Post-mastectomy Appointment Inquiries

Books are open again! *Please note, a minimum of 12 months after the most recent surgery is required.


Taking back control

Years ago, a client approached me with a request. Adriana had fought cancer and won. After having a mastectomy and reconstruction, she wanted a tattoo to conceal some of the scarring on her breast. As interested as I was, I had no idea the weight of what was to come.

Before every tattoo, I try to wrap my head around the content and client. It's a matter of putting myself into their shoes (relatively) and pouring whatever I can into the piece. It's always a collaboration; it's a joint effort.

I'll never forget meeting Adriana and connecting instantly. I wasn't sure how to be. I knew just a portion of her story and my heart was heavy. Do I respond with pity? Of course compassion, but how much do I show? She walked in and all ambiguity was gone. My job was to be present; to think less about myself. Somehow I realized she was taking care of me before I had a chance to do the same. Maybe she sensed my concern, so her response was to allay my nerves. She showed me love and I knew only to do the same.

How do you help a woman who has fought death? What can you possibly contribute?

I knew then all I had was my vision, my eye. Years of passion towards one visual goal had me prepared. She was there... ready and willing to trust my view. The weight was incredible, but together we created a work of art. Her scar was concealed, but more importantly, she took back control. I'll never forget it. What was clinical became beautiful again... we turned sterile into sensual. We took back control.

There is healing in this.

It was wonderfully overwhelming. The whole process was stunning. That day I was changed more than she. The process is difficult. It requires trust and vulnerability on both sides. But it's the most wonderful thing I've given myself to... well, besides being a father :) 


Tattooing is a viable option

Thank you for taking the time to even read all of this. Tattooing is absolutely a viable option. When coupled with an artist you've researched and feel connected to... taking the reigns and regaining some sort of control can be empowering.

RELATED ARTICLES

Wherever you are in your journey, know that you are not alone!


Exhibits

2018 Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty, MAK Austrian Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna

2018 David Allen: Mastectomy Tattoos and Post-Surgery Healing, International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago

2018 Items: Is Fashion Modern?, MoMA, NYC

Publication

Moving the Needle on Recovery From Breast Cancer - The Healing Role of Postmastectomy Tattoos - David Allen - JAMA

Press

Based on the wonderful response to these stories, I've setup a: PRESS CONTACT FORM