ModBlog News of the Week: March 27, 2015

Here is your news roundup for March 27, 2015:

* Women with vaginal piercings to be classed as having suffered female genital mutilation says Department of Health
* Seymour gallery explores tattooing as art
* Watch mind-boggling 3D tattoo that’s awesome and unnerving in equal measure
* Outrage as school alters student photos

In celebrity news…

* Lena Dunham Explains Why She Has an Eloise Tattoo, but Will Never Get Her Boyfriend’s Name Inked
* Nick Cannon Wild ‘N Out with New MASSIVE Back Tattoo

Submit news stories.

ModBlog News of the Week: March 13, 2015

Here is your news roundup for March 13, 2015:

* Restaurant refuses service to man with facial tattoos
* Body Modification Artist Steve Haworth inspires Bristol animal lover to turn into “parrot man”
* Biohackers and body modification
* Utah House OKs bill banning tattoos on children under 14, requires permission for older teens

In celebrity news…

* This Woman Has Rihanna Tattoos All Over Her Body
* Kanye West Tattoos ‘So Help Me God’ Artwork on Arm during Paris Fashion Week

Submit news stories.

ModBlog News of the Week: March 6, 2015

Here is your news roundup for March 6, 2015:

* Microchips for office workers
* Edmonton’s culinary creatives go big with food tattoos
* Soccer star says new tattoos aim to raise famine awareness
* Meet the last tattooed women of Burma
* Mapping 61 Ancient Tattoos on a 5300-Year-Old Mummy

And in the world of the rich and famous:

* Lourdes Leon shows off new septum piercing
* Shia LaBeouf sports new rat tail, eyebrow piercing
* Kanye West Got Roman Numeral Tattoos for North & His Mom

Submit news stories.

ModBlog News of the Week: February 27th, 2015

Body modification in the news…
* Parents Get Tattoo Of Daughter’s Birthmark So She Won’t Feel Different
* Alec Falkenham, Dalhousie student, develops tattoo removal cream
* Tattoo whisperer helps cancer survivors
* Dad preserves young son’s drawings by making them into tattoos

and, of course, celebrity news…

* Benji Madden inks ‘Cameron’ tattoo across his chest for new wife
* Brantley Gilbert Gets Double-Pistol Back Tattoo

Feel free to submit news stories and I will try to make this a weekly feature again.

Strangely, I don’t hear Lady Gaga calling

As you may have already seen, as it’s become viral news on Reddit (which is how I was tipped off) and elsewhere, a guy with a mountain of skull-related tattoos (and even a little Zombie Rick-aesthetic) and an eyeball tattoo just got himself in trouble for, among other things, serial burglary and shooting a cop in Anchorage, Alaska. Not to joke about cop killers (tonight we get even), I have to admit that it is at least mildly amusing to me seeing eyeball tattoos being “endorsed” by criminals — I mean, I don’t think you could possibly come up with a better FUCK THE WORLD and NO FUTURE tattoo than a fully black eye. And as far as I’m concerned, anything at this point that stops the gentrification of tattooing the better. Scare away the yuppies that think body modification is a fashion choice. It’s not. It’s a lifestyle. Duh, it lasts for your whole life — fashion is transient, and when people get that confused, hello tattoo removal and coverups. Of course I generalize, but you know what I mean. Anyway, for my dead homies, on to the tattooed cop killer.

Best booking photo ever.

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These pictures below are snagged from the Anchorage Daily News. Click to zoom in. If you’d like to learn more about this case, maybe lose what little hope you had left for humanity, you can follow this link to the story on ADN.

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PS. For any dummy that wants to complain, no of course I am not endorsing this guy, and no I don’t think he or his actions are “cool” in any way. So don’t waste your fingers typing a complaint. Also he only grazed the cop, and didn’t kill him like he wanted to, so I don’t feel too bad speaking lightly of the event.

A Good Deed Never Goes Unpunished

Tam Mayer (of Bells Ink Tattooing & Body Piercing in Victoria, Australia) has managed to get herself in some hot water, all because she tried to do the right thing. As a part of a fundraiser for a local boy — in which they raised $3,000 to help him (the whole event raised $15,000) — she tattooed her friend Luke Coleman with this image of Buddha. At first everyone was happy, and thought they’d done something really special, and I’m sure they were even happier when some of the big tattoo rebloggers picked it up, featuring it because it’s unusual to see a tattoo like this on the sole of a foot (and I have to admit I have some doubts about how it will heal). Anyway, the problems began when Thai Buddhists saw the tattoo and took offense at the tattoo’s location — that someone was walking on the face of Buddha, which they thought was deeply disrespectful. Immediately the comments changed from congratulating Tam for a unique tattoo and more importantly, raising $3,000 for a child in need, to threatening to murder her if she ever showed her face in Thailand. Comment after comment insulted and berated her. Did Tam make a tactless mistake? Perhaps, by some interpretations of Buddhism. But by other interpretations of Buddhism, she did something wonderful. To my way of looking at it, this is just another example of extremist interpretation of religion poisoning everything. As far as I’m concerned, Tam’s got nothing to apologize for. If Buddha and Jesus existed, I’m sure they’d give her a high five for helping others, and then punch the religious radicals in the nuts for spreading hatred in their name.

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Edit: I wanted to add one other thing — as soon as Tam found out that what she’d done was potentially offensive, she apologized profusely to anyone she might have offended (as did Luke), and said they wished they’d known in advance so they could have avoided the situation. It was very clear that they’d acted only with the best of intentions — and I want to be clear that the above comments are mine, not hers.

Changing industry ethics?

When you first look at these tattoos, maybe the first thing you say to yourself is, “wow, I didn’t know tattoos could shift that much with age!”

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But then you realize that the chestpiece is on well known tattoo artist Toni Moore (of Broad Street Studio in Bath) by Tim Kern, and the neck piece is a knock off by Marcel Daatz at Extremetattoo in Munich. I know, not a line-for-line copy, but close enough that if you didn’t look at the pieces side-by-side you could easily assume they’re the same tattoo.s I often have more permissive feelings about copying than many of my friends in the industry, because it’s my opinion that tattooing has always been an artform that is built on appropriation, but this example of tattoo plaigiarism really upset me.

The reason this piece upset me so much is that Marcel Daatz appears to be a talented and capable tattoo artist. There is no need or excuse for him to be knocking off his peers’ work and claiming it as his own. It makes me very sad, and it’s an unfortunate comment on how many of the traditional tattoo culture ethics have been lost as this industry ages. I’m used to crap artists aping the pros. But for talented artists to rip each other off? To have so little respect for each other, for themselves, for the industry? It’s really heartbreaking.

What do you think? Where is the line? Is this an example of a professional backstabbing a peer? Or am I overreacting, and it’s been changed enough, and is instead an example of someone simply drawing inspiration from a well-known tattoo and getting “their own version”?

The Tattooed Face of the Future Czech President?

I have been watching with great interest the presidential campaign of Vladimír Franz, a Czech artist and composer who is taking advantage of the fact that he’s completely tattooed to attract a great deal of media and populist youth attention — first to his inky face, but once he has their attention, to his political message as well. Vladimir holds a law degree, but after graduating chose to ignore that field and focus on the arts, while supporting himself in a variety of blue-collar jobs. These days he is a teacher in the theatre department of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and also lectures in the film department. When asked about his tattoos in an interview he said (and I do my best to translate it here — the original in Czech is on his website),

Tattoo Art has accompanied mankind since time immemorial. In addition to the its original magic and ritual, it serves an aesthetic purpose. Of course it’s true that from an aesthetic point of view, this is a decision to be made by each free individual. Tattoos are an expression of free will. The tattoos are a permanent and unchangeable expression of my decision to stand up for the graces of freedom, for better or worse. I know that people have many questions about my tattoos, and that these questions will certainly continue, but I want to add that my tattoos are the result of a long-term sophisticated concept, not a sudden whim.

I can definitely appreciate those comments, and have always agreed that body modification and personal freedoms and civil rights are inexorably linked. If these thoughts are indicative of the rest of his politics (which I admit are not easy for me to really translate), then I’d be happy to see him succeed. That said, no one should ever make the mistake of assuming that someone is defined by their tattoos.

To be realistic, Vladimir Franz is about as long-shot as you can get, and I suspect his goal is more to inject a worthwhile independent voice into the dialogue and to inspire others to do the same — and I’m happy to see that his tattoos are being leveraged to achieve that — rather than the serious campaign for the Czech presidency he purports to be running. He is not the member of any political party, nor of any behind-the-scenes interest group, nor has he profited from overpriced government contracts. He sees himself as a man sensitive to injustice, with a sense of humor and an inner relationship to nature, able to listen to others, and with a never-ending passion to learn and expand himself. These are all wonderful, but the sad reality is that they go a long way to disqualifying an individual from the corrupt, beholden, and rotten-to-the-core political process.

Visit vladimirfranz.cz for more information.

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PS. I’m in no way saying that anyone should vote for a politician just because they have a tattooed face. But for me, when I see someone that looks like this, I know that we at least have some shared background and life experience, and that it’s worth taking the time to hear what they have to say. In addition, for better or worse, a tattooed face means there’s a very good chance the individual is not beholden to big business, because by and large a tattooed face is a great way — at least for now — of having those doors slammed in your face. The irony of my comment is that by supporting such politicians for that reason, we help eliminate the validity of that reason!!!

Tattooed really is the new black

And by that I mean that “Black Like Me” has become “Tattooed Like Me”. In 1961 journalist John Howard Griffin — a white man — published the book “Black Like Me” detailing a six-week journey through segregated America while convincingly disguised as a black man. Now in 2012, journalist Brad Casey — a plainskin — has written an essay for Vice magazine detailing his five day experience in today’s America while convincingly disguised as a man with a facial tattoo. He describes the constant, never-ending and very annoying staring (and breaks down the types of stares), often drunken comments and insults, terrified babies, apparent prejudicial treatment at a job interview, and women undressing him with their eyes hoping that the tattoos signify him being a sex freak for them to have a one-night-adventure with.

So what does Brad, who jokes that his untattooed condition is due to his fear of becoming addicted if he were to get a taste of the modified lifestyle think of the whole adventure? That “having a face tattoo was fun most of the time and taking it off made me feel, in the days following, like something was missing” and that “the most difficult part of having a face tattoo is spending your day explaining your shitty life decision to every single person you meet.” It’s really just a fluff piece, but a fun read nonetheless. Check it out at vice.com/read/i-had-a-face-tattoo-for-a-week

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Self-Harm as Performance Boosting Aid?

There’s a fascinating article up right now by Matt McGrath, a science reporter for the BBC — Paralympic athletes who harm themselves to perform better — which discusses the effects of injury and pain on sports performance. Apparently this is especially relevant to paralympic athletes because some of the normal feedback systems that their body would have to increase blood pressure and heart rate while competing could be damaged. The practice of self-harm in sports even has a name, “boosting”, and it’s actually banned by by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) — and has been since 1994, the year BME was founded. It is believed that perhaps a third of all para-athletes have self-harmed to boost performance.

“There have been times where I would specifically give my leg or my toe a couple of really good electric shocks” says Brad Zdanivsky, a 36-year-old Canadian quadriplegic climber who has experimented with boosting in the gym.

“That would make my blood pressure jump up and I could do more weights and cycle harder — it is effective.”

Other athletes overfill their bladder, sometimes by will, or by clamping off their catheter if they wear one. Others sit on a tack, or tightly strap their legs, or twist their scrotum or otherwise do the sort of things that would get you a free membership and jerk-off-fans in BME/HARD. Still others go as far as taking out a hammer and shattering their toe. This interesting because even though they may not be able to feel the broken toe consciously due to being paraplegic, their body still responds to the injury in ways that cause a performance increase — they are inducing what’s medically called “autonomic dysreflexia and can be quite dangerous.

“I took it a notch further by using an electrical stimulus on my leg, my toe and even my testicles.”

But boosting comes at a price.

“You are getting a blood pressure spike that could quite easily blow a vessel behind your eye or cause a stroke in your brain,” says Zdanivsky.

“It can actually stop your heart. It’s very unpleasant, but the results are hard to deny. The saying is that winners always want the ball, so it doesn’t matter if it’s unpleasant, it gets results.”

In addition to causing an increase in athletic performance, according to spinal injury researcher Dr. Andrei Krassioukov at UBC, the increase in blood pressure can also have a mood effect. He puts it simply, pointing out that people “feel better with their blood pressure higher”. I’m sure that this — in addition to the endorphin high — relates to the people who cut themselves ritually or therapeutically as featured in BME’s self-harm galleries and stories (whether you think this is illness or valid is a secondary issue — right now I’m only talking about the underlying medical mechanics). Unlike blood doping or steroids, it is virtually impossible to test for “boosting”, and just because it’s banned doesn’t mean it can be stopped.

Well, I know this was a little removed from body modification proper, but I hope that it still gives some interesting insights into overlapping issues.

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By the way, the background photo above that I’ve used to illustrate this entry is from an earlier ModBlog entry by Rob that’s a very fascinating story — apparently this client came in wanting to get a voluntary scarification that had the appearance of self-harm to avoid military service! Here’s the entry: Self Preservation or Self Harm? Another very interesting tale.