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

Vanderhoof eligible for up to $6M in provincial infrastructure funding

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Over 2,000 people used the pool in the first 2-weeks

Lifeguard training course needs a minimum of six people to register before Feb. 21

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Most Read