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Culture » Art Watch

Escape Artist

Tattoo removal expert can erase your troubled past



Katie Hester fixes mistakes—the ones that could derail your whole life.

It's one thing to make bad choices. But it's a whole other matter to wind up in a tattoo parlor etching them permanently onto your skin. Hester, a Bend native who doubles as a licensed massage therapist at Earth Body Massage, works as a tattoo removal specialist, using lasers to remove the ink her clients no longer want.

Sure, it could simply be the name of your ex-girlfriend. But it might be a lot worse; think gang symbols or even racist slogans. "I've seen swastikas," Hester says. "Also elbow spider webs on people who didn't realize it's a sign for prison time."

Now you can start to see why people need her help. Imagine trying to explain those markings to potential employers, or even a date. Still, Hester often needs to remind clients that tattoo removal takes both time and patience. A typical procedure could take eight to 10 sessions.

Her newest venture, Project Erase Hate, enables those with gang-related or racist tattoos to receive a half-off discount. She's even starting to take online donations that go toward helping those who need hateful tattoos removed but can't afford it – even with the discount.  Hester does this through her one-woman business, Fade Out, located inside the larger Monolith Tattoo Studio.

Mostly, she's looking to "help those who rushed into it too fast, or didn't do their research." Clients can choose to either fade old ink and cover it up with new art, or fade it until it's gone. "It's my way of giving back," she says, "so people can move forward with their lives."

Fade Out/Project Erase Hate

1050 SE 3rd St., Bend


By Appointment Only

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