Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

When Chris Wenzel knew he was going to die, he had an unusual request for his wife.

The well-known Saskatoon tattoo artist asked that his ink-adorned skin be removed and preserved before he was buried. He wanted his kids and grandkids to see his life’s work long after he was gone.

“He thought that would be really cool,” his wife, Cheryl Wenzel, said Wednesday. “I thought, that’s different but, yeah, that’s cool.

“I don’t care what it takes. I’m going to get this done for him.”

Her 41-year-old husband, owner of Electric Underground Tattoos, died after an illness on Oct. 28. Before his death, he discovered Save My Ink Forever, a U.S.-based company that preserves tattoos.

RELATED: B.C. artist featured on T.V. series highlighting Indigenous tattoo artistry

His wife contacted the company which had never worked on such a scale before. There were only a few parts of her husband’s body that weren’t covered in artwork and he wanted all his finished tattoos preserved.

Kyle Sherwood, the company’s chief operating officer, went to Saskatoon to surgically excise Wenzel’s skin from 70 per cent of his entire body and preserve it with a special formula in a frame.

The entire job will cost about $80,000 and take about three months.

Cheryl Wenzel was in the room with Sherwood when he began removing the skin.

“I was able to point out which tattoos (Chris) wanted.”

Wenzel’s passion for tattoos was evident from a young age when he inked his aunt at nine years old, she said.

“He just fell in love with it. He fell in love with art and had such a passion for tattoos,” she said. “He would say he was a slave to the needle because he loved to tattoo so much.”

Her husband’s skin art will eventually hang on the wall of his tattoo studio, Wenzel said.

“You can hang a picture on a wall. You can do so many different forms of art,” she said. “A tattoo is something that has been done for hundreds of years. It’s just preserving it.”

Sherwood said his company has preserved hundreds of tattoos, but the work he’s doing on Chris Wenzel is the largest-scale preservation in North America. He removed seven designs from the artist’s back, chest, legs and arms.

“This is pretty ground-breaking,” he said.

Sherwood doesn’t normally travel to do his work, but he didn’t trust anyone else to do the job.

Preserving her husband’s artwork is a fitting tribute to a man with a “great spirit,” Cheryl Wenzel said. But she added it’s more for their children, nine and 13, who are already showing promise following in their father’s footsteps.

“This tribute means the world to them,” she said. “This is something they knew dad wanted and it’s something that dad’s going to get.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Locals shine in Rumble in Rock Creek

Young B.C. boxers slugged it out at the Rock Creek Fair Grounds last Saturday

Grand Forks woman assaulted in home invasion

The incident took place Wednesday morning

Students rock Greenwood Community Hall

Grade 6 and 7 students performed songs from every decade since the 1950s

Your flower garden could be harbouring invasive species

Seeds for invasive species often hid in wildflower seed packs

Interior Health study offers take-home drug testing kits to spot fentanyl

Interior Health to evaluate safety of at home drug testing kits aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoses

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

Most Read