Now you can have a tattoo that really speaks to you.
A new technology is being called “cutting edge” for its ability to tune into a new sense: sound.
They’re called “sound wave tattoos” and the new style is making waves across the U.S. and is just beginning to gain popularity in Canada, explained Surrey resident and tattoo artist Lee Ozeki.
Ozeki said he is one of approximately 200 artists in the world licensed to create the “Skin Motion” sound wave tattoos, noting he’s one of about seven in the country – and the only in western Canada.
The new technology launched worldwide in January, he said.
As Ozeki puts it, “the sky is the limit.”
It could be a recording of a mother’s voice, or a child’s laughter. An animal’s bark. A baby’s heartbeat. Trees rustling. Birds chirping.
“That’s the beauty of it: it can be anything you could possibly imagine,” he said.
(Lee Ozeki demonstrates how one of his sound wave tattoos works. Photo: Amy Reid)
How does it all work?
“There’s an app that’s on your phone — iOS or Android — and you download the app. You get any kind of sound… and upload the sound for a minimal cost then we tattoo it on you,” he said. “It takes about 24 hours for the algorithm to capture the sound wave and be able to play back on your phone.”
Ozeki, who works at BodyMods Studio in Surrey, estimated he’s done about a dozen sound wave tattoos so far: One for his girlfriend, Eleanor Reed, about two weeks ago.
Reed, a Squamish native, chose the sound of the ocean to be incorporated into a tattoo of a lighthouse scene on her right forearm.
“The ocean has always meant a lot to me,” she told the Now-Leader. “It’s always kind of symbolized home and peace so I wanted to get the ocean as a sound wave and wanted to incorporate a picture around it, which is what we did.
“It’s really cool and really personal to me,” she added.
(Eleanor Reed shows off her sound wave tattoo. Photo: Amy Reid)
While some choose to have the sound wave itself tattooed on their body, Reed opted to have her sound wave be negative space within a larger tattoo.
“I love it,” Reed smiled. “To be honest, when he first started talking about the sound waves I was a little bit skeptical of it just because it’s not something I’d ever heard of before. It’s new. But I love it, I’m so happy with it.”
You could memorialize someone in a really special way, noted Reed.
“They’d be with you forever,” she mused — just as comforting ocean sounds are forever with her.
Nathan Arnold, one of the partners who runs BodyMods, said “if you’re looking for that next-level, personal tattoo, this it is.”
“It’s absolutely cutting edge,” Arnold elaborated. “There’s nothing more personal or customized.”
Arnold said he and his business partner have always tried hard to “keep ahead of the curve” since jumping into the tattoo industry in 2001, but they hadn’t heard of this technology until Ozeki introduced them to the idea.
“I’ve been at it for 16 years and it’s probably among the top three coolest innovations I’ve seen in the industry,” he said. “The next thing, I think, is going to be things that are physically interactive but for now, this is pretty darn close. It’s just so cool.”
So, will Ozeki be getting a sound wave tattoo of his own?
“The problem with me getting one is I’d have to find a licensed tattoo artist to be able to do it for me,” he laughed. “Unless I tattoo it on myself. But, again, you’ve got to be very precise on the waves because if you mess up one of the waves then the whole thing doesn’t work.”
For more information on sound wave tattoos and how the technology works, visit skinmotion.com.
Call Ozeki at the BodyMods Studio in Surrey at 604-593-6633 or visit them online at bodymods.ca.
You can also check out their Facebook page, The Studio by BodyMods.
The Surrey studio is located at 107-8484 162nd St.