Nick Rodin inked his first tattoo not long after he got his first tattoo more than 20 years ago at the age of 18.
The world of tattooing has exploded since that time and Rodin has had a front row seat for all of it.
"So many more people now are getting tattooed than before," Rodin said. "I got tattooed so people wouldn't talk to me as much. Now you sit on an airplane and it's the icebreaker."
With so many people getting so many tattoos, Rodin came to the realization a few years ago that there was potential for big money to be collected using tattooing as a fundraiser. And Rodin knew exactly where he wanted the money to go: suicide prevention.
This past weekend, more than a dozen tattoo artists came to Petaluma Tattoo, Rodin's shop, donating their time to ink 60 tattoos, eventually raising close to $15,000. The money was donated to Buckelew, the North Bay's largest nonprofit provider of mental health and suicide prevention services.
It is a cause important to Rodin because in 2009, in a matter of a few months, both his only brother and close friend died from suicide.
"I had a lot of mixed emotions," Rodin said. "I was angry, I was sad, I was mad at myself."
Rodin had difficulty talking about what happened for close to a decade. Organizing the fundraiser, though, gave Rodin an opening to discuss his experience with others.
Rodin hopes the money is helpful to others. He is sure, however, that getting involved has helped him.
"In a way, this is a very selfish act for myself," he said. "It really helps me get past and live my life through the pain that I've had and I still have sometimes."