On Sunday I profiled New Zealand tattoo artist Matt Jordan. In that post, I spoke about the earthquake in Christchurch last week and the tragic consequences that were brought about by the disaster. I certainly don’t want to give the impression that only tattooists were affected by the quake, but since we are a tattoo blog and since the tattoo community often sticks together through the good and bad, it’s important to acknowledge this tragic loss as well.
Christchurch’s Southern Ink Tattoo was hit too hard by last week’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Tattooist Matt Parkin has just gone outside for a little break in order to write in his journal, when the quake hit. A client of his, Emma Rox had just come out to talk with him. They were both forced to flee down an alley as the buildings around them – including Southern Ink Tattoo – collapsed.
‘”I saw Emma following me, the whole back of the buildings along the alley were just falling. Then I looked back and Emma had disappeared in a cloud of dust. I thought ‘she’s gone’ and I had to keep on running.”‘
Tragically, Parkin and Rox were the only two to escape from Southern Ink before it collapsed. Inside the studio were tattooist Bonnie Singh and Parkin’s apprentice Matti McEachen. Miraculously, Bonnie Singh managed to climb her way out of the collapsed structure despite her back having been broken in six places. 25-year-old McEachen wasn’t as fortunate and died after being buried beneath the rubble.
‘Once Ms Singh emerged from the rubble, others had arrived and were digging to find Mr McEachen.
“The rubble was just too heavy. They uncovered enough of Matti to know that he hadn’t survived,” said Mr Parkin, who saw his apprentice’s legs and fell to his knees in shock.
“There was no point in digging. I didn’t want to see him, not like that. Just moments before I had rubbed him on the back and complimented him on his shoes … and then bang, he was gone. Just like that.”‘
Remembering McEachen, Matt Parkin’s wife Jak said that McEachen’s favourite saying was identical to the manner in which he lived his life: “The best way to eliminate a negative is to replace it with a positive.” It will certainly take many positives to ever eliminate the massive negative that this quake has cast upon the lives of Christchurch residents and beyond. I wanted to send the family and friends of Matti McEachen and all others irreversibly affected by the Christchurch earthquake my sincerest condolences and hopes for a better future.