Tattoo artist inks nipples on self as practice for cancer survivors
You’ve heard of a triple nipple, but this woman has eight extras — all made of ink.
Tattoo artist Vicky Martin has, for the past 15 years, specialized in tattooing nipples on breast cancer survivors who’ve had theirs removed due to surgery. The dedicated mother-of-one is an expert at her niche trade but remains deadset on continuing to improve, which she does by practicing on herself.
“I’m always coming up with new techniques and trying out new products, and I am happy to use my leg as a canvas if it means the outcome is better for my clients,” the Three Mile Cross, UK, resident told Reuters. “I currently have two realistic nipples on my leg. I definitely get some strange looks but it doesn’t bother me.”
While she has two at the moment, she’s inked eight nips onto her thighs over the years, but she eventually covers them all up with other tattoos once she’s finished observing how the original tat stands the test of time.
“It’s worth it to see how the nipples heal on skin so I can assess my work,” explained the areola expert, who runs training courses in the Vicky Martin Method of nipple tattooing across the world.
Back in the day — when Martin first attended a Portland, Oregon, training school 15 years ago — women who’d recently had their nipples removed in a mastectomy “were lucky,” she said, if they got an ink replacement that looked like “an orange blob.”
The industry has come a long way since, which is a godsend for cancer survivors.
“People might think ‘Nobody really sees your nipples, so what does it matter?’ But women see their own nipples every day, and it is a reminder of what they have been through,” Martin said. “I see my work as giving cancer survivors their medals for what they have been through, which is why I am always trying to improve.”
Although she sometimes does get strange looks, she so passionately believes in what she’s doing that it’s easy to have a thick skin against the haters.
“I love being able to help women to move past what they have been through and help them to feel strong and proud,” she said. “If that means sporting nipples on my legs, then so be it!”