This week’s news is coming to you from Chicago. As the first stop on my trip around North America most of the time has been spent getting ready with my road trip buddy for the coming months. Just because I’m on the road, doesn’t mean the news is going to stop. So, with that said, let’s see what has happened in the world since last week’s update.
We’re going to start this week by taking a look at how modified people are making a positive impact in their communities. Be it through their art, setting an example for others, or taking time to help out those who can’t help themselves, all these individuals have taken their modifications and used them for something positive.
First up we have Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi artist who is using his skin as a canvas to bring attention to the continuing loss of life in the war with Iraq.
Over the next 24 hours, they would be barraged by dots of ink, thousands and thousands of them — each representing a casualty of the Iraq war. The dots are tattooed near the city where the person died: red ink for the American soldiers, ultraviolet ink for the Iraqi civilians, invisible unless seen under black light. “We are talking about 100,000 Iraqis who have died and 5,000 American soldiers,” Bilal says. “They’re not visible. Many people don’t even know the number.”
Continue reading to hear about more people like Wafaa, as well as some followup to stories from the past few weeks, some interesting perspectives on religion and body modifications, and the return of the celebrity roundup!
In New Hampshire Steve Manchini, a high school drop out, has returned to school and is proving to his community that heavily modified young people can succeed when given the opportunity to.
Manchini wears glass earrings that are nearly 3 inches in diameter. His first piercing came at age 14. He has six tattoos. And no matter the weather, he wears flip flops. Despite quitting school his sophomore year, Manchini will graduate this month with honors, placing him closer to a goal of attending medical school. He wants to major in neuroscience, the study of the brain and nervous system.
A little south of Steve, in Ashville NC, Freaks & Geeks Tattoo Sideshow is holding their annual “Tattooing Paws for a Cause” event this month.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a 12-hour pet paw print tattoo and body piercing marathon from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, June 27, at Freaks & Geeks. During that day, patrons may choose from four paw print tattoo designs for the deeply discounted price of $40. Diamond Thieves Body Piercing owner Daron James will provide above-the-neck and belly button piercings during the daylong event for the reduced cost of $15. All clients will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Proceeds from the marathon will benefit the Humane Society, which will have a number of pets up for adoption on site during the event.
In addition the shop will act as both a donation center for people looking to donate to the Humane Society, as well as providing information regarding adoption. If you’re in the area and have some time, swing on by and either get some work done, or make a donation.
Finally we have an interview with Dawn Kasper, an LA based artist that incorporates branding and scarification into her performance art.
In one performance, she branded the word “love” onto the skin of her inner bicep. (She followed with “truth” on the other bicep several years later.) In another, she carved the shape of a heart into the middle of her chest, an unsettlingly visible expression, one could say, of wearing her heart on her sleeve. The scars of both remain.
June also appears to be a good month in the news for artists that incorporate tattoos into their work. In Hammonton NJ, the Noyes Museum is hosting an exhibit entitled “The Art of Tattoo”, featuring not only photos of tattoos, but also original sketches and paintings. Melbourne tattoo artist Jessica Swaffer, is featured this week in on thevine.com.au. Jessica’s watercolors are a modern take on late 1800s pornography, mixed with classical tattoo imagery. Over on the west coast, OCWeekly has done a photo essay on local chefs and their body art. And really, who doesn’t love good food mixed with a splash of color.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about how three Canadian provinces have no regulations in place when it comes to any form of body modifications. Well it seems that those provinces aren’t the only places that are looking at doing something with regards to regulations. In Florida, governor Charlie Crist signed into law new legislation dealing with age restrictions, as well as health standards.
Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law Friday a bill that bans children and teenagers younger than 16 from being tattooed and requires those 16 to 18 to bring a parent to give permission before they get inked. The law (HB 729) also regulates tattoo artists for the first time. They must get a license, take an infection control course and pass an annual test.
The only downside I’m seeing to this is that the law doesn’t take effect until January 2012, which means for another year or so Florida will still be following the old rules. While Florida is taking steps forward, it seems California is digging its heels in and not making any progress.
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, who was born with hepatitis B, stepped in, introducing a bill to codify the standards. Supported by health officers, blood banks and the body-art industry, it sailed through the Assembly and Senate in 2009 with virtually no dissent. But when it landed on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk, to the astonishment of all, he vetoed it, saying he didn’t see the point.
There currently is another bill pending, being supported by even more groups, so hopefully the Governator will allow it to be passed instead of arbitrarily vetoing it again.
Taking a quick look at some of the stories that I mentioned in the past, the student that was assaulted by his classmates and forced to have his ass tattooed has relocated and plans to finish out the school year at a new school. The jury has begun deliberations in the case of the father who tattooed a gang symbol on his seven year-old son. While the prosecution has presented the case as a straightforward assault/child endangerment suit, the defense is claiming “the jury has to find Gonzalez and Gorman not guilty if they are not willing to convict a parent for piercing their kids’ ear or getting them circumcised”. Now I can’t recall if I mentioned this story before, but Curtis Allgier, who has been charged with killing a prison guard, is asking for permission to cover his extensive facial tattoos while in court. so that he can get a fair trial.
In certain cultures and religions, body modifications are frowned upon, and in some cases considered a sin. This week I came across two articles about modifications and religion, that surprisingly don’t take a negative turn. In the first article two Rabbis answer the question “What should I do about my tattoos before converting?”
Moreover, the tattoos condemned by the original ban were carried out either as a form of self-harm as part of excessive grief over a bereavement, or they were a religious rite belonging to a pagan faith. These are not in the same category as the ones you bear, which were probably done for decorative reasons. I also assume they are permanent and cannot be removed, otherwise that would be an easy solution. Still, by definition, the act of conversion implies both “turning away from” a certain lifestyle and “turning towards” a new path. You cannot undo your past, either the visible bits or the invisible aspects, but what counts is the person you are now and who you wish to become.
The second story is about a Christian church in Springfield MO that has taken a significantly different stance on body modification than the majority of Evangelical churches.
“In the lobby of the south-side Springfield church, one wall is covered with photos of members proudly displaying their tattoos. “
The church has taken the position of embracing the modifications of it’s parishoners as something to be celebrated, not condemned. For me personally, this sounds like a great step forward and hopefully more churches follow suit.
Now I know everyone’s favorite section is the celebrity roundup, but I’ve got two more stories to go before we get to the good stuff.
On Judge Judy recently a tattoo artist was being sued by a former employee. Unfortunately he made the mistake of trying to tell Judge Judy how to do her job.
In my favorite article I found this week, an author holds nothing back in describing his feelings towards tattoos. I’ll just let him speak for himself, I’m sure you’ll have some choice words for him by the time you’re finished reading it.
And now ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the celebrity roundup!
Well, it turns out that all of us tattooed Modblog readers have gotten our ink because we’re following the trend set by pioneers such as Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie, and something called a Justin Bierber.
Speaking of Megan Fox, everyone’s favorite toe-thumbed, robot fighting, motorcycle riding, starlet has gotten herself tattoo number nine (I know I shouldn’t be shocked there are people keeping count, but really?)
When I say the words “rugby player” what are the first things you think of? Maybe it’s Matt Damon in Invictus, or is it the sterotyped image of a huddle of the toughest guys on the planet beating the shit out of each other. Well, it turns out some of those guys just aren’t that tough.
A new tattoo is understood to be behind Jake Friend’s latest brush with the law, with the Sydney Roosters hooker arrested for possessing two valium tablets without prescription after being searched by police in Coogee on Saturday night. The Herald was told Friend had the tablets to relieve pain from tattoo work done last week, as well as help with anxiety, and will plead not guilty to the charge.”
Supposedly there’s some books about vampires that have gotten popular in the past couple years. I’m not entirely sure what they’re about, but I think glitter is involved. Well, I guess these books have gotten the actors in the films based on the books famous. So famous that the fans are getting themselves tattooed with their autographs. After looking at the pictures, I just have one question, isn’t that Shark Boy on the right?
Finally, it turns out that a rock star getting tattooed is news. I know, I was shocked too. Well, thanks to twitter, we can all see Courtney Love‘s latest pieces of art. Also, the rock and roll lifestyle has taken it’s toll on Metallica’s James Hetfield. After getting his latest tattoo, he’s looking to make himself the new poster boy for the straightedge movement. Any straightedge types have any thoughts on this?
So that’s it for this week’s news. Next week I should be somewhere in Colorado, so once I get to a wifi hotspot, you can expect to see the latest collection of mod related news from around the world.
Thanks again to Botexty for the Aussie submissions, and if anyone else comes across a story you think should be on Modblog, feel free to submit it here. Have a great week everyone, and take care.