Darwin tattoo artist's post-breast reconstruction tattoo photos go viral.


A Darwin tattoo artist has been inundated with requests from across Australia after posting pictures of her client’s double mastectomy breast art to social media.

Mim d’Abbs has been a tattoo artist for 21 years and usually produces “the same sort of tattoos that most parlours get the privilege of doing”.

Darwin tattoo artist Mim d’Abbs is “gobsmacked” by the response to her client’s breast tattoo artwork.

Last month a woman emailed Ms d’Abbs’ tattoo parlour with a query about having her breasts tattooed following breast reconstruction following breast cancer.

“I’ve had a lot of requests to tattoo over scars on stomachs [but] that was the first time I’ve had a request to do a post-operative double mastectomy,” Ms d’Abbs said.

Ms d’Abbs said the subsequent consultation was surprisingly easy and the woman was quickly booked in for her desired floral design.

“It was just one picture [of] some gentle negative-positive reverse, where the skin forms the flowers,” Ms d’Abbs explained.

“They sort of look like a cross between lilies and lotus.”

Producing the woman’s breast tattoo

On Wednesday the woman sat for the tattoo in what Ms d’Abbs said was a “pleasant and fluid process”.

“We drew the design on. We only had to draw it on once,” she said.

“It sat beautifully and we were both pleased with it [and] it took a lot less time than I thought it would.


“The skin was really good for tattooing. I wasn’t sure, as working over scar tissue can be problematic.

“I thought it might take all day and it took three and half hours. She was a really brave woman.”

Ms d’Abbs has lost a friend to breast cancer and said producing the artwork was a “an incredibly important” moment in her career.

The image that went viral after Mim d’Abbs posted it to social media on Wednesday night.

“It was probably the most emotional I’ve been about a tattoo,” she said.

“I was very honoured to have the opportunity to make a difference to how somebody viewed themselves who had been dealt not such a great hand.”

Ms d’Abbs’ tattoo parlour generally posts its client work to its Facebook page, which has almost 9,000 followers.

“I asked her what her view was [on posting her artwork] and she said it was a very positive and important thing to post it.”

Less than 24 hours after being posted to Facebook, the woman’s tattoo photos had been shared 14,000 times and liked by 175,000 people.

Ms d’Abbs said she was “gobsmacked” by the response, which includes queries from other Australian women with similar post-operative double mastectomy scars.

Important options for women

Ms d’Abbs did not want to speak for her client’s motivation for receiving the tattoo but understood the importance for a woman who had survived breast cancer.


“As a woman, let’s face it, your femininity is important,” she said.

“Women [may] want a different option after reconstructive surgery that isn’t cosmetic tattooing or maybe they just want an opportunity to do something else with their bodies.

“It’s really nice for people to realise [tattooing] is there if they’re interested in it and having options is important and feeling good about yourself is important.

“If that’s an empowering thing to do then it’s important that it’s out there.

“It needs to be talked about. It’s not a stigma.

“I think that people who have survived a battle like that should be able to whatever they bloody well want with their bodies.”

Take a look through Mamamia’s gallery of kick ass post-breast reconstruction tattoos:


A version of this story was originally published on ABC.

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