Tattoo Artist, Igor Mortis, Participates in Skinny On Skin Program

Aug 31, 2021

The Skinny On Skin is a program IMPACT Melanoma launched to aide stylists, estheticians, nail technicians, bodyworkers (tattoo artists), and other health and skin professionals as training aimed to educate these frontline professionals to recognize suspicious lesions on their clients’ skin. At the sight of such a lesion, the program positions the trainee to encourage their client to seek medical care as needed from a dermatologist or other health professional for an official diagnosis in a further effort to combat skin cancer diagnoses nationwide using an eLearning lesson, the training is digital and can be found here on our website. That said, we encourage this sort of thing to anyone with an interest, and, lucky for us, there are interested, kind, and passionate people who do just that.

Today we’d like to highlight one such partner in prevention, Igor Mortis of TigerLily Tattoo out of Portland, Oregon who utilized the Skinny On Skin program is a professional development initiative. Read on to learn how Igor got involved with IMPACT and what his thoughts are on the benefits of the Skinny On Skin program.

Tell us about your profession. What does the day-to-day entail? What do you enjoy about your work? 

I’m a tattoo artist in Portland, OR. I apply tattoos on people. I design a tattoo for clients based on what they are looking for and then we go from there. Most of the time customers have an idea of what they are looking for. I help them through the process, they decide which is the one for them.

I’ve interviewed a lot of folks for their involvement in this program in the past, but never a tattoo artist… Did you take this course by yourself, or was there a concerted team effort? 

I took the course myself. Here in Oregon, I am required to take continued education and had been looking for something like the Skinny On Skin course. Being a tattoo artist, I see a lot of skin. I thought it would be a good thing but couldn’t find anything like what I had in mind and then happened to received information through OHSU who was promoting this course.

I thought the Skinny On Skin course was well set up and I learned many things I didn’t know before taking it. I especially liked the section in the course that teaches you how to break the news (if you see something suspicious) to the client. It’s mostly common sense, but you shouldn’t make a diagnosis since we are not a doctor. I felt the length of the course was just right – about 45 minutes. I have since pointed some lesions to my client. I might say, “Have you had that looked at? I would suggest doing so to be safe.”

At quick glance, I see you’ve been tattooing for decades. Did I see an R. Crumb tattoo in your portfolio on the Tiger Lily site? That’s pretty incredible… That said, what’s the strangest tattoo you’ve done? 

Yes, that is correct I’ve had this since 1987. At this point, nothing is strange to me.

How did you learn about IMPACT Melanoma?

Through the OHSU Department of Dermatology.

What do you appreciate about the Skinny On Skin program? What were some of your key takeaways?

The descriptions and photos of irregular and normal moles were very good. I also very much liked the section “how to talk to your clients.” There was nothing missing or lacking in the course.

What is your own personal philosophy in regard to sun safety? Have anything to share? 

I lived in Hawaii for 4 years, I always walked in the shade and my tattoos still look great! It’s important to keep tattoos out of the sun so they don’t fade, so as a bonus you are also protecting yourself from skin cancer by having a tattoo!

What sort of impact does this program leave on your direct community, and, in turn, an extended network/community? 

In this business, a lot of it is word of mouth. I tell my fellow artists about this course and his friend the barber, etc. And if he then mentions it to his clients and if they go to their doctor, that will help him.

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It’s advocates like Igor that are helping us to collectively make a great IMPACT in communities around the United States and beyond. Consider getting involved. If you’d like to take the course or become a Skinny On Skin Ambassador visit www.impactmelanoma.org.

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