Facial modifications are probably my favorite kind of body mod — and facial tattoos my favorite kind of tattoo — because they are by far the most aggressive way of pushing the an individual’s personal sense of who they want to be into the social reality. And inside facial tattoos, there are a million different ways of a person expressing themselves, but what I find especially interesting is when the individual does it in a way that breaks the normal rules of tattooing, drawing from outside it’s normal lexicon, or making decisions that are not the most obviously aesthetically acceptable. In this entry I wanted to show a few people who I think have done fascinating things with the way they’ve chosen to recreate themselves.
First is the amazing Rene van Assema (here with Debbie von B), who’s psychedelic facial work has been featured before:
Next another old BME friend, Jason Sand (who’s currently exploring the world on foot — contact him to get involved in a great project).
Another interesting facial tattoo is on Las Vegas’s Kirtus Blue:
Back in 2008, ModBlog posted pictures of an incredible nostril and septum resculpting with another entry early in the healing and one more four weeks later. I thought it was about time that an update be posted, since Bogotá, Colombia based tattoo artist, piercer, and alternative model Caim Divell (click here for his fan page) is one of the most remarkable looking people in body modification (and BME’s early entries generated one hell of a lot of debate). As you can see he has reduced the size of his horns, which were at one point the largest forehead implants ever installed, but other than that, his look has continued to evolve. There are very few people who have pushed a concept transformation to this degree, and I would argue that living as a demonic embodiment of metal is socially more challenging than being, say, the Lizardman. As I said, there’s more info on Caim’s surgical modifications in the early posts, but I should mention here that they were created by Emilio Gonzalez (mithostattoo.com).
By now, either from ModBlog or from viral media, you know the romantic story of Lesya and Rouslan Toumaniantz (click that link if you live under a rock) and all the fuss that her facial tattoo of his name across her face generated, a tattoo they did not long after their love-at-first-sight meeting. I wanted to share these recent photos of the healed tattoo — say what you want about the story behind the tattoo, but wow, Lesya really makes this tattoo work! It looks great on her — of course it helps that she’s beautiful and photogenic to start — and you can click any of these photos to see them at a large size.
Adding onto his already epic chrome mohawk, chrome sideburns, full fire-and-water headpiece, and Wutang beard, Whitey Black just had Justin Mccroy of Under the Needle Tattoo in Seattle create this permanent oldschool handlebar mustache tattoo. He explained it to me saying, “the comical aspect is that ‘nothing says classy like a gentleman with a well groomed mustache’… and believe me I am not classy and far from being a gentleman!”
The tattoo is fresh in this photo, which is why there’s some fluid beading up on it (either that or Whitey just sneezed) — click the picture for a closer look.
While I’m talking about Whitey’s work, let me show you his scalp tattoo, also by Justin, because it’s so bold I don’t think I could live with myself without including it in this post!
Jester Mayhone (facebook.com/Jestermayhone) is one of those very rare individuals who has chosen to undergo a concept transformation — where the majority of his modifications all work together push him toward a new total-body artistic vision. Other well known individuals on the short list of those who’ve done include The Lizardman, The Enigma, and the late Dennis Avner. If you’d like to learn more about Jester and his art, both his body and his paintings, you can here’s an earlier more extensive post, but the short version is that he’s using tattoos and other body modifications to evolve himself into his vision of a jester.
Jester jokes that yesterday he had the “best Valentines day ever” as he headed down to see his friends at Tomah Tattoo who, after sketching various ideas on his face freehand (based on designs Jester had spent weeks drawing on photos of himself), decided to go ahead and set it in ink. Only the start of the linework is done now, but when it’s finished it’ll be colored in with random patches — the mock-up I drew is there to illustrate what it might become and is just a quick “what if” Photoshop job. For me the design brings to mind many themes — I see everything from Jester’s main theme to horror movie masks, patched-together scarecrow and ragdolls, and even a bit of Frankenstein’s monster!
Zoom in for a larger view. Once his entire body is done like this, he will be one of the most striking and uniquely tattooed creatures walking the planet.
Tonight (February 14, 2013) AMC will be airing a new reality TV show called “Freakshow”, all about the Venice Beach Freakshow. The cast member who may be of most interest to ModBlog readers is Marcus “The Creature” Boykin, tattooed head to toe and wearing a face-full of self-pierced metal. The name “Creature” comes with a double meaning — he’s not just a creature in the monstrous sense, but also “create-ure” in the sense of creating himself as an artistic invention, a body that is “all original, unlike anyone else’s”, in the hope that he’d be able to not just entertain, but inspire and let people know that no matter how impossible something seems, you can do it.
Here’s the official video profile of Creature from AMC. Following that is a brief chat that we had yesterday letting you know a little bit more about what makes Creature tick — but if you really want to see what he and the rest of Venice Beach Freakshow are all about, don’t miss the show, which begins tonight on AMC at 9:30, 8:30 CST.
** What made you want to move from being a kid into piercings to someone at the “freak end of the scale” — and how did your family react?
My family are hard core Christians, and my mom is still in disbelief, but my dad supports me to the fullest in the craze of body art and piercings. My inspiration came from historical pictures like the Great Omi… warriors receiving scarification, like the great Shaka Zulu, and slaves chastisement as they got whipped and scarred and burned — also Jesus Christ himself suffered out of this world piercings and was scarred beyond any recognition — it goes reallly deeeep…
Brent Moffatt has experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows that a life in body modification has to offer. You may recall him as a former world-record holder for his piercing exploits, as well as for his Golden Palace casino URL forehead tattoo, something he came to deeply regret — you can read his thoughts on that in an earlier “Skinvertising” article. After Brent read the story of Lesya getting her husband Ruslan’s name tattooed on her face, he felt obligated to talk about his own experiences as a cautionary tale. Those thoughts follow here as he sent them to me, with minimal editing. Brent and I have not always seen eye to eye, but I share his deep worry that it’s very difficult to predict one’s future, and that the excitement of youth often leads people down body modification paths they later find incompatible with their later lives. -Shannon
Above: Brent Moffatt over time.
Body Mod… Danger and Regret By: Brent “The Human Pincushion” Moffatt
I was reading an article by Shannon Larratt about a young woman that had tattooed her husband’s name across her face. I was also read the comments after said article, and I was horrified that Jim Ward and I were initially the only ones to openly say that this was a bad idea. So I decided to tell a bit of my story of dangers and regrets as it pertains to “my life in body mod”. I have had many many modifications and have been involved in the world of body mod for a long time, and in that time I have gotten both good work and work that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Unfortunately in the days when I first became interested in mods there wasn’t a meaningful internet — it was just in its infancy — so there really was nowhere to turn to know what to do and how to do it. Luckily young people today have so many more resources. Most of my bad modifications came from lack of understanding, immaturity — #1 fault — and the use of drugs and alcohol — #2 fault. My early misadventures include,
Scratcher tats done at parties while very drunk or stoned
Self-done piercings on my arm that turned septic and almost required amputation
Self-done tattoos while deciding if I had the talent to be a tattooist — I didn’t want to scar anyone else
Eyelid piercings have wowed people ever since I first featured them on BME. Although they’ve shown themselves to be safe and viable when properly placed on a person with appropriately shaped anatomy, they remain one of the rarest piercings. Spanish pacifist Juan Carlos has a variation on it that is perhaps the rarest of them all — a single bar connecting the top and bottom lids, almost like an industrial for the eye. The reason this piercing is so rare is that in order to wear such a piercing permanently, it requires a very unique anatomy — the lack on an eye. As the first person to get this, Juan claims the “right of naming”, and calls this the “Tuerto piercing”, or “Eye piercing”, as it replaces the eye. I had a chance to chat briefly to Juan about his remarkable piercing and other mods, including his striking full-face tattoo.
When Juan was nineteen, he was required to serve time in the Spanish military, as all citizens were required to at the time — this happened almost twelve years before the government would finally abolish the requirement. Juan went on to join the elite Spanish Green Berets, but wasn’t comfortable with aspects of their behavior once he got to see it first-hand. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. The abuse ran contrary to his ethics — he has “Libertá” tattooed on himself three times — and knew he couldn’t live with himself if he became part of this. It was either figure out a way to get out of the military or commit suicide. Not wanting to die, on January 28, 1990 Juan took a needle and punctured his own left eye — a process that he describes as not particularly painful, but just a sensation of pressure. This wound became infected, resulting in the loss of the eye — and more importantly, a psychiatric discharge from the military.
Lesya Toumaniantz’s radical facial tattoo has recently gone viral, posted on thousands of Facebook pages with captions like “next level face tattoo” from Russia. So I thought it was time to tell the real story behind this remarkable tattoo.
About a month ago, Rouslan Toumaniantz, a well known and sometimes notorious Belgium-based tattoo artist (of Tattoo Box in Kortrijk), and Lesya, a designer living at the time in Saransk, a city in central Russia started talking via chat (Rouslan speaks fluent Russian) and realized they had a lot in common, and quickly began falling head over heels in love. About a week ago they met in person in Moscow and decided to get married — their plans for their life together include her learning to tattoo (Rouslan tells me she’s already a talented artist), apprenticing under her husband-to-be, while she also gets the full-body ink that she’s always dreamed of (biomech is the current plan) — and of course a family.
Her new facial tattoo that’s getting all the attention, a huge commitment for both a person with limited experience as a publicly modified person and for a new relationship screams out the intensity of their commitment to their new life, reads “RUSLAN”, the name of her betrothed. At first glance the tattoo echoes Latin American gang tattooing — MS-13 is the first thing that’s come to many people’s minds — and I worry that it could complicate future travel in the Americas, to say nothing of putting her in danger in some cities (of course, these are places where deaf people speaking sign language occasionally are stabbed when foolish gangmembers assume they’re throwing rival gang-signs). But to be clear, the tattoo has nothing about committing to a life in a gang — it’s a commitment to love.
I know that there are people who are terrified that Lesya has made a rash decision that she’ll regret horribly, but sometimes the best decisions are the ones you make in an instant with your heart rather than the ones long-debated in your mind. I know many people whose favorite mods are the ones they got “on a whim”, and who are still happily married to the person they fell for the instant they saw — “love at first sight” is an old truism — and proposed to within the week. I wish them the best of luck and hope that their life plays out as they dream it to be.
Edit/Update: People have asked why it says “RUSLAN” when I’m writing his name as “Rouslan”. It’s simply because one is the French spelling, and the other is the Russian/English spelling of the name — they chose the latter because it fit better on her face.
Continue after the break for a more explicit photo.