WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tattoo artist from Washington state was on a mission to create a permanent portrait of her client, who was born deaf, when she decided to show it to a group of friends.
It all began when Jennifer Cawley, a tattoo artist in her early 20s, posted a picture on Facebook of her tattooed tattoo of the word “citizen” on her arm.
The next day, she received a call from a woman who said she had met her at a local bar and wanted to meet the artist.
Jennifer Cawly (R), an artist who has a tattoo of “Citizen” (C), performs a tattoo in her studio in Seattle August 10, 2017.
Jennifer Cowley (R) performs a tattoos in her Studio on Capitol Hill August 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Citizen’s tattoo can be seen on the left forearm of the tattoo artist.
Cawley was intrigued, so she invited her to come see her work and get her to share her ideas with her friends.
The tattoo artist invited Jennifer Caws (L) and a friend (R).
Cawly’s friend, who is deaf, said she would be happy to get the tattoo done in person, but she was not interested in having it done in her living room.
Jennifer said her friend, whose birthday is September 26, was interested in the design of her own tattoo and wanted it to have a different meaning.
Jennifer agreed, and on August 9, she put together a plan to go to a tattoo shop and buy a permanent tattoo.
The first tattoo artist, who would be known only as B, arrived in Washington state on August 12 and made her first tattoo on September 4.
Caws had to work on the tattoo in a hospital, and it took four months to complete.
The artist made a portrait of B, with the intention of making the tattoo permanent, and she gave it to B on September 10.
B was so moved by the tattoo that she contacted Cawleys friends and they sent it to her in a plastic bag.
B and her friend are both deaf.
B said she got a lot of positive feedback and a lot support.
She has been doing the work of an artist since then, and her friends, who are deaf, have also gotten tattoos, she said.
Jennifer is now working on a permanent memorial for B that will be made out of plastic, she told Reuters.
“I’ve been working on it for about six months, and I’ve been doing this for about eight years now, so I feel really blessed,” she said, adding that she is excited to share the work with others.
“I hope it inspires people to get involved in helping others with disabilities.”
Jennifer has a large number of tattoos, many of which feature the word C, as well as “I am a citizen” on their arms and back.
Cawleys tattoo features the word Citizen on her forearm, while her friend’s tattoo features “I Am a Citizen” on the back of her arm, and B’s tattoo has a picture of a tree.
The artist who made the portrait told Reuters he had no idea the tattoo would become such a hit with people who have disabilities.
“It was very surreal to see it go viral,” he said.
“For me, the tattoo was like an afterthought and I was not expecting it to go viral, but I thought it was cool that it did.”
The tattoos in the studio are a result of Jennifer Cows tattoos and her friendship with a deaf friend, B, who has disabilities.
Jennifer said she also made an acrylic design for the tattoo, to help her friends learn how to do the tattoo.
“She was able to communicate with me and her story and the experience that we had together was so inspiring,” Caws said.
The portrait, she added, is a “symbol of my identity” and an expression of her love for her deaf friend.
“My friends who are not deaf, are very excited to see my work and my tattoo,” she added.
“This is the kind of work that helps us understand the diversity of our lives.”(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Rosalind Russell)