I am something of a self-proclaimed body modification aficionado myself: I have 13 piercings and more tattoos than I can count. I have tattoos on my back, a tattoo on my rib cage, a full sleeve on my left arm and couple of pieces on my right, and I have additional art on my calves, my thigh, my ankle, and in my mouth. (Yes. I have ink on the inside of my lower lip.) But I am 32-years-old and all of these modifications were done safely, and with my full consent. They were all done after I came of age.
So I’ve got to be honest with you, when I read a headline that said a New Zealand artist was giving sick kids incredible tattoos, I cringed a little at first. But then I read the story, and learned that Benjamin Lloyd is not only an amazing artist, he’s an amazing man with an amazing mission.
According to the NZ Herald, Lloyd lives near Auckland, on New Zealand’s south island. As an artist, he has painted many canvases — walls, cars, guitars, and skateboards, to name a few — but people didn’t take much notice of Lloyd until he began “tattooing” sick children. Or, more accurately, until Lloyd posted a video of him painting on a young boys skin on Facebook. Within hours of posting, the video had gone viral, with 400,000 likes and just under 10,000 comments.
But how does Lloyd create his works of art, and why?
The NZ Herald reports that Lloyd uses non-toxic and non-permanent indian ink to create elaborate airbrush tattoos on his clients — whom are all kids — and he does so not for payment, but for smiles. (Lloyd promised free airbrushing to all children at Starship Hospital, near his home, if his video attracted at least 50 likes. According to Lloyd it “got 50 likes in 30 seconds.”)
Lloyd says each “tattoo” only takes a few minutes, but the results last much longer. “The kids are so amazed,” he told the outlet. “As soon as they get the tattoo it boosts their confidence.”
And, as a tattooed individual myself, I can definitely attest: my artwork has boosted my morale. And it continually boosts my spirit, as it reminds me of all the things I have overcome (and can overcome).
Of course, that isn’t the case for everyone. Some tattoos are just that, tattoos. But ink — permanent or temporary — can give your self-esteem and major confidence a lift. And in the case of the children Lloyd works with, it may just be the boost they need to continue to fight. To continue to persevere.More On