The Art of Vegan Tattooing

Everything you always wanted to know about vegan tattoos (but were unaware to ask) can be found via a December 13th Q&A profile of Los Angeles filmmaker, bike activist and meatless ink meister James Spooner.

The website ThisDishisVegetarian.com produces consistently entertaining and well-researched content. Among the many factoids shared by Spooner is the idea that while most inks are already made with vegetable glycerine, it can get tricky when dealing with the essential color of black.

“A lot of companies use Shellac in their [black] ink, which is some kind of bug excrement. I’m not sure which orifice it comes out of, but either way I cool without it. Some crazy companies still use bone char in their black so that is also something to look out for.

The other things to think about are all the ointments, soaps and aftercare used. I’ve read that the industry standard green soap uses an animal based glycerine. I use Dr. Bronners, which is making waves in the industry.

It’s complicated being a true vegan tattooer. Spooner also explains that he has had to consider ways of getting around the gelatin coatings on razors and stencil paper.