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

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Comedians with a cause bring their charity fundraising tour to Ladysmith

Tickets are $15 and proceeds go toward Cowichan Cat Rescue

49ers AA Peewee coach Shawn Freer speaks on successful season

Throughout their regular season and tournament play, the 49ers lost only three games

Toth’s comeback results in sudden-death playoff victory

Victoria golfer rallies from four shots down to take prestigious Mount Brenton title

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

Nanaimo company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs for therapy treatment

Salvation Botanicals interested in manufacturing, testing and research and development

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

VIDEO: Seniors at B.C. assisted living facility shocked by Oct. 1 eviction notice

Building owners terminate lease for McGuire Lake Congregate Living in Salmon Arm

Most Read