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Every once in a while when I’m digging around for some news to post on Tattoo Blog, I come across something that makes me look at tattooing in a different light – something that reminds me of how amazing tattoos can be for certain people and how they truly have the power to change lives. I’m not exaggerating. A tattoo really is a powerful thing. It can serve people on so many different levels and I think this is a big part of the reason why it angers me so much when people who don’t like tattoos or who don’t understand them are so quick to make uninformed assumptions. Everyone has their own reason for getting a tattoo and it isn’t about being trendy or cool – it’s about an individual’s desire or an individual’s need or sometimes it can even be about an individual’s ability to grow and move on.
Syracuse tattoo artist Kim Leach was initially draw not to tattooing as a career, but to being a registered nurse. She worked as an RN for eight years before making the decision to pursue a different career path – that of a tattoo artist. But Leach didn’t turn her back on nursing, either. Every Friday each month, she heads to a local hospital where she tattoos women recovering from breast cancer, women who have had reconstructive surgery on their breasts. Leach tattoos over scars and makes the women feel better about their bodies and the situation they find themselves in.
‘”I get these girls on a good day,” Leach said. “Their cancer is gone and this is their last step to getting their body back. It’s an act with deep meaning, about reclaiming their identity as a woman. I give them that last kick of empowerment over breast cancer.”
“I help people who were ashamed of their bodies be able to take pride in their bodies,” she said. “People go from, ‘Oh, my God, what happened to you?’ to ‘Oh, my God, what an awesome tattoo!’”
All I know is that this is tattooing on another level. It’s not a new trend, it’s not a different form of art. What it is is tattooing that puts people into a position of power over their bodies and the difficult situations that they’ve found themselves in. Kim Leach should indeed be commended not only for the work that she is doing for these women and the great boost of pride and happiness she supplies, but also for being someone who regularly puts her humanity, compassion and talent into the work that she does, making her a truly consummate artist and above all, a first rate human being.