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A Lubbock tattoo artist is doing his part to help breast cancer survivors feel like themselves again.

By offering his expert skills in three-dimensional tattooing and creating new hyper-realistic nipples for clients that have lost theirs due to mastectomy surgery, Dillon Land is making a real difference.

I met Dillon in high school Algebra class and was even a roommate of his in the late 2000s. I saw his determination to become a tattoo artist and the beginning of what would be an incredible journey to where he is today. He was an aspiring tattoo artist as a teenager, and after years of honing his skills in tattooing, he is now an unstoppable force, headed to the tip-top of the industry, if not already there right now.

Emerald Empire Tattoo in Lubbock, Texas
Dillon Land

“Bilateral tattooing is the last phase that men and women go through in the breast cancer journey," Land explained to 94.5 FMX. "They have their nipples removed to prevent cancer from reoccurring, and once they are healed, we go in and add realistic nipples. We do a color match and everything with their skin tone. It's kind of nice because they can pick out what size and shape nipples they want, so that’s kind of cool. If we need to balance them out a bit, we can make them perkier to help create a more realistic breast."

Land got into bilateral tattooing thanks to an unlikely source.

"I become involved with bilateral tattooing when I read about it or saw it on Oprah, I'm not sure, but there was so much price gouging in the industry going on for something that would typically be much cheaper," he said. "For example, if someone wanted to go to a tattoo shop and get a nipple tattooed in a random place, like on their butt (for whatever reason), that would cost them roughly $100. Some of these people doing bilateral tattoos were charging $1,000 simply because they were getting away with it. My price is $500 and includes both nipples."

Dillon has tattooed roughly 75 bilateral tattoos, as well as thousands of other tattoos (like the one below he did for comedian Christian Rivera) since he became a professional tattoo artist in 2014.

Dillon Land
Dillon Land

I had the opportunity to speak with one of Land's satisfied customers.

Shannon Evans is a mother of two, an employee at the Lubbock Private Defenders Office, and a breast cancer survivor. She said the experience absolutely changed her life.

She revealed that after her double mastectomy at the age of 26, she lost sight of the importance of feeling comfortable and happy in her own skin and put off the tattoos for a long time. She came across information about Land and decided it was time to look her insecurities in the eye and have the tattoos done.

"I didn't realize just how much I wanted it and needed it done and it was a very joyful experience over the next few days, just kind of seeing it," she said. "I don’t know anyone in my personal situation, but I have shared my story with friends and I always tell people if they know someone in the market for this, that Dillon is the man."

Evans has been cancer-free for nearly 10 years.

If you'd like to check out more of Dillon Land's work, including his popular neon color fusions of geometric shapes, head over to his Facebook page or pay him a visit at Emerald Empire, 1108 Main Street in Lubbock, Texas.

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