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An optical illusion temporary tattoo. Point your finger at someone and remind them: "THOU ART MORTAL."
An optical illusion temporary tattoo. Point your finger at someone and remind them: "THOU ART MORTAL."
148 backers pledged $1,457 to help bring this project to life.
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$1,457

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**DOUBLE-UP STRETCH GOAL UNLOCKED!**

Thanks to the fantastic support, we've hit the "Double-666 Devil Death Goal" of $1332! Each $5 pledge will now receive TWO Memento Mori Tattoo sheets for their same pledge. $35 Mortality Party Pack will be upgraded from ten to (unlucky) 13 tattoos!

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To reduce vainglory and self-importance, victorious Generals in Ancient Rome would receive Memento Mori: a constant reminder of the fleeting nature of celebrity and acclaim, and that THOU ART MORTAL. Basically: "Be humble. We all die someday so don't be an a-hole."  

In The Ambassadors (1533), master painter Hans Holbein depicts two men, surrounded by the accoutrements of a learned and cultured society. In the lower part of the painting, an elongated object slashes up and to the right, apparently in front of the posing gentlemen. When seen from a specific, oblique angle, the object is revealed as a skull. Holbein’s skull is a memento mori. An art theme since antiquity, the memento mori skull is found on timepieces, funerary structures, painting and sculpture aimed at keeping us humble in the face of inevitable death. 

Left: Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors (1533) (National Gallery, London). Right: The strange angled blob in the foreground is revealed as a skull when viewed from an oblique angle.
Left: Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors (1533) (National Gallery, London). Right: The strange angled blob in the foreground is revealed as a skull when viewed from an oblique angle.

What if you could carry a memento mori skull with you everywhere you go? Introducing the Memento Mori Tattoo! Want to reduce some vainglory out there? Place it on the side of your index finger, point at someone and remind them: THOU ART MORTAL! Want to humble yourself? Point at yourself in the mirror: I AM MORTAL!

Point at someone to remind them: "THOU ART MORTAL!"
Point at someone to remind them: "THOU ART MORTAL!"

The Memento Mori Tattoo uses similar optical illusion principles employed by Holbein in The Ambassadors. The illusion is an anamorphosis, or oblique perspective. When seen from the correct angle, the distorted image becomes clear. I scanned Holbein's skull and digitally skewed it to geometrically work on your finger. Instead of walking around to find the correct vantage point, you point the illusion at someone.

Your $5 pledge gets you 4 tattoos on one sheet: large and small (for different size fingers) and in high-contrast black and subtle magenta. Cut and share!
Your $5 pledge gets you 4 tattoos on one sheet: large and small (for different size fingers) and in high-contrast black and subtle magenta. Cut and share!

Your $5 pledge gets you four (4!) temporary tattoos on one 2"x2" (5x5cm) sheet: large and small (for different size fingers) and in high-contrast black and subtle magenta. Cut and share! 

The tattoos are printed in the USA, produced with FDA-approved ingredients and exceed USA, Canadian, and EU safety standards. Safe for kids and adults everywhere! They're easy to apply and easy to take off; they're temporary. Just like you.

Devil Double-up Stretch Goal!

In honor of hitting $666—Devils! Death! We're all mortal!—I'm offering a stretch goal. If we hit $1332 (double-666), I will double all the $5 rewards. That's right: your $5 pledge will get you two tattoo sheets! Twice the mortality! For you $35 backers of the Mortality Party Pack, I will add three more to make your ten pack an unlucky 13!

How can I afford to do this? My tattoo printer offers volume price breaks, so if I can get to the next tier of ordering (250), I can save on the order and pass that on to all my lovely backers!

So get the word out, share with your friends and social networks. Remember: the stretch goal only comes into effect when we hit $1332. The more people who back the project, the closer we get to doubling your reward.

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Music: Advent Chamber Orchestra, Handel: Concerto for Organ and Orchestra Op.7 no.1, 3rd movement; YACHT, "The Afterlife (Instrumental)"

Risks and challenges

I've run test batches of the tattoos, and am confident in their quality and accurate geometry to deliver the optical illusion effect. However, there is a chance your fingers are really crooked or something weird and the skull looks a little wavy.

There's also a chance I die before fulfilling the project. After all, I am mortal.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    To express my gratitude, I'll send you an email to remind you: THOU ART MORTAL!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    One (1) Memento Mori Tattoo sheet.

    Each temporary tattoo sheet contains four (4) tattoos: Magenta Large, Magenta Small, Black Large, Black Small. Delivered in a protective glassine envelope via USPS First Class mail, anywhere in the world.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    121 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Mortality Party Pack
    Ten (10) Memento Mori Tattoo sheets.

    Each temporary tattoo sheet contains four (4) tattoos: Magenta Large, Magenta Small, Black Large, Black Small. Delivered in a protective glassine envelope via USPS First Class mail; shipping included to anywhere in the world.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    19 backers
    $

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    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (19 days)