Tattoos have always been a way for people to connect with the things that inspire them. Whether it be a tattoo of your favorite band or the name of someone you love; there are many ways to show our appreciation for the things that we care about on our skin.
But what if you could have more than just an image? What if you could tattoo the DNA of your lost loved one right into your skin? Well, thanks to Patrick Duffy, a scuba diving instructor from New York, and a handful of scientists, you can.
Patrick Duffy found his inspiration during one of his diving classes. Through his goggles he spotted a tattoo on the ankle of one of his students. The tattoo was dedicated to her late husband, a Navy SEAL killed in combat. The tattoo got Duffy wondering about the possibilities of a person’s (or animal’s) DNA being injected directly into the ink. A way to carry them with you on a deeper, more biologically intimate level.
Four years, a handful of scientists and a dozen patents later, Everence was born. A powdery substance synthesized from a sample of DNA from your loved one (or your furry friend) that can be added directly to a new or existing tattoo. A mere few thousand cells from the swab of the inner cheek is all they need to create your vial of DNA. The process can also be made from the cremated ashes of someone who has passed. Once the powder is developed, it can be added to any type of tattoo ink and tattooed by any artist willing to do it. The substance is clear, so it won’t alter or compromise the look or quality of the tattoo it’s added to.
Duffy hopes the process will deepen bonds between friends, family and loved ones. Literally.
This certainly isn’t the first time someone has played with the idea of adding organic substances like hair or ash into tattoos. Underground tattoo artists have been dabbling in the world of biogenic tattoo artistry for years. Although, often looked down upon by scientists for their more relaxed approach to medical ethics. Whereas Everence is made from medical grade materials under the strictest quality control standards in the world and has been developed by leading scientists from both Brown and Duke Universities.
So how does it work?
First, you need to order your kit online at Everence.life. Within 14 days you should receive your package, including all the necessities and step-by-step instructions on how to collect your DNA sample. Once you have your sample, you simply send it back using the pre-addressed return label on the box. Once your sample is sent to the Everence lab in Rhode Island, the highly skilled scientist will put the DNA sample through a purification process to sterilize and encapsulate the powdery substance. Once the process is complete, Everence will send the sample back to you in the form of the powdery substance. The whole process takes about 90 days to develop and send back. Once you have your vial, you can take it to any tattoo artist willing to add it into the ink, so you can carry your loved one with you permanently.
The process can be very therapeutic for people who have lost someone close to them. It’s one thing to have pictures and items that once belonged to the person who passed away, but according to Virginia Elwood, a Brooklyn based tattoo artist who has partnered with Patrick Duffy to promote Everence, the process allows us to feel more connected to our loved ones by wearing them directly in our skin.
“We’re connected to so many things in this world right now, be it through social media or sticking photos in the cloud, and I find that personally to be a bit hollow sometimes,” Ms. Elwood said. “So instead of taking something precious to me and uploading a picture of it to a server, I’m actually carrying it on my body, in my skin.”
Elwood currently shares a matching tattoo with her partner, Stephanie Tamez, each with each others Everence inked in. She also has plans to get a tattoo containing the DNA of her mother, who passed away from cancer a few years ago.
Everence has garnered support by some of the top tattoo artists in the US including Scott Sylvia, Valeria Vargas and Mike Rubenhall, all of whom happily promote Everence to their clients and online followers.
So how much will it cost you to have the DNA of your loved one turned into Everence? You can purchase the kit on their website for $295.00US. That price includes the cost of shipping back and forth, as well as the actual process of developing your vial of Everence. At this point, you may be reconsidering the idea of having Everence added to your next tattoo. Although, there is a possibility we could see a decrease in the price in the months to come. According to the New York Times, the cost to purchase Everence in December 2017 was more than double what it is now at $650.00US.
Although, for people who have lost someone close to them, their may be no price too high to carry that person with them permanently within their skin.
If you are considering the possibility of having someone’s DNA added to your next tattoo, do your research ahead of time and reach out to local tattoo artists in your area. Not all artists will be willing to go through with this process considering the delicate nature of the subject matter.
No matter what you decide, Zensa’s Healing Cream is your go-to for your post-tattoo healing process. Our healing cream is Health Canada Certified and proven to reduce itchiness, speed up the healing process and reduce scarring. It is made up of all natural ingredients, not tested on animals and contains sunflower seed oil to help brighten your tattoos, keeping the true colour of the ink intact.