Actors and Tattoos: part 1 of 2

We see a lot here at Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective! Our Gastown boutique is alive with chatter, excitement, and creative energy. Who?! What?! Where?!

Sometimes it’s the ‘Who’ that causes all the fluster! Day in and day out, people walk into Liquid Amber to get the tattoo of their dreams, or add to the canvas of their body. Every now and then someone comes in with a design causing people to gawk and question - “Are they even allowed to get a tattoo?!”

You may think I'm talking about a child, or a pet Pomeranian, but no, I am referring to the actors!

Frequently referred to as Hollywood North, Vancouver is swimming with actors! Many of whom like to ink up, and many who are curious about the effects or possible repercussions. So let’s explore.

Should Actors get tattoos? It seems like a fair question. On the one hand, it’s YOUR body, so you should be able to do with it what you want. On the other hand, if you want to use YOUR body as a storytelling mechanism, shouldn’t it be more of a blank canvas ready to be moulded, dressed, and re-shaped for each story and role?

Our first point of view comes from Terry Chen, a Taiwanese / Chinese actor known for ‘Ben Fong Torres’ in the Cameron Crowe film Almost Famous (2000). Since then, you can catch Terry in many Film and TV roles including House of Cards, Continuum and Van Helsing.

Here is what he had to say:

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What and where is it?

"Got my first tattoo at 21. Two of them actually. A Haida crescent moon in the sun. And my Chinese family name under my Chinese zodiac sign the tiger. Both on my right bicep."

Have your tattoo’s helped or hindered your career?

"I don't know. At certain times I think they've helped and other times maybe not so appropriate. Really depends on what roles I’m auditioning for."

Was there ever a time you thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t get any more tattoo’s because of my acting career?”

"When I was younger my agent asked me when I was going to stop getting tattoos, because it would pigeonhole me. I said Johnny Depp has a shit ton of tats and he’s versatile. She promptly responded, "You're not Johnny Depp."  How true. That made me pause for a few minutes but I have relentlessly collected more over the last 15 years."

Have you gotten release forms from each artist that has tattooed you?

"Yes I have release forms from all artists. Never had trouble getting them. Have also had most of them tell me I don't need release forms. Once the tattoo is paid for and on my body, I own them. Period. The release forms are just for productions to protect themselves because of the Mike Tyson face tattoo debacle."

Actor, Terry Chen

Actor, Terry Chen

Terry makes a good point. His tattoos are a part of who he his and what he brings to each role. As far as pigeonholing goes, that really depends on how productions see you and decide where you would fit in the story. Thank goodness I had the chance to reach out to Maureen Webb.

Maureen has been a Casting Director for over 25 years and seen her fair share of actors, so I knew her opinions would be helpful!

Once you find out an actor has a tattoo, does that affect how you bring them in for roles?

"Generally it doesn’t affect my decision to bring someone in, unless it’s a face or large neck tattoo. It depends on the size of the role, the size and visibility of the tattoo and whether tattoos fit the role.

If it’s a smaller role, and the character definitely couldn’t have tattoos, I know it would take time and money to cover those tattoos, so it could affect a producer’s decision. If the actor is in demand, we don’t usually care if they have tattoos.

I’m guessing the makeup department might have a different response."

Ever had a production specifically request to NOT bring in actors that are tattooed?


Has a tattoo ever been the deciding factor in a casting decision?  

"Yes. Both for and against."

What advice would you have for actors who are thinking of getting tattooed?  

"Personally, I love tattoos. I have a couple myself.

As an actor, they can be covered if necessary, and often are!  

But, the truth is, if they’re visible, they are noticed and discussed by directors, producers and casting.  It could possibly affect the roles you get – for instance a period piece.  If you’re an actor just starting out, I would suggest doing some research, about how any visible physical modification choices might impact your career, and limit the roles you may be considered for."

Maureen is so cool. She’s also the co-founder of Project Limelight Society; a not-for-profit Performing Arts Program, free for young people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Check it out at

Casting Director, Maureen Webb

Casting Director, Maureen Webb

After hearing what Maureen had to say we started to think - what would the makeup team’s response be?

Tune in next week for our follow-up blog. We will speak to a makeup Artist and an Actress about the pros, cons, logistics, and thrills of covering a tattoo and getting one.

15 years old!

Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective's 15th Anniversary Celebration!

Celebrating Vancouver’s Tattoo and Art Culture



Since 2001, Liquid Amber has been a large contributor to the rise of female tattoo artistry in Vancouver. Over the last 15 years they have flourished to become one of the Vancouver's busiest tattoo studios; hosting six full-time tattoo artist while welcoming guest artists from around the world. Along with being a tattoo studio, Liquid Amber also provides its space for local emerging artists to showcase their artwork.

This milestone event, celebrating Liquid Amber Tattoo’s 15th year in business will feature local burlesque performances by Justine Sane and Melody Mangler as well as live music by local bands Miss Quincy and The Showdown and The Fever.

Door prizes will be given out from generous local businesses, and a silent auction will also be held with original artwork by artists of Liquid Amber, as well as other artists in Vancouver.

Partial proceeds from the art auction will be donated to Girls Rock Camp Vancouver.


Event on Facebook

Tickets available online at  Ticketweb

& at Liquid Amber Tattoo :

62 Powell street in Gastown, Vancouver.
$10 in advance // $15 at the door


August 11th 2016

Doors at 8:30pm

First performance at 9:30pm

Back to back entertainment until late.


Art Auction will close at midnight.


We look forward to celebrating with you!



Why We Get Tattoos 1.5 : Healing the past.

Welcome to “Why We Get Tattoos”, an ongoing blog series outlining the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed. 

The following blog post is the story of an individual with a powerful message about how a tattoo became a way to heal from an abusive past. We would like to thank "L.G", one of Liquid Amber's clients, for sharing this story with us and respect her wish to remain anonymous due to the personal nature of the article.  

L.G. has had a scar on her inner thigh for over two years now.  It has taken her that time to heal both emotionally and physically as the scar was the result of an abusive relationship.  L.G. dated a man who "cut into me to make me his", as she puts it.  

The scar was a constant reminder of a past L.G. was working on overcoming. “Looking down at it, (the scar) I realized I am now old enough to get a tattoo to cover it.” Which was something L.G. was now ready to do. Getting a cover up would be a way for her to regain ownership over her body, which had for too long been abused by someone else.

The issue she is now faced with is what tattoo to get? The tattoo needs to reflect positivity... “I don't want to look down and think of the fact I was his; I want to look down and feel good. It's something I'm still thinking about and I have no idea what I'm going to get. I understand that my memories make me who I am but I don't want a symbol of someone else's ownership over me on my leg, I want something happy. “

For those people who get tattoos to cover scars, it isn’t just about changing their image, it’s about reclaiming their body. See: Changing the Story: Tattooing Over Scars.

The artist at Liquid Amber that L.G. is working with will sit down and listen to her needs before working on a design that reflects her vision. This process can be quick or take months.  It’s important to not rush the process because for L.G... “if you want to make a memory less painful you need the image you tattoo over it to be something special and positive or that memory will still be etched into your skin.”

Story contributed by - Anonymous

Editors - Luvia Petersen & Genevieve Clements

We invite you to share with us your story. What is it that made you get your tattoo?  Did the tattoo change that story or strengthen your intent towards something meaningful? Email us your thoughts to info@liquidambertattoo / subject line “MY STORY”. You might anonymously be featured in an upcoming blog!



Blog Series : “Why we get Tattoos” : 1.4 Memorial tattoos - Holding them close forever.

Written by Genevieve Clements

As social media continues to be a powerful tool for expressing oneself, I have recognized that more and more people are talking about death.  It is in my belief that we discuss death online because we feel free to do so.  The same anonymity that the computer screen offers us when we comment on issues we may not normally speak out on exists around difficult times, like death of a friend or loved one.  As we struggle to find a reason why, social media offers us a vehicle to gather support from friends and family when we are dealing with the many stages of grief.

It can be a beautiful experience to be able to overcome the initial heartache of dealing with loss, by recognizing the beauty of that person’s life. At Liquid Amber Tattoo, we are honoured to be part of this experience for our clients by providing memorial tattoos. When a client is ready, a memorial tattoo can help with closure as part of the grieving process. They offer the client a way to carry that person’s memory in an artistic way;  commemorating their loved one forever.  

Just like any other tattoo, what the memorial tattoo looks like is totally up to the client. Some ask for realistic portraits, images of one’s favourite place or items, and some even contain a small amount of their loved one’s ashes.

The first time I heard about tattooing ashes, I was surprised. I didn’t understand what that meant or what that process would look like. Would this tattoo heal? Would it be sanitary?

The main ingredients in black ink is carbon, cremated ash is essentially carbon.


“Theoretically speaking, providing the ash has been kept sterilized since the cremation, the tattoo artist is able to gather a small pinch of the ash and add it into the tattoo ink and continue the tattoo process as they would normally.” says Justina Kervel, lead artist and owner of Liquid Amber Tattoo.

It’s important to know there are different consistencies of ash. Often, cremated ash will consist of small pieces of bone and pebble like pieces. In order to add ash to tattoo ink, the artist must remove only the finest particles of ash and sterilize them appropriately, often using an autoclave (Pressure chamber that utilizes high pressure saturated steam to sterilize medical equipment & supplies).

Once the ash has been added to the ink, the rest of the tattooing process is normal. Only a minuscule amount of ash will actually penetrate the skin and this should not alter or change the look of your tattoo.

At Liquid Amber Tattoo we want to bring you the highest caliber of knowledge, education and quality tattoos. Until there’s more research done on tattooing with ashes, our artists have decided that we won’t tattoo our clients with ashes in order to guarantee a safe tattoo experience.

Tattooing with ashes has become more and more popular to commemorate both pets and humans. We want to note that tattooing with ashes is not something that’s recommended by Health Canada because the composition of the ashes is unknown and there is potential for adverse reactions and unknown risks.

Memorial tattoo by L.A.T artist, Milo Marcelo.

Memorial tattoo by L.A.T artist, Milo Marcelo.

Memorial pet portrait by L.A.T. artist, Ashley Horncastle.

Memorial pet portrait by L.A.T. artist, Ashley Horncastle.


Thanks for reading : “Why We Get Tattoos” a blog series outlining the many reasons behind getting tattooed.

Written by Genevieve Clements, Liquid Amber Tattoo’s Marketing Manager.

Read more about tattooing with ashes on the National Post

We invite you to share with us your story. What is it that made you get your tattoo? What’s your story? Funny or personal, we’d love to hear it!

Email us your thoughts to / subject line “MY STORY”.  You might be anonymously featured in an upcoming blog!


Why We Get Tattoos 1.3 : Changing the story : Tattooing over scars.

Welcome to the 3rd part of our blog series: “Why We Get Tattoos”; this series touches on the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed. This week's topic is tattooing over scars. If you have a story to tell or have more information to add to this topic, we'd love to hear from you, please email

Scars are part of our lives, they can happen for many reasons and sometimes they can remind us of a situation we’ve had to deal with in the past or are a recent change.  Though scars are permanent, there are many ways to help diminish their appearance. One of the most rewarding experiences for artists in the tattoo industry, is creating a piece of art over something that in the past may have held a negative meaning.

Tattooing directly on scars is always difficult as the ink reacts differently in every piece of scar tissue, it's also tough to predict how the scar will take the ink until the needle hits the skin, and further, how the scar tissue will heal the tattoo.  It’s important to note that tattoos won’t make your scars disappear and the texture of the skin will remain. However, tattooing over this area will hopefully help heal psychologically and allows to look past the difficult things we’ve faced in life; observing our bodies in a new light, as beautiful art.

We’ve had the pleasure to tattoo women who have sometimes felt de-feminized by losing their breast(s) and areola after a mastectomy. Some seek a new areola and others want us to create an image that covers scaring, to help create shape, and show a piece of art where their breast(s) once were. We've also tattooed over many self-harm scars; we feel blessed to have these clients in our shop ready to move on to a new chapter of their life, ready to find beauty in their past. 

It’s important that before you come in for your consultation session you understand that your scar must have healed and remain unchanged for at least a year prior to your tattoo appointment. If you are considering getting regimentation, we often suggest that you visit a permanent makeup artist as they carry more inks that resemble skin tone and use different tattooing methods.

Roses over scars by Rachelle

Roses over scars by Rachelle

We tattoo hundreds of walks of life every year and we’ve almost seen it all. From mastectomy scars, post-surgery scars, c-section scars, stretch marks, scarification, self-harm & laser tattoo removal scars; we’re always happy to make this process feel safe and fun for you. We understand this experience can be full of emotion and we’ll make sure to hold a positive and sensitive space for you.

If you’ve visited our shop before, you know that it’s open-concept; never be afraid to ask for us to bring up the room dividers and pull down the blinds. We are set up to allow for that privacy.

Thanks for reading “Why We Get Tattoos”: a blog series outlining the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed. We invite you to share with us your story. What is it that made you get your tattoo?  Did the tattoo change that story or strengthen your intent towards something meaningful? 

Email us your thoughts or story to info@liquidambertattoo / subject line “MY STORY”. You might anonymously be featured in an upcoming blog!


Why we get tattoos 1.2: MEDICAL TATTOOS: For some the want, for others the need

Often the reasons we get tattooed come from a desire and a want, but can tattoos be practical, or maybe even a medical need?

Welcome to “Why We Get Tattoos”, a blog series outlining the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed.

The WANT :

Over the last few years, we’ve started to see more and more people looking to get medical alert tattoos. For some it is the want to create a piece of artwork that represents their medical condition positively, for others it is the need to replace their medical alert bracelet as they may not be able to wear their jewelry due to allergies or work environments.

Though this is not standardized, medical alert tattoos are becoming more and more popular and medics are slowly becoming aware of this and are looking for these tattoos. That being said, they are trained to look for the medical alert jewelry, so if you are replacing it with a tattoo, don’t stray too far away from the areas where these medical alerts would normally be (ankle, neck line, wrist) and avoid getting too abstract with the design.

One thing to keep in mind with medical alert tattoos, as for any tattoo, they are permanent. Some medical conditions can change over time and it’s important to be able reflect those changes in your condition & communicate how to treat it.  That being said, many conditions are permanent and if it's something that could help you in a medical emergency, this tattoo is definitely worth pursuing. It can also help reduce stigma around your medical condition. Tattoos often invite conversation and can open up the door to speak about your condition in a new light.

Here is one by our own, Milo, for a client with Type 2 diabetes written in a clear location by the wrist for medic identification with a beautiful piece of art to accompany the info. 

As a custom tattoo shop, we would be thrilled to help you create something that represents what you need to communicate.   Looking for a little inspiration? Check out these medical alert tattoos : NOT BY LIQUID AMBER TATTOO ARTISTS.

In conclusion, we also did some research to find out if tattoos are part of anything else in the medical industry.

Turns out that tattoos can be used as an aid in radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is therapy using ionizing radiation, generally as part of cancer treatment to control or kill malignant cells. Radiation therapy is used in a number of types of cancer when they are localized to one area of the body. The preparation of the treatment area is done by marking reference points of the planned field of radiation. The easiest and precise solution to get accurate treatments is done with tattoos. Read more about RadioTherapy Tattoos here :

Thanks for reading, “Why We Get Tattoos” - BLOG 1.2MEDICAL TATTOOS-  This is part of a blog series outlining the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed. 

Our next blog articles will be about tattoos that bring to light the battle with an illness or disease, tributes to loved ones and their medical journeys, and tattoos over scars including the rise of tattooing art over mastectomies. 

We invite you to share with us your story. What is it that made you get your tattoo? Did the tattoo change your story or strengthen your intent towards something meaningful? Email us your thoughts to info@liquidambertattoo / subject line “MY STORY”. You might anonymously be featured in an upcoming blog!


Why do we get tattoos? (Part 1 of a Series)

Now that social stigmas about tattoos are slowly lifting (in some cultures), more and more people are getting tattooed. Which brings up the question of why?

Why do we want and sometimes feel the need to permanently mark our bodies with ink?  Sometimes religion, a love of art,  an infatuation with a certain quote, image, symbol or person; but can we dig deeper and find the root cause and human characteristic that make us commit to the ancient art of tattooing?

Welcome to the introduction to “Why We Get Tattoos”, a blog series outlining the many reasons behind the want and need of getting tattooed. We invite you to share with us your reasons. What is it that made you get your tattoo? 

Check out this awesome article by Vice Magazine.  It’s an interview with a psychologist about why people get tattoos, bad tattoos to be specific but the word “bad”, of course, is completely relative.

Here’s a small exert from the interview with Dr. Kirby Farrell, a University of Massachusetts professor specializing in anthropology, psychology, and history as it relates to human behaviour.

"Tattooing has been around for thousands of years, we're even finding early humans with tattoos. Do you think there is something inherent to human nature that makes us want to tattoo ourselves?

- Sure. The cadaver that was found frozen and preserved in the Alps, which I think is about 5,000 years old—he's in a museum in Italy, you can drop by and say hello—the latest research shows that his body has quite a few tattoos on his skin. They tend to be abstract designs. Based on their locations, it's been hypothesized that they were there to distract from uncomfortable physical things like arthritis. Or possibly, that they have some kind of magical significance. If you think about it, from a certain point of view, as all of our behaviour tends to be very magical in some ways. Imaging that there's some special power in your symbols, in your tagline, in your brand, that somehow elevates your mood, makes you feel stronger, more capable, better about yourself.

 (…) Its physical and artistic representations of values you can identify with. We're in this world now where there's a kind of recurring, sudden racism that we haven't really seen since the 1960s or even since the Civil War. Working conditions are extremely punishing, demanding, and depersonalizing for folks on the bottom. You don't really feel entitled to your own identity. So people feel especially pressured to try to find their own magical reinforcement for things that the culture is not really helping you much with. You see money and injury and death and guilt while people want to feel safe and feel like they're in charge of the world in terms of personal self-esteem and well being."

Read the full article here:

What’s your story? Did the tattoo change that story or strengthen your intent towards something meaningful?

Email us your story & thoughts to / subject line “MY STORY”.  You might be featured anonymously in an upcoming blog!

Coming up next:  “Medical Tattoos: For some the want & for others the need”

How do tattoos work?

Ever wonder how tattoos stay in your skin? 

Let’s start with a quick biology lesson on skin.

There’s 3 main layers in our skin : The Epidermis , the Dermis and the Subcutaneous. 

The Epidermis Layer is in charge of sensing our environment and acting as a barrier to keep infectious organisms out. The epidermis is constantly making new skin cells. This happens at the bottom of the epidermis. The skin cells travel up to the top layer and flake off, about a month after they form.

The Dermis Layer is in charge of many bodily functions including growing hair, bringing blood to your skin, making sweat and also holds the nerves. In our opinion, its most important feature, being home to your professional tattoo! 

The Subcutaneous Layer is primarily a fat tissue layer that hold your dermis to your muscles and bones. It’s role is to help control the regulation of temperature of the skin itself and of the body. The size of this layer varies throughout the body and from person to person.

A properly executed tattoo is done in the dermis skin layer. The needle must penetrate through the ever changing epidermis to allow the ink to settle in the dermis. If ink is settled in the epidermis, much of the tattoo can begin to disappear within weeks of tattooing. However, going too deep and puncturing the subcutaneous layer can cause permanent scarring. It’s often common to see a bruising effect or “blow out” in the subcutaneous layer as the fat tissue in the subcutaneous layer doesn’t hold ink and it tends to spread out beneath the tattoo. Over several months, sometimes years, the ink that has “blown out” can sometimes fade as it get’s reabsorbed and eliminated through the bodies natural healing process. 

Because all bodies are different, and there’s no real way of understanding where that fatty tissue is on every person, it is always a small risk when getting tattooed. However, choosing an experienced & professional artist will minimize your risk of “blow outs”. And of course, there’s always a way to finding a solution to minimize it’s appearance.


White Ink Tattoos

Maybe you've seen Lindsay Lohan’s “Breathe” tattoo on her wrist, perfectly healed and without a doubt re-done over and over again.  Many people have no idea that white ink tattoos exist, and to be perfectly honest, many artists like it that way! Why? Well, first know that this blog entry is coming from my own personal experience. My name’s Genevieve, I’ve worked at Liquid Amber Tattoo over the last 5 years, and I have 6 white ink tattoos from our shop that all healed differently. Here’s a bit of my perspective, and a few reasons why we don’t recommend white ink tattoos. 

My First White Ink Tattoo

As an actor, I'm reminded at every moment that tattoos could cost me the job. That being said, working part time at Liquid Amber as a shop manager without any tattoos was getting a little ridiculous. I had heard about pure white ink tattoos but had never seen it. I felt that I was ready to take the risk because what I wanted tattooed was something very personal; I didn’t want it to be noticeable to others & in the event it turned out as bad as the artists warned, I wouldn’t be too upset.

Tattooing Process

So the process begun; a half hour of stencilling trying to figure out the placement of these symmetrical designs on an asymmetrical human body was a bit of a headache. Once they were placed, the tattoo took a lot longer then expected as we had to avoid mixing the purple stencil pigment in with the ink. The solution was to go around the stencil and create a “blood line”. 


A blood line is tattooing the area with water, creating a scratch in the skin marking the area temporarily. Once that was completed we filled in the area with white ink. In the end, I had bright white tattoos. They were noticeable, bright, and looked like I had used fancy white-out on my skin. But unfortunately that didn't last for long. Once the scabs fell off about a week later, the tattoo was only noticeable in the right light and was fading more day by day.

Healed Tattoo

Tattoo inks sit under the epidermis in the deeper dermis skin layers. Contrary to popular belief, the lighter your skin, the better white ink shows through the epidermis. Unfortunately white ink tends to act quite differently in the skin. It changes it’s appearance over time and can completely disappear. In my case, 2 of my 6 white tattoos completely disappeared. One of them healed incredibly well after a second round of tattooing, another one healed half-okay after the second round and the last two turned out to be just what I had been warned of: brownish, grey like scars that are half visible and look more like a dirty mark then a tattoo even after going over them twice. Simply put, white ink is very unpredictable.

Allergic Reactions & Sunshine

 Body lotions, chemical sunscreens and sunshine are all notorious for affecting white ink tattoos.  It’s very common for people to experience allergic reactions with white ink and some continue to have these reactions while in the sun years after the tattoo has been healed. In my personal experience, 2 of my white ink tattoos completely disappeared within weeks. The day after tattooing, my skin rejected the ink and I had an incredibly itchy tattoo that was way more uncomfortable then it should have been.

Still want a white ink tattoo?

I took photos of my tattoos just so you can get the visual of my experience; why we always recommend choosing a colour or a lighter pigment instead of getting a white ink tattoo. Know that light colours will only appear on fair skin tones, should be in an area that does not get much sun exposure and can still heal a little patchy and change tones as the skin ages, but are usually a better result compared to white ink. Still want a white ink tattoo? Send us a detailed email with what you are interested in getting tattooed and we'll move forward and see if it's possible. Don't forget to include the size, location and photos that help us understand what you want.

In my opinion, you’ll be much happier with the outcome of your tattoo if you choose a colour or black ink. Though I love my white ink tattoos, they really don’t look very good and tend to get itchy in the sun. It’s also important to mention that I’m in position to always get them re touched as I work in a tattoo shop.

Is white ink the same as ultraviolet blacklight ink ?

- No. White ink is completely different then ultraviolet/blacklight/glow-in-the-dark ink. UV ink has changed over the years, and it's probably better than it was when it first came out, but it hasn't been out long enough for us not to have concerns over the long term effects and if it's safe in the skin. Because of this, none of our artists have or will use UV ink.

Can I get a large detailed tattoo in white ink?

-If one of our artists agrees to do a white ink tattoo, it's generally when they are only done with simple lines. That being said, white ink is best used for highlights. It’s a perfect finishing touch to add to the details of colour or black and grey tattoos.

I have a lot of heavy black work and I’d like to tattoo white ink on top of it and embellish my black work, is this possible?

 -It depends on the tattoo, how you heal, and how you take care of the tattoo as to how this could end up looking. Book a consult with one of our artists and we can see if there’s a way for us to accommodate your concept. Our artist Crystal has tattooed over her own black work and she has expert advice on what to expect.

World Mental Health Day - Oct 10, 2015

Liquid Amber Tattoo is proud to announce that we will be donating 100% of all tattoo profits to Canadian Mental Health Association- BC Division on Saturday October 10th, 2015 to contribute to an important cause and raise awareness for World Mental Health Day

We would like to extend this invitation to everyone interested in celebrating their story through tattoos, which to many represent bringing to light stories of hope, recovery, tragedy and persistence that illustrate the effects of mental illness. 


Did you know that mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada? According to a survey conducted in 2008, just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes. It’s important to recognize that in 2008, 42% of Canadians were unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness.

Thankfully, things have changed for the better. According to a survey conducted earlier this year, 57% of Canadians believe that the stigma associated with mental illness has been reduced compared to 5 years ago, 81% are more aware of mental health issues compared to 5 years ago, 70% believe attitudes about mental health issues have changed for the better compared to 5 years ago. Though we’ve seen an increase of awareness, there’s still a long ways to go.

Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community. We wanted to outline Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW, October 5th-11th). In our community many of us have been directly affected by this illness, whether it be ourselves or close friends and family members. There’s nothing easy about mental illness and this broad term can carry many definitions. We believe that simply opening up this conversation to our readers and followers promotes knowledge and takes away from the mystery of mental health. page1image20744 page1image20904 page1image21064

As we are a studio creating permanent art, Liquid Amber is constantly connecting with individuals who want to share and empower themselves through telling a story with tattoo, so to this we want to give back.

Unsure of how you would like to take action & get inspired? Check out the following...

Project Semicolon 
"A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.” Although tattoos were not originally a part of this project, they have helped make this movement well known internationally across social media.

Get Involved with Canadian Mental Health Association:
Visit this page for information on how you can donate, volunteer & become a member. (3 branches near Vancouver!)

“Promote acceptance and actively challenge social stereotypes. Through powerful words and actions, we will shift the social and systemic barriers for those living with mental health conditions and encourage acceptance and understanding.” Visit the following link to sign the pledge.

Need to talk? Check out Agora Cares, and options through Canadian Mental Health Assosiation in British Columbia

Sources :


Cover ups, laser removal and options on changing a tattoos appearance.

It happens to the best of us, that "awesome" idea for a tattoo that ends up actually not being the greatest idea, and now you're sick of looking at it. So we come to the tattoo crossroads; the old tattoo has got to go- but how?

While tattoo removal is often a really good place to start and will open up your options as to what you can do over the tattoo, it can also be extremely painful, require multiple sessions and is costly.

If laser removal is not a route you want to take, there are other options to changing up your tattoo. This post is meant to share with you what we can do to help so that you go home with a piece of art on your body that you can be proud of.

Cover-up in progress by Justina Kervel

Cover-up in progress by Justina Kervel

First, how does laser tattoo removal work? 

Tattoo removal lasers work by producing short pulses of intense light that pass through the top layers of the skin. This laser causes the tattoo pigment to fragment into smaller particles that are then removed by the body's immune system.

The type of laser used in tattoo removal depends on the tattoo's pigment colors. Yellow and green ink are the hardest colors to remove but darker inks like blue and black are the easiest. Eventually the tattoo fades, but it can take months, likely many sessions, and may end up being very costly. Many of our artists have had some of their tattoos removed and they can help share with you their personal experience.

And now the cover up

The general rule of thumb is that tattoos that need to be covered up must be covered with a design about 3 times their original size if no laser removal is done. Sometimes only a couple removal sessions are required to lighten up your existing tattoo and we can work with what you’ve got to expand your options for what could go over your existing piece. If no laser is done then the options may be limited, including what colours will cover, and how big the new piece will need to be.

Depending on what is required to create a cover-up, and what kind of art you like, will determine which artist is suitable to cover your old tattoo. If you send us an email and attach a photo to the email of your existing tattoo and a description with any reference images of things you like, we can help guide you toward the right plan of action.

The easiest ways of avoiding a cover up is to make sure you've taken plenty of time to think about what you are getting, and that you extensively research on which artists you will trust to mark you permanently. It sounds quite redundant, but the reality is that sometimes in the excitement of the event we forget to think about the reality of tattoos. They will (theoretically) last forever and their meaning and your connection to this tattoo can change. Always take time to think about what it is you want tattooed, but keep in mind, all of the artists at Liquid Amber Tattoo do custom designs and if you like their art (as you should if you are getting tattooed by them) then you should save room for their artistic eye and opinion. They can help you with an idea that will look great and make the old one look like it never even existed!

Here are a couple of examples of coverups done at LAT: