Shot and edited by Luke Holley
By Charlene Sakoda
Pastor Zack Zehnder, from The Cross Mount Dora church in Mount Dora, Florida has made good on an offhand promise to pay for his congregation members’ tattoos. As reported by WOFL Fox 35 News, in his recent sermon about acceptance, the pastor said, “If anybody would like to go out and get a tattoo of the logo of the cross that we have for this church we will find money and pay for that.” It was something that Zehnder said he mentioned “flippantly,” without actually thinking anyone would collect on the pledge.
Jeremie Turner is a congregation members who was excited by the proposition, “We definitely took him up on his offer because if he’s going to hand out free tattoos, he’s got a crowd that’s going to accept them.” WOFL reported that at least a dozen church members have taken advantage of the deal and went to Bill Gold’s Tattoo Shop to get inked. “If I wasn’t so dang sarcastic in my sermons, I don’t know that we would be here,” said Pastor Zehnder. “But we got some crazy people that have said they wanted to do it so I kinda gotta, I made the promise. I kinda gotta back it up.”
The pastor hopes that the church members’ new ink will serve as a conversation starter about religion. “People’s perception of church has probably never been as negative as it is today and so if we can do something to kind of flip that script and interact with them and do something in a unique and creative way, we’re going to do that.” The Cross Mount Dora member, Holly Stratton told the station, “I think that we’re in a different time and a different place now and I think it’s wonderful that we think outside the box a little bit.” William Trigg admitted that churches and tattoos don’t usually go together, saying, “Wouldn’t really expect, a little unorthodox for a church, but you know…leave it to anybody, Zack would be the one to do it.”
Zehnder isn’t the only church leader to make the unexpected connection between church and the body art. Jamie Bertolini, a senior pastor at Greer MillChurch in South Carolina, is also the owner of Trinity Tattoo Company. Bertolini told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that one of the reasons he invested in the tattoo shop was because it would be an, “…absolutely wonderful opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ.” Another church leader and tattoo fan is ordained minister, Eddie Smith of Oklahoma. He’s been tattooing for over 20 years and opened Sacred by Design in December 2010. He’s hardly fits the stereotypical idea of a minister, with his sleeves and distinct facial tattoos. In 2013, there was an even more literal side-by-side connection between a church and the art of tattooing. LifeQuest Church in Missouri held a fund raising raffle for members to get tattooed on stage during a sermon by Senior Pastor Chris Pinion.
As for The Cross Mount Dora congregation, in the end Pastor Zach Zehnder was happy about his unintentional comment saying, “I think it’s pretty neat that these guys are going to be walking out of here with a testimony and a chance to share God’s story with people that maybe I never would or maybe you never would, that don’t have tattoos.”
Shot by Estevan Oriol
Shot by Estivan Oriol
Shot by Estevan Oriol
Some Quality Meat collaborated with Fitzroy Amsterdam to organize their annual new year’s bash. Kim Papanatos Rense made six classic nautical designs that are now placed on Fitzroy’s office walls, dishes and pig legs. The night ended in a huge party.
Shot by Estevan Oriol
By Mitch Dudek
Occasionally mixed among the family photos on Dr. Tyler Koski’s cellphone are pictures of back tattoos.
Koski, a surgeon, takes pains to preserve patients’ tattoos when he fixes their spines.
He’ll slice the inked skin, spend hours tinkering with a spine, and then study the picture the way someone working on a jigsaw puzzle looks at the box.
“It’s easy if the tattoo is letters or words, but when it’s a picture, it gets trickier,” said Koski, 40, co-director of the Northwestern Medicine Spine Center.
After concentrating for hours while standing on their feet, many surgeons will use staples — a quicker, easier option and less tattoo-friendly way to close a wound.
But Koski will spend an extra 45 minutes carefully stitching tattooed skin, even if a patient tells him not to “worry about making my tattoo look good.”
“It’s an art form like anything else. And people are proud of them and they are meant to be permanent,” said Koski, who doesn’t have any tattoos.