Today’s interview is with Amy Black of Amy Black Tattoos and the Pink Ink Fund.

You can listen to the show here

Amy began her career in art as a painter and pursued corporate art initially. In 1998 she moved from Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Va where she began working for the Tattoo Studio Alive Gallery of Timothy Hoyer and Chris O’Donnell.  Here it was here that she expanded her interest in tattooing and learned to be a tattoo artist. She began tattooing in 2000 as well as taking over O’Donnell’s co-ownership of Alive Gallery and became Hoyer’s business partner of Alive Gallery which transitioned into Alive Tattoo.  She took over full ownership of the business in 2005.

Amy also began working in another field of tattooing lesser known to the mainstream public in 2011, known as “nipple and areola repigmentation” or “nipple and areola tattooing” as a part of breast reconstruction for patients post mastectomy due to breast cancer or getting a prophylactic mastectomy due to testing positive for a breast cancer gene. Mastectomies are performed on both men and women, and typically require removing the natural nipple and areola to either prevent or remove existing cancer tissue(s) from expanding. The patient is left with no nipple/areola in the area and can sometimes elect to have one surgically rebuilt from other donor skin areas of the body, however the natural coloration is still missing. The only technique to recreate the natural coloring is thru tattooing, and Amy is able to do many variations of coloring and create the illusion of realistic nipples and areola textures and shapes and sizes with tattooing. She currently works with patients who come to her tattoo studio, and also in conjunction with plastic surgeons throughout the Virginia area and beyond to help patients receive their desired reconstructive results for their breast(s).

Amy founded The Pink Ink Fund in 2011 almost immediately after beginning the nipple/areola tattooing in response to seeing friends who were concerned about their own nipple/areola tattooing costs who had no health insurance. The need to expand the private donation fund’s reach and services quickly made sense and blossomed from there as she learned about many of the financial hurdles patients could be facing in attaining their desired nipple/areola tattooing. Ranging from things are simple as offsetting service fees to helping them with travel and lodging expenses, Pink Ink Fund aims to help ease the burdens that may impede their path to complete healing post mastectomy. Pink Ink Fund also looks forward to helping increase awareness for realistic nipple/areola tattooing, to help find ways to educate and train technicians, outreach to the medical community, and more.

Resources:

Inspire Indeed on WRIR

Amy Black Tattoos

Pink Ink Fund