It’s said nothing last forever.
While tattoo artists might argue that doesn’t apply to their work, their actual ability to work isn’t as long lasting.
Since the COVID-19 crisis hit, tattoo artists across the world have been forced to shut down their shops.
Wei’s tattoo gun has gone mostly silent since mid-March.
Across the Canadian border in Ottawa, Ontario, not working has impacted tattoo artist Nate Silverii more than just financially. It’s hurt him emotionally.
“I was at a loss for like, ‘what am I doing? Do I even try to continue to try to do this?,’” said Silverii, a tattoo artist at Deerhound Studio.
Now, a company that makes temporary tattoos is leaving a permanent mark on this industry.
“(Tattoo artists) are kind of left out to the wolves when stuff like this happens to them,” said Tyler Handley with InkBox Tattoos, a company that offers temporary tattoos for adults that last up to two weeks.
To help tattoo artists make money during the pandemic, Handley’s team started the Forgotten Artists campaign where InkBox turns tattoo artists' designs into temporary tattoos and then pays the artist $10 for every one sold.
So far, this program has helped raise about $1 million worldwide
“They’ve been amazing to work with. You know, super cool,” Silverii said of InkBox.
While every little bit of extra income helps, artists say the added exposure to a larger audience is being viewed as an investment.
“During lockdown, it helped me financially and also my creativity,” Wei said.
It gives tattooers the ability to share their craft and helps make their art last forever.
“I’d absolutely tell other artists if they have the chance to do it,” Silverii said. “100% do it.”