Mastectomy Tattoos and Post-Surgery Healing

International Museum of Surgical Science

This exhibition is presented as part of the IMSS Contemporary Arts Program. IMSS supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in surgical science and our relationship to the body.

(View the exhibit in 360°)

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On Empathy

Because of Allen’s commitment to placing his focus on empathy, he has been asked to speak at a number of medical conferences on the client and tattooer relationship. The way in which Allen’s work is discussed in the medical field is participatory in expanding ideas on the healing process and the dynamic role of practitioner. This is a video of his talk. Recorded in one take, David discusses the shift from ego based work to let himself become a part of someone else’s story.


The next step in his process is experimenting with dimensional form. By learning and capturing images with photogrammetry, David is turning multiple images (from various angles) into models to create with. From video movement to holograms, David is discovering ways to showcase both the tattoos and elements of the person that carry them: the context. This video was shown life-size on loop within the exhibit.