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

Big Valley Bustout Rodeo, a must-see event

Cowboys and cowgirls spur up July 26th, 27th

Eleventh Annual Battle River Ride for STARS flies past goals

There is also a STARS ride near Rumsey in late summer every year

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of two children

The RCMP can confirm that these children were siblings

Coronation RCMP encouraging residents to join the #9PMRoutine

It’s 9 p.m. Are you locked up and secure for the night?

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Most Read