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.

Adding and Subtracting

A few days ago I was out to dinner with old BME friends, and one conversation that came up was some of BME’s old April Fools articles. I think my favorite was “Love At First Bite” because it was so believable and fooled a good percentage of even the most experienced readers… But the article that started BME’s pranks was one first published April 1, 1999 — “Adding and Subtracting” — and one of the reasons it was so successful was that it was not just BME’s first joke article, but was published in an era before April 1st being a day where the entire web was flooded with nothing but jokes, making the whole thing less convincing. Anyway, since I couldn’t find this article in BME’s public articles, I’ve decided to republish here for historical reasons! After the article you can also read some of the responses the article generated, including a multitude of requests for interviews including Details, ICON, and The Village Voice.


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Ryan and Dave are the most unique identical twins you’ll ever meet. After tiring of piercing, tattoos, and implants about three years ago, they began exploring much heavier surgical modifications. Dave had spent two and a half years in pre-med at Queens University in Kingston, and using contacts made both there and online he and his twin brother have changed themselves in ways far beyond anything anyone else has ever attempted.

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Personal Evolution – Part VI

Sorry it’s been a while since I posted one of these (click here for the full series) — as always, this series seeks to show people with significant facial modifications, with photos showing where they started and how they got to where they are now. If you’d like to be in a future series, please get in touch with me — I’d like to keep this series going! In any case, here are today’s personal evolutions (click to zoom in):

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The Evolution of Iestyn Flye

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The Evolution of Jason Sand

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The Evolution of Jester Mayhone

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The Evolution of Revina Lower

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The Evolution of Victor Peralta

11 Hours of Hand-Poked Scalp

Ferank Manseed, who has now been doing hand-poked tattoos for a decade (“I don’t play with that modern machine nonsense!”) just finished the second session on this amazing swastika/asanoha scalp piece, which now has eleven hours of hand poking in it. I like the 3D effect that makes it look like the design is cut right into the head, kind of a dotwork trompe l’oeil. As you may have guessed Ferank is pure hand-poked all the way, only having used a machine a few times (and that was a long time ago). He says, “the freedom of working by hand has allowed me to tattoo and travel and connect with other handwork tattooists, who are still rare — I like this…”

Like most hand tattooists, Ferank is largely self-taught, doing much of his learning by tattooing his own skin. I asked him what he uses for tools and while he points out that he “can make a tattoo with anything sharp” he usually uses pre-made needles (the same sort that would be put in a machine) strapped to a chopstick. When the tattoo is completed, he removes the needles from the bamboo chopstick, marks the date on it, blesses it with a swastika and an aum and gives it to the client as a souvenir of the experience.

Ferank is based at Northside Private Rooms (one of the rare studios that contains a dedicated hand area) in Newcastle Upone Tyne in England, and you can email him at mudraink@hotmail.com or visit him on Facebook.

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Green Eyes, Blue Iris

I’ve seen more than enough eye tattoos to make me wish the new surgery that may one day be able to give us more functioning eyes to tattoo was available for humans (currently only tested on tadpoles)… As much as I love the effect we’ve achieved on my eyes and wouldn’t change it, as I’ve always tried for a mix of “extreme yet subtle” with my mods, seeing amazing examples like Rasta Fabian‘s bright green eye tattoos make me very jealous. It’s also a good example of how important it is to take into consideration the iris, because the interplay between the new surrounding color and the iris will define a lot of the end effect. It should come as no surprise that this was done by Howie (LunaCobra.net), the most experienced eyeball tattooist this side of Arrakis.

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As always, don’t miss the eyeball tattoo FAQ, and if you’re interested in more info, check out the video interview from just before my eyes were re-done in October.

13 Tongue piercings… and climbing!

I got a message from Heather Simone this morning asking me how common multiple tongue piercings were, and I totally brushed it off — “psshaw! lots of people have two tongue piercings, get over yourself!” and she replied with something like “oh, because I have THIRTEEN OF THEM and I wondered how common that was…”

Of course I was, like, “THIRTEEN?!?! Well why didn’t you say that in the first place!”

I don’t think thirteen is a world record, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are less people with ten or more tongue piercings in America than there are States in the Union (although that’s a bad metaphor as she hails from Leighton Buzzard, England) — Heather’s piercings are much, much more unique than I’d given her credit for.

I asked her to tell me a little more about them, and she tells me that initially her plan was to get six of them, in a cross shape, but by the time she hit that goal she was totally addicted and now the design motif is something closer to “where will they fit?” The piercings are all done in 14ga, and as she’s gotten more of them she’s had to start putting smaller beads on the bottom to keep it all comfortable.

Her first six or so tongue piercings were done by “varying artists” that she “barely remembers”, the next few by Blue Jigsaw, and since then — the most recent four — are self done. I asked her if her speech or anything else is affected by having so many, and besides the healing period (“and sometimes not even then”), the answer is no.

In addition to the twelve vertical bars, Heather also has a rare horizontal tongue piercing, done about ten years ago by Mark Stubbings — it actually took her a year to find him after first seeing horizontal tongue piercings on BME and deciding she had to have one. That said, of all the piercings she says the horizontal was the most trouble, including biting through the PTFE bar that she initially wore in it — but it settled down and it’s still there, making this project all the more unique.

As to how far she’ll take it? There’s no upper limit, so she says it’s really just a matter of how many seeing how many she can fit without it starting to majorly affect eating or speaking!

In addition to the picture below (which she adds looks a little off because some of the bars are longer than they need to be), you can see videos of her 6th tongue piercing, her 7th and 8th tongue piercing, as well as her 9th tongue piercing on YouTube.

heather-simone

EDIT/UPDATE: Dominick Arduino, piercer at Starlight Tattoo (starlighttattoo.com) in New Jersey just topped Heather with this photo of one of his customers (who you may recognize from the BME galleries due to the distinctive jewelry — and remember, they can key your car with their tongue if you say anything bad!). This photo, taken last year, shows it with sixteen piercings — sixteen spikes capable of turning fantasies into nightmares — but since then they have added two more (and I am sure will do more after that). I’ll update with a more recent photo when I am able.

sixteen tongue spikes

Massive Facial Scarification

This has to be one of the largest examples of [voluntary] skin removal on a face to date, at least in a single session. It was done by Iestyn Flye –who is normally based at London’s Divine Canvas, but tours extensively so visit him on Facebook for more information no matter where you might be — on Marc at Copenhage Body Extremes (bodyextremes.com). The design is based on a Japanese holy hemp leaf pattern. I can’t wait to see this healed, and will definitely post a follow-up when I can (although if you look at the previous scar that runs across the nose, you can get a good idea of what to expect) — I expect the sort of visage that looks like Freddy Krueger from a distance, and then transforms from horrific to beautiful as you get closer. Click for a larger look.

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Full Metal Alchemy Implant

While most implants are still basic shapes or “flash” selected from a limited portfolio (skulls, spiders, biomech ribs, and so on), these days it is possible to get cast custom implants made at a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe. Because of that, interesting new markets are starting to evolve that haven’t really existed until now — for example, the person below is a customer of Hugh Mattay’s (fb/hugh.mattay) who has no tattoos and no piercings — just implants! Hugh had already done a finger magnet on him as well as a pair of circular implants on his forearms, but this time he came in with something more complex, a printout of the Fullmetal Alchemist logo (a Japanese manga and video game series), which he wanted to have capped with an eye containing a magnet. Hugh got in touch with Max Yampolskiy (fb/max.yampolskiy) who created this and just three weeks later the customer was getting it implanted in his chest.

I really love that these days people who don’t enjoy the look of tattoos, scars, or piercings — the traditional forms of body art — have this 3D sculpting as a viable alternative. I’m really looking forward to seeing what other projects Hugh and this customer are going to get up to — for example, they’ve discussed stretching his lobes, but using internal implants, without piercings! Below are the Fullmetal Alchemist implant, right after draining 46ml of fluid (eww) (Hugh figures the unusually high amounts of fluid buildup are due to the difficulty of placing the complex shape), and also a picture of the client’s forearm implants.

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Metal Nipples

Here’s a good mod for people who really like the way hard nipples look under a tight t-shirt! These nipple microdermals were done by Matt who pierces at Everything & Nothing (everythingandnothing.co.uk) in Carlisle, Cumbria. I asked Matt about the difference between doing a microdermal on normal skin versus nipple tissue, and he filled me in with his experiences,

I found that the tissue that needed to be removed was stuck fast, and needed to be removed with haemostats rather than gently being wiped away with a swab (as with microdermals on the stomach or arm for example). The only thing I can compare it to is the back of the neck — tough and not a lot of room for moving it around once put in place. Insertion was very simple. I had freehand needles ready to place in at angles to help insertion but they were unnecessary. The jewellery slotted straight in and was perfectly flat the first time. They bled more than anywhere I’ve placed them before but not enough to give me reason to worry — it stopped after two minutes or so.

The customer, a forty-six year old body modification enthusiast from Nottingham had wanted these for a long time, but because of his work on the oil rigs hadn’t been able to get it until now. He described the procedure as painful, but on the other hand, the kind of guy that works the rigs doesn’t have a problem dealing with a little pain! Zoom in for a larger look.

metal nipples

Sacred Undulations

I’ve always been a giant fan of all of the work of Freak Garcia / Garcia Leonam (of Ink Karma Nation, inkarma.wordpress.com or facebook.com/freakgarcia), but the stuff I especially love is his undulating “oil slick” patterns that dance across a person’s anatomy. The one he posted today really caught my eye because the design radiates out from an icosahedron — or as RPG fans like me, who grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons, know it, a D20.

sacred-d20

Pain Solution US Tour

Håvve Fjell and Pain Solution are back in the United States soon, touring with The Sqidling Brothers Circus Sideshow, and perhaps most excitingly wrapping up their tour in Dallas for the suscon with a performance with Stelarc (generally considered one of the grandfathers of modern suspension, along with Fakir Musafar). Jump to the website for up-to-date tour info, but here’s what’s been announced:

To get an idea of what Pain Solution‘s shows are like, check out these videos:

And as to the show with Stelarc, I’m not sure what they have planned for Dallas, but here’s what they did in Oslo last year. This is not something you want to miss — it’s one of those “once in a lifetime” events that will change the way you look at suspension. Any performer or practitioner able to make it to Dallas should do everything they can to make it!