Love ‘em or hate ‘em, tattoos are no longer reserved solely for non-conforming punks or bikers. In fact, my mother, the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet, has four. My dad has even more than that.
One in five people have at least one tattoo, with this number increasing for young adults. It’s also been reported that tattoos turn on both sexes, even if they decrease chances of someone wanting to marry you. Now, a new app created by a tattoo artist wants to capitalize on the popularity of ink—and maybe even alter its purpose altogether.
Next month, stigmatophiles and newbies alike can get tattoos that play audio. How can ink turn skin into a stereo, you ask? Created by Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Nate Siggard, the Skin Motion app creates waveform patterns from audio clips derived from recorded sounds. Then, tattoos artists ink this pattern onto your skin.
These patterns can record up to a full minute of audio—noises, spoken word, music, you name it—which can be replayed on your body through Skin Motion’s app by using your smartphone’s camera to scan the ink.
Since so many people are skeptical about how well this all works (you’ve got to admit, the idea does sounds bonkers and unnecessary), Siggard recorded himself getting a tattoo on his leg of a soundwave that translated to “I love you,” punctuated by a chuckle from his four-month-old. Watch it go down here:
Impressive, right? Siggard’s girlfriend, Juliana Damino, who helped design the app, also acted as lab rat for the technique and got a tat of her dog’s distinctive howl.
The idea for “soundwave tattoos” came to light when Siggard’s friend asked for a tat of lyrics to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” As he got inked, Damino suggested how amazing it would be if you could actually listen to the tattoo. As soon as those words left her mouth, Siggard immediately got to work to make the idea a reality.
“The majority of people who are interested in getting Soundwave Tattoos have lost a family member or loved one,” Siggard writes on Skin Motion website. “They require and deserve the highest level of compassionate care through the tattooing process in order to aid in the catharsis that comes from their experience.”
Because of the careful subject matter, Siggard requires all artists to be trained in the technique before they practice. All clients have to do on their end is send the soundwave they created on the app to the artist (nearby artists trained in soundwave tattoos will be provided by the app as well), where he or she can tattoo the graphic as-is or embellish it.
Whether you’re a fan of ink or not, you’ve got to admit this is a spectacular and incredibly heartfelt idea. To be able to commemorate someone you love deeply or have lost through a tattoo that replays their voice whenever you miss them is one hell of a way to keep them close, wherever they may be.
If you’re interested in getting a soundwave tattoo, you can sign up here.