Tattoos are not for the faint of heart or those prone to fainting. But in the hands of a trusted professional, they are nothing to be afraid of. Skilled artists have plenty of experience, so they know what needs to be done to keep the process safe and sterile. There’s minimal risk involved, except the risk every person takes of hating the tattoo years later.
DIY tattoos, on the other hand, are danger personified. (Raise your hand if you have a regrettable tat somewhere on your body inspired by alcohol and executed by a friend armed with a needle and a bottle of India ink.) Dazed & Confused reports that there’s a new device in the works that will take stick-and-poke culture to the next level: U.K. Royal College of Art graduate student Jakub Pollág has invented the Personal Tattoo Machine, which is exactly what it sounds like. Gulp.
Interestingly, Pollág says that the mission of the machine is to “enhance tattoos that are not about aesthetics; instead, their main function is to reflect meaningful memories.” That means that you’re not going to get a work of art out of it, so if you want a lifelike portrait of your childhood dog, look elsewhere.
Pollág’s goal is to “democratize” the tattoo industry by making body art cheaper and easier to obtain. He plans to retail the gun for around $75 to $90 U.S. dollars, which is about a third of the price of a good-quality tattoo from a pro. But is democratizing tattooing a brilliant way to encourage creative people to record poignant memories in a permanent way, or is it more like, say, democratizing at-home surgery? We’ll say one thing: Health codes exist for a reason.