the worst possible tattoo you have on your body, as far as art is concerned, but that might still be your favourite.- Matthew Reynaud 

That made him think it would be even more poignant to give people a chance to have personal signatures tattooed, for instance, by a loved one with a terminal illness.

"That could be the worst possible tattoo you have on your body, as far as art is concerned but that might still be your favourite," he explained.

Regulations focus on safety, not training

He plans to supervise the tattoo-exchanges and says he's taking extra measures to ensure customer safety, like having the area clear of any obstructions.

The Ministry of Health said it does not have regulations that specify the type of training a tattoo artist has to have, only that tattoo shops must operate in safe environment and in a way that doesn't cause the spread of communicable diseases.

Reynaud already has two takers for his unique idea.

Melfort's Becky Webb said when she saw an advertisement allowing people to get and give tattoos, she quickly thought of one friend who would be game. She and her friend have now signed up to tattoo each other with a simple stick women design.

Becky Webb says she's had tattoos before, but she's now going to try giving a tattoo to a friend, and getting one in exchange. (Becky Webb/Facebook)

"Obviously because we're doing the tattoos ourselves, they're not going to come out good or anything," she said.

She said this is just an extension of what she and her friends have done before, getting matching tattoos together.

The advice Becky Webb is following is to keep tattoo designs simple and easy to draw, with her intended tattoo design of two stick women. (Submitted by Becky Webb)

"This is 100 per cent personal. You're getting something that you picked, and the person who's putting it on you is a close person to you, a really good friend," Webb said.

"I think it's a cool idea."

Not everyone has understood the concept, according to Reynaud, who described the reaction as "mixed."

He's just waiting to see what happens as word spreads.

"If it catches on, then good, if it doesn't, then no harm, no foul."

with files from CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition

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