People were shocked when they visited Benjamin Lloyd’s Facebook page, only to discover images of him tattooing young kids! At first people were like ‘wtf’ is this?! But then, when they saw all the smiles, as well as the snazzy artwork, things became clear. All Lloyd really wanted was ’50 likes’ but he ended up getting a whole bunch more…
At First Glance
At first glance, you might be somewhat disturbed to see tattoo artist Benjamin Lloyd inking little kids. But if you read the backstory as to why, your horror will quickly turn into heartwarming. This story is pretty incredible.
His Love Of Art
Benjamin Lloyd is a 25-year-old artist from Auckland, New Zealand. His fascination with art began at a very young age. Even as a kid, he’d constantly be doodling all over his hands and arms.
Sharing His Talent
As Benjamin got older, his amazing artwork began to receive critical acclaim. In early 2016, his work on a huge mural in Auckland was featured in a local newspaper. People just loved his work.
An Unexpected Turn
In May 2016 his art suddenly took a very different and unexpected route. Lloyd posted pictures on Facebook of what appeared to be him giving 5 year old boy, Jin Whitehead a tattoo – yes a 5 year old! Perhaps unsurprisingly, that post went viral.
the Power Of Social Media
Suddenly, overnight, the post had received a staggering 400,000 likes and 11,000 comments! Understandably though, many people were shocked by what they were seeing. And the reason? Well it’s not cool to tattoo kids, right? But all was not as it seemed.
Rather than using real tattooing inks and needles on these kids, Lloyd had created the artwork using an airbrush. “I use organic non-toxic ink, so it’s completely safe, and doesn’t hurt one bit,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Remembering The Past
As a kid, Benjamin was bullied for having a burn on his hand. He used to draw over it so it couldn’t be seen. As an adult, though, this inspired him to want to help other kids who were suffering with burns or even other illnesses in one way or another. He wanted to give these kids a reason to be cheerful.
Something Good From A Tragedy
Before tattooing Jin, Lloyd had tattooed other friends’ kids and even his own stepson Lincoln. Tragically, Lincoln passed away 2 years ago aged just 7. Benjamin strongly believed that theses temporary tats had given him a real boost and decided he wanted to help more kids get the same boost.
In fact, in his original Facebook post, Lloyd wrote “Nothing brings me more joy than boosting a kids confidence with a custom tattoo 50 likes and i’ll go to starship hospital and tat all the kids up. It’s airbrushed on. (not permanent) peace” Well, his post did a lot better than 50 likes, but around 8,000 times better! Benjamin was determined to keep his promise.
Starship Children’s Health
Starship Children’s Health is a major children’s hospital in Auckland. As well as offering state-of-the-art pediatric care to children in New Zealand and beyond, it also serves as a major teaching hospital.
Cheering The Kids Up
The children’s hospital deals with a lot of very sick kids, some of which are suffering from life-threatening and debilitating illnesses such as cancer. If any kids deserve cheering up, then it’s for sure these guys!
Keeping To His Word
“Nothing brings me more joy than boosting a kid’s confidence with a custom tattoo,” Lloyd posted on Facebook. As promised, he made his way down to the children’s hospital to give some of the kids there a real treat.
Interestingly, Lloyd has the airbrushing process down to a fine art and can finish a single tattoo in as little as 9 minutes.Not many kids would be able to sit still for hours in a tattoo chair so this works out great!
Part of the reason Benjamin can get through the tats so fast is because he uses stencils for a lot of the designs. For the hospital visit, he prepares pre-cut designs of superheroes, such as Spider-Man as well as roses, skulls etc.
The Kids Look And Feel Awesome
“The kids are so amazed,” said Lloyd. “As soon as they get the tattoo it boosts their confidence.” And you can see why. The temporary tattoos he’s been giving these kids look totally awesome.
There is only one downside to this though. “The only bad thing is that they don’t want to take a shower afterwards,” he explained. To be honest, we probably wouldn’t want to either.
His Next Move
Other parents of children at the hospital also wanted him to tattoo their kids too,. They posted pictures of the youngsters on Facebook. But Lloyd was already one step ahead.
Facebook Made Him Think
The popularity of his Facebook post had gone far beyond any of his expectations. Soon after posting it, he was receiving about 5 private messages every minute from people asking for a temporary tattoo, and that got him thinking.
He wanted to try and help as many kids as he could through his art, so he set up a crowd-funding page to raise money for his cause. “I have been inspired to now travel the world and donate my talent to create smiles to those in need,” he wrote on the page.
Not Just Skin Deep
His next stop was a local medical center that helps children born with learning difficulties. The beauty of Lloyd’s artworks might only be skin deep, but their positive impact of these kids, giving them such a confidence boost, goes a whole lot further than that.
[Featured image credit: www.facebook.com/BenjaminLloydCollection]