ExtInked: Tattoos With a Purpose

The Gardenist

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I've never had the nerve to get a tattoo, though lately I have been thinking my prudish fear should be replaced with a "why the heck not" attitude. Especially when I see some of those extraordinarily beautiful and artisitic tats on Pinterest. And if I add in the thinking behind extInked — which ties tattoo artistry in with saving endangered plants....well, I might soon get the urge to head to the parlor. 

ExtInked is a participatory arts and ecology project that started in November of 2009. With the combined support of a variety of conservation groups, art councils, and tattoo artists, artist Jai Redman identified, studied, and illustrated 100 rare and endangered British plants. These illustrations were shared with participants, who tattooed the pen and ink drawings on their bodies. 

Here is a little about how it went down: 

These drawings were displayed for one month at an open exhibition in a disused railway arch in Salford. The public were invited to nominate themselves to become an ambassador for one of the species. Out of five hundred applications, one hundred volunteers were selected and tattooed with their species over a special three day event. The result of this unique performance was an army of ambassadors for threatened birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, mammals, plants and fungi.

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The results are extraordinary and now, four years later, there are continued reunion events for the participants.  This is the kind of team spirit, good cause, and wider purpose thinking that I think I would need in order to be able to finally et over my tattoo fears. 

I'm curious — if there were a project such as this in the USA to raise awareness for saving endangered local species, would you nominate yourself for a tattoo?  

Find out more about the project on extInked

(Images: extInked)

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