Tattooist Inks “Life of a Rose” Across the Bodies of 70 Different People

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Tattoos often tell a story, but few pieces of body art do it as well as Balazs Bercsenyi’s ambitious project called A Life of a Rose. The innovative idea united 70 strangers as they took part in the “ultimate love story” that depicted the cycle of the iconic flower. On the skin of each individual, Bercsenyi illustrated a little part of the entire story. He showed an initial sprout that was brought to full bloom and then picked as a gesture of love that eventually wilted. When Bercsenyi finished his last tattoo, each inking was placed into a mesmerizing short video that animated the tale from beginning to end.

“I wanted the story to evolve around a rose because it is such a beautiful symbol and metaphor of love,” Bercsenyi tells My Modern Met. “It represents the cycle of life, when the rose is born and then used as a tool to uplift and inject expression for a human being. The rose is a perfect example of how we should live our lives, to bloom and give our gift away.”

Bercsenyi created a submission process for those interested in participating in A Life of a Rose. After receiving 600 applications, 100 of these people were given access to book one of the 70 slots available. Those participating were given some idea of the story, but they selected a date and time over the course of a week without knowing that by picking their appointment, they were assigning themselves a particular “page” in this tale.

Although they started as strangers, the adventurous folks who participated in Bercsenyi’s art project now have a unique link between them—and the tattooist wanted it this way. “The underlying purpose of this animation tattoo project was to create a sense of oneness,” he explains, “where the lasting outcome is in being part of something that is bigger than the individual.”

Tattooist Balazs Bercsenyi united 70 strangers to tell the story of a rose.

Rose TattooRose TattooRose Tattoo

Each person got a rose tattoo that is one “page” in Bercsenyi's tale. Once complete, they were photographed and edited into a mesmerizing animation.

Rose Tattoo
Rose Tattoo

The 70 strangers who participated in “A Life of a Rose”

Rose Tattoo

Learn more about A Life of a Rose:

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Balazs Bercsenyi: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Balazs Bercsenyi.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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