Oldschool Surface Piercing

Bic from Burning Monk Tattoo in Montreal sends in this back piercing project.

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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.

43 thoughts on “Oldschool Surface Piercing

  1. personally with all the distortion I’m seeing in the skin…Personally I’d be inclined to say it DOESN’T look good.

    I’m assuming by “OldSchool Surface Piercing” we’re talking about doing the surface work without the use of proper surface bars as jewelry….Correct?

    I can barely make out what the jewelry is in the pictures but they either look like straight or slightly bent barbells or some kind of PTFE, Tygon,etc.

  2. Warren – Yes, that’s what I meant by that. I think they’re straight or slightly curved bars. If I remember right though, Bic has quite a lot of surface piercings of this type himself, as does this client.

  3. Just a thought from someone who knows next to nothing about piercing: the piercing up on the shoulder, across the skull tattoo might have been a little more effective if it had been positioned to create metallic eyes for the skull.

    Have surface piercings really been around long enough to call anything “old school”? If so, man, oh man, do I feel old!

  4. Interesting scarification method. no way in hell those are all going to stay. And what makes it old school? Too many piercings at once? and to echo some other posts…..it looks terrible.

  5. ouch there looks so many things wrong with that! is it expected to heal or is it just temporary beacuse some of those bars look too long to drain properly and abcesses are never nice! the bars are so short as well they are digging into the skin loads, its hardly an advert for the studio that did this, but its his choice i guess.

  6. How fresh is this? Just wondering because of how red some of the indentations are. Looks like it would be uncomfortable to sleep on.

  7. some of them look a good inch or inch and a half apart. i can’t imagine being able to move properly with those in the positions and lenghts they are, even done with proper surface bars. i could be wrong though. but damn, he’ll be cutting those out if he leaves them in.

  8. Shannon: I’d like to inquire about the longevity of these “surface piercings”

    Sure as we all know, at least those who are informed, that on occasion just some people can heal ANYTHING in their body.

    But personally based on the knowledge I’ve obtained about Surface work…The jewelry length is too long and the natural body movement is going to promote problems.

    Not to mention the concept of upward force pushing the body jewelry upward, coupled with the fact of the sheer number of “surface piercings” done….Would put a strain on the healing process as well as promote migration/rejection.

    I can’t help but maintain the thought that if certain things were once done in the past but now viewed as obsolete due to better jewelry types(ie: surface bars)…WHY delve back into the obsolete method after it was already proven not ideal?

    It’s like how some piercers will lament how back in the day Jim Ward did this and did that…But if anyone who has watched Modify yet, has even heard Jim say that a lot of what they did back in the day was trial and error and they know better now. ie: such as the creation of Receiver Tubes over using the ends of Q-Tips.

    So if the forefathers from the past say: “Hey, yeah we did it, but that’s because NOTHING else was out there.” Why follow in their same mistakes when you can learn from them and stay away from them.

    Based on what I’m seeing though in the picture, it’s more of a: “Hey I was bored today at work, look what I did to kill time!” As the jewelry type, placement is just going to create too many problems.

    As we’ve all seen in the past and present how things like surface piercings and transdermal implants hold up on the back…It’s very uncomfortable sleeping and are ALWAYS problematic.

  9. Autumn: If you look at the bottom right of the picture you can still see some plasma/blood as well as others along the lower back appear to still be red and irritated.

    I’d say if anything some of them were done at least maybe a week prior to the picture, as some don’t appear to have any redness.

    But yes I’m definately curious if this was all done in one session or spanned out over a period of time.

  10. Warren – Personally I think they’ll be tough to heal and they’re not the way that *I* would do them.

    However, I’ve seen lots of piercings like this heal (although certainly the minority of them heal)… There’s an older guy that I’ve featured a few times in BME/HARD that has tons of healed piercings exactly like this, and as I said, if I recall correctly, Bic (the piercer in this case) has quite a few healed surface piercings done using oldschool techniques.

  11. Definately the percentages work out to the realization that some people can pretty much heal ANYTHING that’s been done to them.

    Makes me wish I had their healing abilities.

  12. Like everyone else said, I’m not so sure how they’ll hold up. For his sake, I hope they do, but the whole look of the dimpled skin isn’t so much my thing.

  13. Wow, I’ve just noticed where the PTFE (I assume) is running underneath the skin, those are some looong piercings, he must’ve had at least a six-inch needle for those. Aside from that, I’m not going to bother giving my opinion about the work, as it’s obvious what I’m going to say.


  14. Having been tattooed at burning monk and seen the portfolio of this bic guy, who btw is also part of a freak show, i can attest that he does good work as i have watched him working and his clients seem to like it.
    now, the guy knows what hes doing and if his client wanted it that way who are we to judge?

  15. Lily: just because you have been tattooed at burning monk and seen his portfolio and because he is part of a freak show doesnt mean he is necessarily any good at surface piercing, which these photos show thats he isn’t. I understand as Shannon said that he has this type of piercing healed on himself, but he shouldn’t be subjecting others to it.

    the fact that his client wanted it that way (if he did) shouldn’t come into it at all. a piercer has a responsibility to his/her client to say no to doing a procedure which is just completely stupid.

    on a side note, some of those really long barbells look like just straight metal (could be a flexible material, its hard to tell from the photo) barbells whereas the ones in his nape look like curved ones. horrible.

  16. I recentlly did two surface piercings on a customer in my shop, they were placed towards the top of both of his shoulder blades. The location was made so when he wore a singlet at the gym, they would both be visible.

    I thought it was an odd request, but I guess I have heard weirder.

    Being a fan of surface bars I first showed him some nice int disc bars and then placed around dotting on his back. It didn’t matter where or how I dotted, when he moved his arms there was SO much movement in them that it would surely ‘pop’ out one side or ‘pinch’ the inwards tissue.

    After much debate on it, we actually went with 14g PTFE barbells and it proved it be really quite good. Just my defense to the above piercer, sometimes surface bars aren’t th perfect solution. However, I think the bars are way too fucking short.

    </My 2c.>

  17. Lily: Piercer Ethics & Morals 101 = THE CLIENT ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT!

    It’s like many piercings done and then posted on BME. BME is about documenting the modification experience even if it’s potentially going to harm/hinder the person or even if it’s just a stupid silly “hey we’re bored lets do this!”

    But just because SOMEONE did it and it was posted on BME, doesn’t mean every piercer should start doing/offering it too.

    Ethics and Morals combined with our abilities is what promotes Higher Standard Body Piercers. They should think things through long and hard ever before doing something silly/stupid or simply for the money.

    I say if the piercer KNOWS full well that the piercing is not going to work out in the short term or possibly long term. They have an ethical and moral obligation to tell the client of this.

    Now some piercers feel ethically and morally released should the person in question WAIVE them of any liabilities,etc over this situation…But personally…After I told someone that it would not be a good idea and they tried to talk me into still doing the piercing, I’d point them to the door.

    Now I’m not trash talking BIC at all, I don’t know this guy. I tend to trust people who have seen work and say it’s acceptable.

    However as I said from what I’ve seen from the photo and the knowledge I have, personally I wouldn’t have done the work that way. The cons far outweigh the pros in my mind.

    But if Bic has had success doing this and feels that he can make them work, even after Surface Bars have been proven as being the most successful jewelry choice for surface piercings…Then more power to him.

    Body Piercings reflect TWO things. 1) the client truly wants it and is happy about the final outcome and 2) The piercer has done the best possible service and afterwards when all is said an done the piercer is happy with the work too.

    This isn’t just about the clients…As when each client leaves a piercing studio, what they have speaks of the piercer who did the work. Crap work just that, just like Awesome work equals awesome piercer.

  18. I know thats not going to last, but I must admit I really love the dimpled look. I want to touch it

  19. Reminds me of an overstuffed mattress. Personally, I don’t find anything about this “look” aesthetically pleasing.

  20. He’s going to look like he had patterned bacne if/when this rejects (assuming he pulls the bars out early on and doesn’t just let them rot out on thier own)…

  21. A “POTATO”!! LMAO!
    That’s funny. I doubt these will work (I’ve seen stranger heal, admittedly) They are very long and won’t drain properly and they’re not proper surface bars.

    This is all in all an interesting “look what’s up in the world” entry, but it sucks that some people will get the impressiong that this is okay to do.

    It’s like “certain” magazines showcasing these hackjob piercers. In MY world, if you’re a published artist, it’s because you’re doing a good job. But somehow these artists get tracked down out of god knows where and show off these horrid industrials with 2″ long barbells hanging off the ears, straight ss barbell surface piercings, hand piercings, etc.

    So piercers who CARE and KNOW BETTER get these clients in all the time saying “I want my lower back pierced with a series of straight barbells! Well the piercer in the magazine did it!” And then my job is to educate people. ORRRrrr they go to the next hack who read the same magazine and strives to be “that awesome” and scars his client up for life.

    I think it’s important to note in posts like these, that there is little chance of certain piercings healing and the circumstances in which a seemingly professional piercer (hey, he’s published in MODBLOG afterall, right?) would pierce someone in this very dated way.

  22. I’ve always wondered if shitty surface piercings could be an option for scarification like intentionally having very shitty surface piercings done and then just knocking the shit out of them so they have no chance of healing…hopefully this guy posts some nice pics of his very nice rejection scars

  23. the dimpled look makes me wanna touch it..
    i am sure he knows what he’s doing hence letting the piercer do quite a number.

    if it was meant to be a play, a more symmetrical look will do justice.

  24. this project is juste for two or tree days max i know the strait barbell is not god for the surface peircing

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