People with tattoos sometimes have a reputation for being gruff, surly individuals. While we know that people from all walks of life get tattoos, some people have a hard time shaking the notion that they mean trouble. After all, not every tattoo is something scary like a skull or barbed wire. People get tattoos to celebrate love, symbolize strength, and express their inner creativity. One woman in New Zealand has been visiting a local tattoo parlor every Friday for the last three months. One might expect her to be covered in tattoos from head to toe, but this couldn't be farther from the truth.
You see, Suzie has Down syndrome, and she has been visiting tattoo artist Jason Ward every Friday for a fresh set of temporary tattoos. Over the past few months, Jason and Suzie have struck up quite the friendship. According to Jason, who owns the tattoo parlor, "The first time she came in, she walked up to the desk, put her things on the desk, and said ‘put these on my arm.'" Suzie is interested in Maori designs, and loves showing off her tattoos to everyone at the care facility where she lives.
Jason treats each appointment with Suzie like it's the real deal. He put on gloves, sterilizes the skin, and covers her arms in whatever art she's picked out that week. Jason doesn't charge Suzie a penny for his services. We imagine that the time they spend together brightening each other's days is payment enough. Check out the pictures below to learn more about Jason and Suzie's ink-covered friendship.
Meet Jason and Suzie. Jason runs "Muscle and Ink," a tattoo parlor in New Zealand. Suzie is one of Jason's favorite clients. She has Down syndrome and lives in a permanent care facility, but every Friday she makes her way to Muscle and Ink for an appointment with Jason. Instead of real ink, Jason covers Suzie's arms with temporary tattoos. When asked about this picture of them together, Jason said, "It's … a photo of two people that possibly get discriminated against here or there, having a moment."
People with tattoos and people with Down syndrome both experience discrimination in our society. While the struggles that they deal with are incredibly different, each person faces misconceptions about their personalities.
Thankfully, these two are brightening each other's weeks with wonderful visits. Even though Suzie's appointments with Jason look like real tattoo sessions, he never charges her any money for his services. She enjoys getting Maori designs, and she even knows someone at her care facility with Ta Moko, traditional Maori tattoo patterns, on their arms. After each visit with Jason, Suzie returns home and shows off her new tattoos to her friends.
Even though the tattoos are temporary, the memories Jason and Suzie make will last forever.