A symbol can have a powerful meaning, and two local tattoo artists are offering tattoos of specific symbols to raise money for the Indiana Coalition to Stop Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Local tattoo artists Nathan Underneath and Griffin Freehling are raising money for Indiana Coalition to Stop Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking through the sale of 25 tattoo designs until the end of May.
“Someone came in and had asked me for a tattoo of this symbol and didn’t really openly talk about it too much,” Underneath said. “So I kind of did my own research about what the symbol meant, and, come to find out, it’s called the Survivor Symbol and it represents being safe to come talk to if you have a story to share about sexual assault or domestic violence.”
He thought that was a “really cool thing” in “just the secret communication to help fight the problem since not everybody deals with their trauma the same way. Some people may not want to openly talk about it, but they still want to be a support system for other people.”
When Underneath opened the Moving Pictures Tattoo Cinema, 112 E. Center St., Warsaw, in 2019, he promised to be active in the community and do things to positively impact the community.
They came up with 25 designs for the fundraiser, which started last week.
“We didn’t want to do them at a discounted rate because then it sounds like we’re profiting from people’s suffering. What we wanted to do was offer people a safe place to go with high-quality work that they can get something to heal in that way, if that’s the way they choose to heal,” Underneath said.
While they’re charging full price for the tattoos, they’re not keeping any of the money. Until the end of May, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the 25 symbol tattoos will be donated to the Indiana Coalition to Stop Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking.
“We thought that was kind of a good umbrella since they finance houses for all types of abuse. We didn’t want to just pigeonhole it to one trauma because we don’t know what type of suffering people are survivors of, we’re just here to offer a creative outlet for them to heal with,” he said.
The tattoos are between $100 to $400, and can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire day, depending on size and location.
Some of the 25 symbols are variations of the same one, just different colors, while are others are “more symbolic of mental health and healing in general,” Freehling said. The main symbol was started by music artist and actress Lady Gaga.
“So it’s a flower for new beginnings, but then the fire is on top. So she combined and flowers, and that’s was the symbol is derived from,” Underneath said.
The tattoos will still be available after May, but Underneath said he wanted to have a deadline for collecting the money for the Indiana Coalition to Stop Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking.
To schedule a tattoo, a person can stop by the downtown Warsaw studio to review the designs and schedule an appointment. The designs also are posted on the Moving Pictures Tattoo Cinema Facebook page and Instagram.
The studio is generally open Tuesday through Saturday, 2 to 10 p.m., though Underneath said their hours may extend a little later and the studio sometimes is open seven days a week.
“We can be accommodating to people. Schedules tend to flex a little bit,” he said.
The telephone number is 574-267-MPTC (6782).
If a person just wants to donate to Indiana Coalition to Stop Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking and not get a tattoo, Underneath said they will accept those donations, too.