It was a cold call in 2011 from a woman who had undergone a single mastectomy for breast cancer that took Amy Black’s tattoo career in a new direction.
The woman was looking for a tattoo artist to recreate her nipple and areola removed in surgery. “What she was asking for was just a two-inch circle, but the healing properties that two-inch circle had were so much bigger than that,” Black says, speaking from her tattoo shop in Virginia, in the US.
Women who have had breast cancer surgery have told her about a daily experience, coined “the mastectomy drive-by”: walking past the bathroom mirror in the morning and being confronted with the scars. “It’s a constant reminder of the cancer, but they’ve told me the tattooing helps to cure that,” she says.