RIP ManWoman

This morning at 4:38AM, the beautiful artist and [best] friend of the swastika ManWoman passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer. He lived a passionate and revolutionary life, and his impact on this community continues to grow. Thankfully after seeing his life’s work vindicated and bringing joy and open eyes to more than he ever could have imagined when it first began, he found himself in the terrible position of having a painful and debilitating disease with no cure, and he made the decision to stop treatment knowing it would mean the end of his suffering within days. If you see a swastika, that symbol of light and love, tattooed on someone, you can thank Manny. All of the spiritual and geometric tattooing that is exploding today owes his efforts a great deal of credit and thanks. Although he was often unknown by those he helped transform both physically and spiritually, like some benevolent and hopeful puppetmaster bard, he touched almost all of us in one way or another, and was one of the most influential guides in this community.

Manny was one of the few universally respected wisemen of this community, and his passing will hit a lot of people very hard and he will be deeply missed.

“I like to think that God is dreaming and we are the dream. I wake up in the morning and I say, gee, that was an interesting dream, but you know what? I’m gonna wake up from this life when I die and go, boy, that was an interesting dream! And I’ve had a really interesting life.”

But even though Manny has passed, he lives forever in not just his art and the retelling of his own story by others, but he lives forever in the millions of tattoos that carry his message and a small part of his soul. Manny cannot die, because his passion and his ability to inspire others to make the light he rediscovered a part of their lives as well gave him immortality.

In the video above are some of Manny’s final thoughts, recorded at the start of November, and below is a picture of my family with Manny’s family, taken in 2004. In the picture are Manny and his daughter Serena, myself, Rachel, and our daughter as well. He was just a wonderful, wonderful person. This post feels shamefully sparse, but in some ways I don’t even need to say a thing, because I don’t know anyone who met ManWoman that wasn’t completely captured by his warmth and charm.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

25 thoughts on “RIP ManWoman

  1. That was one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever read about somebody. I’ll look more into this man and his life because of it. Fair play to you. And I’m so sorry for your loss of someone you clearly cherished.

  2. Stalking cat and ManWoman, a loss to the world at large, not just the modded world.

    Blessed Be to both of them, Shaman and gentle souls

  3. @Sean Phillips, i was right about to say the same thing !
    R.I.P. for both of these beautyfull guys !

  4. Two icons lost in such close timing. Such a shame :\ May both these brave, and unique souls rest in peace and happiness. My heart also goes out to you Shannon for the loss of a dear friend, and any other close friends and family dealing with these losses. They will forever be in our hearts!

  5. WTF everybody great is leaving ….one of my favorite reads was the bio about manwoman in the REserch modern primitive book

  6. This is crazy….it was just two days ago i read an article online about Manwoman and how the swastika cannot be reclaimed. The author was quite obviously very close minded and i wrote a defense to Manwoman’s mission in life. i myself have many many swastikas tattooed on me. I got a signed copy of his book, The Gentle Swastika, around 9 or 10 years ago and i love it dearly. RIP

  7. I enjoyed hearing his “final thoughts” very much… It saddens me that we don’t have more clear-thinking folks like him in the world today. He’ll be missed.

    RIP.

  8. sadness just sadness. too much loss this week. be at peace and we will see you again on the next cycle

  9. I never met ManWoman, but since I first saw him mentioned in Modern Primitives, he has always been a very cool character on the Mod Scene….. He will be missed by many. It is a great pity his life was cut short by the insidious horrors of cancer. He was a brave man to have taken a step back and refused any more treatment. My respects to his family and friends.
    PatrickB

  10. Love Manwoman always.
    I had the pleasure of his company a number of times since the Eighties and the honor of showing art together. He will be missed.
    -Mandad-

  11. Two such well known faces of this community passing within such a short space of time. Very sad. R.I.P to them both

  12. G’day Shannon,
    Guess its been a really sad week for you. Though a some point we need to be able to celebrate the lives of the souls that have left us )-:

  13. As a historian I can say that in symbolism the general rule is: a symbol represents only what it means to the people… I know the swastika is an ancient symbol of peace and love BUT it has adopted another meaning about 70 years ago, please respect the suffering of those who died fighting a horrible regime represented by the swastika…

    RIP not only ManWoman, but the millions who have died fighting fascism

    LEST WE FORGET !!!

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  15. Pingback: Erl Van Aken, RIP (1939 – Jan 17, 2013) | BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News

  16. Hi Shannon, I was just dusting my print of ‘JOY’ that my husband and I bought in Cranbrook a number of years ago. I read that he was born on February 2nd. and thought it was very special to actually open his website for the first time on what would be his birthday. We did talk to your dad when we bought our print. My husband told him that the 3 girls skipping were his girls…his wife and two daughters. Your dad smiled. David and I often talked about which of his girls were the J, the O and the Y. Like your dad my husband has now passed away; however I continue to smile whenever I look at ‘Joy’. I wish you and your family sunshine and peace. Happy birthday ManWoman

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