Even though numerous people outside of indigenous cultures have been wearing lip plates for at least a decade, it’s still a misunderstood and often maligned modification. I had a chance to talk to Neil Thomas about his lip plate, which began its life as a simple and unassuming 14ga labret seven years ago, and a lot of vinyl tape wrapping later, is now about 35mm (1 3/8″), just shy of his end goal of 45mm, where he plans on staying for a while. Because of the weight (and size) of the jewelry, he wears the plate down all the time, other than taking out a few hours a night and oiling the area, and to clean it with unscented anti-bacterial soap.
You may be surprised to hear that in addition to his “Scratch1000″ eBay store, Neil works with the public as a barber-stylist and a musician/promoter. His bosses have been supportive over the years, and the public has a broad range of responses — some people are curious with the typical “does that hurt”, others have no opinion, others think it’s cool, and of course there are those that think it’s gross. He says, “Treat people the way you would want to be treated and I believe people will be more understanding towards you. Most people close to me accept me for who I am and what I do. I’ve always just went for what I wanted to do. I still respect the few that are against it. If that’s the way they are, so be it.”
Neil adds, “I always figured if I could get away with it I would just keep going. I have always been a fan of culture and uniqueness. I’ve always been just me, in the punk scene or the Jamaican music scene. Two things that that keep me going.”
He also tells me that he’s always loved the way it looked on all kinds of different people, so let me also share a picture of the amazing Muga Suástica of Marcolino Moura in Bahia, Brazil. His lip is 50mm (2″) in this photo, but he tells me he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
As many of you know, I’m a voracious reader of comics and have talked before on ModBlog about creating some sort of database of bodymod and body art in the illustrated world. Today I read last year’s graphic novel BleedOut, which tells the story of a world devolved into a sort of criminal feudal dystopia after worldwide oil supplies mysteriously run out in a matter of weeks — “civilization devolved 200 years in less than one”. The comic actually exists as a vessel to explain the post-apocalyptic 3rd-person-shooter criminal simulation MMO CrimeCraft (crimecraft.com), “believably” letting players know how the world devolved into gang-moderated hell so quickly. I’m actually glad I didn’t find out this was the purpose of the comic until afterwards because videogame tie-in comics are usually so terrible that I might not have read it at all.
Anyway, the comic is broken up chapters, each drawn by a different artist — with some great names like Nathan Fox, Zach Howard, Sanford Greene, David Williams, Gary Erskine, Howard Chaykin, Glenn Fabry, Vince Proce, and Trevor Hairsine. The book as a whole tells a story about this awful world, and most chapters are a sort of vignette on a different crime lord. The chapter that caught my eye for ModBlog was “Youth Bulge”, drawn by Ben Templesmith (you may know him from 30 Days of Night), which is about Arkady Kavchenko, who runs adult entertainment in the city where the story takes place — pornography and porn, with a taste for kink, the farther out the better. He’s also been infected with a genetic virus of sorts that gives him Wolverine-like healing. Before selling people a vice, he always tried it first, and this taste for kink would have killed a normal person “twenty times over”, but somehow he’s survived it. The apex of his dangerous perversion pyramid? I was amused to see that it was suspension!
Click to see the whole page, or better yet, pick up the comic. It’s not in any way body modification themed as a whole — there are a myriad of tattooed characters (they are criminals after all!) but it’s completely incidental — but suspension is rare enough in pop fiction that I thought it was worth a mention.
I gotta wonder what’s going through Sophie’s mind. My theory is something along the lines of “just when I thought I understood mirrors…”, but the peanut gallery at the other end of the couch insists that all dogs ever think about is the current location of their next meal and next leg to hump. I should mention that this was done by Luca Font and is on Erica, who you last saw here on ModBlog suspending with her twin sister.
Here’s an amazing set of first-generation forehead implants — this is probably about the farthest one would want to push a first gen forehead — looking superb on day seventeen, just past the initial phase of healing. These implants were custom made (if you’re curious, click here to see them pre-implantation) for Jenny by implant artist Max Yampolskiy and then expertly installed by Arnulf Ragnar Schmitz at Stigmata Inc in Cologne, Germany. It’s funny, as I was working on this post, Caitlin looked over at my monitor and said — jokingly, I think — “Why are you always ogling girls with bumpy foreheads? Would you like me better if I got implants?”
I will leave it to you to wonder whether my fingers were crossed when I said, “No, of course I love you just the way you are!”
All kidding aside, Jenny was quite pretty to begin with of course, but I do think this implants are just wonderful and a big “improvement” — although improvement isn’t really the right word… I think that this is something more profound than what you’d get with a nice haircut. It’s not just an improvement — it’s an evolution.
It’s been a busy week so I must apologize for not being able to help out as much on ModBlog as I’d like to, but I wanted to quickly pop in this evening and show you this great ear project by Perry Doig at Monterey’s Gold Coast Tattoo & Body Piercing. It’s one of those ear piercings that’s quite impressive, but is also sort of a “blink and you’ll miss it” thing where if you’re not sharp-eye’d and able to grok what you’re seeing, you won’t even realize how special it is. What Perry has done here is linked a gorgeously deep Daith to a pair of inner conch piercings, all linking up with a nice gemstone bead (a fire opal, to be specific) that floats inside the ear. As an aside, I always smile a little confused smile when I see someone that has an ear project of great artistry like this, but still has the cheap mall lobes that they probably got when they weren’t even aware that piercing culture proper existed.
Click to see it larger.
Any time I post Gabriele’s (MaxArt Body Piercing in Rome, Italy) extremely clever SkinTunnel jewelry (which I’ve finally given its own tag here on ModBlog making it easy to see all the entries on it), it always generates a lot of confusion because people aren’t used to seeing something like it, and often make the erroneous assumption that the central circle is open flesh. It’s not. The design is like a transdermal implant, but instead of a single central post, it has two separate U-shaped posts. These U’s have threading on them so that a large top can be attached. In theory, this design should be able to carry more weight than a standard transdermal, in addition to having a unique aesthetic.
Gabriele’s very first customer for this — he’s slowly and responsibly been doing a few of these, monitoring them carefully, and making subtle improvements in each generation — has come back to get a matching one on their other wrist, so that’s what you’re seeing here in these pictures. For those still having trouble picturing how the jewelry is implanted, I draw your attention to the picture where the two U-shaped slots are being cut.
Zoom into this second photo for a closer view of the finished product.
I’d always assumed piercing would be more of a sith thing, but he insists that he is in fact a Nasalang Jedi. Oh, Rafa, can you never be serious? Oh and on a more serious note, you may notice the absence of jewelry in this picture, if you were wondering what Rafa looked like with the lip plates removed.
I saw two great pieces of dotwork tattooing today that I really wanted to share with you. This first is an upper chest piece by Manuel Winkler at Clockwork Tattoos in Merano, Italy. This design was inspired by the designs of myoshka.jp. It’s perhaps an odd first thought to have, but the first thing I thought when I saw this was that I hope the person isn’t married yet, because this tattoo will look incredible coming out of the top of a strapless wedding dress. Alternately it will be an amazing tattoo to show off at the beach. Or just admire privately in the mirror. Either way I like it a lot.
The other piece of dotwork that caught my mind today was this mix of psychedelia and sacred geometry by Deryn Twelve of Tenacious Tattoo in Sheffield. I should also mention that if you like Deryn’s designs, she’s been working on a series of t-shirts with her art that will be posted to her Etsy shop soon, so keep an eye open there or on her facebook page — and the mention of commerce also reminds me that BMEshop is finally up and running again!
I don’t want to call these “scarred mokos”, because that would be culturally insensitive, inaccurate, and crass, but when I see these wonderful bold yet feminine facial skin peels done by Iestyn Flye of London’s Divine Canvas (divine-canvas.com), I can’t help but be reminded of women’s facial tattooing among the Maori. There is a long multicultural tradition of tattooing and scarification around the chins and mouths of women being seen as extremely beautiful — the Ainu and the Inuit immediately sprint to mind as well. This reminds me, somewhat unrelated, there is a wonderful APTN/CBC documentary that you can watch online titled “In pursuit of the lost tradition of Inuit Tattooing“.
Speaking of Iestyn’s work, I’ve mentioned his “scaled” designs before, but he recently did a set that have a double-lined border that I was particularly enamored with. I’m very excited about seeing how these turn out. It’s quite fine cutting, so the scarring will be minimal, but I’m sure they’ll still have a great tactile nature.
I like this club so much more than the Sacred Order of the Black Toe.
Howie (Lunacobra), the most experienced eye-tattooer, who has been performing and fine-tuning the procedure for longer than anyone else out there, has been doing some very exciting new work that I’m dying to share with you but that is going to have to wait until another post because in this one I’m featuring a set of people with black eyes. First is my friend Marc (little-swastika.com) in Radolfzell, who just had his second eye finished by Howie after having just the one done for quite some time. In the photo on the left he looks like some sort of deranged elf-creature rearing up out of its supernatural lair, don’t you think?
All the pictures in this entry can be zoomed.
Next on my list is this customer of Emilio Gonzalez’s (mithostattoo.com) — all of his heavy mods (implants and split tongue) as well as the eye tattoos are by Emilio, and as I may have posted before, this is one of my favorite forehead implant projects.
Finally, Roni Lachowicz, whose eyes are self done, and finally has her website up at x-roni-x.com. You’ll actually find a gallery of her eye tattoos (as in work on customers, not on herself) there that’s made up (at least as of this writing) of almost exclusively black eyes.