Former First Avenue tattoo artist Danny Danzl liked to say that body illustrations are pretty much forever. He kept a fish tank filled with piranha, marked "Tattoo Removers," to make his point. He also refused to apply tats to anyone's face.
For one customer - who wanted "Linda," the name of his girlfriend, tattooed on his cheek - Danny inscripted the name with a removable color. Now go have a drink, Danny told him, and if you do not get laughed out of the bar, come back. Which he never did.
Danzl's thinking was that tattoos have purpose and beauty. Today, it is one of his proteges, Madame Vyvyn Lazonga, who is carrying on the tradition.
She calls herself Seattle's First Lady of Tattoo, operating out of her Pike Place Market shop since 1989, where one of her specialties has become body illustrations that cover surgical scars.
Tattoos, she says, can be spiritual. She believes in the power of color, as ancient civilizations did, to heal.
One of her customers named Kim, a cancer survivor (as is her twin sister) who had breast reconstruction, shows artist Billy King, in a video done for Next Door Media, the result.
It's a tattoo that took four years to complete, and "I just want to share it with the world," she says.