ModBlog News of the Week: March 4th, 2011

I’m on the road this week so today’s news post is coming to you from Philadelphia, PA.  We had a lot of people submit stories this week, as well as quite a few people messaged me about Zombie Boy’s appearance in Lady Gaga’s new video (Skip ahead to 4:10 for the tattooed goodness).

This week’s top story comes out of Utah.  While it may not be news to any ModBlog reader, scarification is starting to get some attention in the news.  A Utah publication too the time to sit down with artist Dustin Robbins to get some insight into the world of scarification and branding.

It’s the newest ancient practice around, as evidenced by centuries-old cultures that viewed physical pain as a gateway to spiritual purification and secret knowledge. And even communion with God, as in the case of the Roman Catholic Church’s history of “mortification of the flesh.”  In contemporary culture, some groups, like fraternities or football teams, are known for cutting their own flesh. That’s a practice, of course, that professionals like Robbins don’t recommend.

At Iris Piercing, branding and cutting are separate from the majority of the shop’s piercing business, said Jesse Dobbs, co-owner along with Robbins. Not surprisingly, most branding and scarification requests end up at their doors through personal referral and other word-of-mouth.

No licenses govern those who perform body art such as tattooing, branding or scarification under the current guidelines of Utah’s Barber, Cosmetologist/Barber, Esthetician, Electrologist and Nail Technician Licensing Act, according to Tom Hukachko, spokesman for the Utah Department of Health. The only statewide regulation of tattoo parlors prohibits minors younger than 18 from getting inked, burned or cut in the name of body art.

There’s lots more news to come, including a scarification technique that isn’t the norm, and some comments from Penny Arcade over a movie that just came out.

The New York Times recently interviewed chef an author Gabrielle Hamilton.  She talks about her life as a chef as well as the scars she has, both accidental and intentional.

Perhaps it is telling that she carries at least one scar on her body that she received by design. A decade ago, in Boston for her 35th birthday, she paid a call on a body-modification artist. Ms. Hamilton wanted what’s known as a “slash and burn.” She selected a spot on her right arm to be ritualistically cut, dabbed with alcohol and set aflame. “It’s sort of like a tattoo except 5,000 times more painful,” she said. “And when they cut you, my God, they cut you.”

I don’t think I’ve seen too many “Slash and Burn” scars come through the galleries.  Does anyone have any experience with them?  I’d love to hear about it.

With the tragedy in Christchurch, NZ the community lost Matti Mceachen, a tattoo artist at Southern Ink.  When I posted the story the day after the earthquake there wasn’t much to go on information wise.  Since then the Sydney Morning Herald was able to get in touch with Matti’s family and friends who shared their stories of Matti.

Matthew Mceachen was only metres from safety when his tattoo parlour facade collapsed and killed him.

Following behind him, a receptionist at Southern Ink on Colombo Street broke her back and fractured her neck but managed to crawl through the debris and survive, friends said.

She was reportedly in hospital as tributes poured in for Mr Mceachen, 25. Friends said people fell in love with him instantly and colleagues called him ”the oil in the machine in the shop”.

”He is going to leave a void in all of us that will be so much larger than his actual physical size. He was only little but his heart was so huge,” his friend Jak Parkin said.

Inked For Christchurch is a group of tattoo studios that are coming together to raise funds to help out those in the tattoo community that were affected by the tragedy.  Events include discounted tattoo days with all proceeds going towards to rebuilding efforts, as well as assistance to those who have suffered losses due to the earthquake.

While this isn’t a story about the earthquake, it is one about tattoo artists in the UK getting together to raise funds for Help for Heroes, a charity group dedicated to helping the families of those in the armed forces.  Normally when you hear of tattoo charity drives, it’s a studio tattooing ribbons to support a cause.  This time around, they’re doing something a little different.

A Cult of cupcake tattoos which honour soldiers is sweeping the nation – and a North Lincolnshire tattoo artist helped mastermind it.  Rose Elizabeth, who works at ABH Tattooing in Mary Street, wanted to use her skill as a tattooist to raise money for Help For Heroes.  She settled on a campaign using designs of cupcakes, which are small and enjoy near universal popularity, after discussing ideas with Richmond-based tattooist Collean Moss.  Hundreds of people have been getting the £20 tattoos to show their support for Help For Heroes – and proceeds go to the charity.

I’ve linked to stories in the past about how the eastern Canadian provinces have no regulations when it comes to tattoo studios.  Last week Alicia Simms, an artist from Trouble Bound Studio in Newfoundland made a public plea for the government to step in and start to enforce some kind of health and safety regulations.

We are trained professionals who’ve endured years of honing our craft, updating our techniques and using medical grade sterilization equipment, but all a client has to go on is that we can actually show them our equipment and the process and procedures we follow to ensure there is no cross-contamination between clients – and our word.

So help us help our province to bring awareness to this issue before someone has to go public with being infected from an ill-gotten tattoo from a basement or a kid’s face is permanently paralyzed from a piercing their friend thought they could do with a safety pin.

Moving to the other side of the globe, a politician in Kenya was recently ejected from parliament for heinous crime of wearing earrings.

Gidion Mbuvi, who also had sunglasses, was excluded from a session after other MPs decided that the way he dressed offended the dignity of the assembly.  Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim said the house had never before been entered by a male lawmaker wearing earrings.  But supporters of the 35-year-old Mr Mbuvi, who is nicknamed “rich man”, accused Mr Maalim of intolerance.

“The dress or the manner in which the honourable (MP) is dressed today does not depict, in the eyes and the opinion and the conscience of the chair, the dignity of this house and that of an honourable member,” Mr Maalim was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.  “Never in the history of this house… have I seen a situation in which a member of parliament, who is a male, come in with earrings or some stuff in the ears or whatever you may want to call it,” the deputy speaker said.

I would have thought his poor fashion sense would have been what kicked him out, not the studs in his ears.

Motherjones.com recently did an interview with Ina Saltz.  Ina is a photojournalist who just completed a photo essay on typographic tattoos entitled “Body Type”.  Both the interview and the essays are worth checking out if you have some time over the weekend.

Fox News in Omaha took a look into the world of suspensions this week, interviewing Mike Coons from the Hooked Suspension Team.

Coons tells Fox 42 he’s had people suspend by hooking the top of their backs, inside their knees, and on their torso. But he assures others that the group provides “the safest experience possible.”  “We’re not crazy,” he said. “We’re not just in it because we like pain or because we want to get a high.”  He said the endorphins released provide a rush or a slight high sensation, but that everyone does it for different reasons.  Eriq explained, “I felt like a new person. My time in the air rejuvenated, removed all the bad and refilled me with nothing but love from both my blood family and my hook family.”

Wellness and Lifestyle Coach Amy Mccae said, “I would hope they would find a more comfortable way in which to find peace.”  Mccae added there are healthy ways to deal with life, and that human suspension is not one of them. “I was very saddened that people would go to such great lengths when there’s no need. You can establish a great connection a great connection to a spiritual source or to relaxation to set goals to do with anything you want in meditation without any extremes,” Mccae said.

I love how they went to a lifestyle coach to get a differing opinion on suspension.  Of course she’ll say there’s no need to suspend when people can come and give her money to have her tell them what to do.

While writing up today’s news I got a last minute submission about an automatic tattoo machine.

Auto Ink is a three axis numerically controlled sculpture. Once the main switch is triggered, the operator is assigned a religion and it’s corresponding symbol is tattooed onto the person’s arm. The operator does not have control over the assigned symbol. It is assigned either randomly or through divine intervention, depending on your personal beliefs.

Just before we move on to the celebrity news, there is one more story that a number of people have e-mailed me about.  The new “Beauty and the Beast” adaptation entitled “Beastly” has offended quite a few people in the modified community, for understandable reasons.  The film take an “attractive” person, and makes them “hideous” by essentially adding tattoos and piercings.  It’s a huge and tragic event that the main character must go into hiding because everyone around him finds him revolting.  Tycho from Penny Arcade summed up a lot of what people are feeling in a recent blog post.

It was an act of will to keep from cocking my head at the Beastly trailer, which Gabriel queued up while laughing through his nose. Eventually I had to use my hands to maintain a neutral orientation, but then the urge to knit a scornful brow nudged its way through and everything fell apart. Ugly has received a significant downgrade, or perhaps an upgrade; maybe it depends on what you’re trying to determine.

If you’re trying to determine if Ugly is a word with a reliable meaning, I might suggest the former.

This “monster” looks like a fairly regular person out of BMEZine, frankly. I don’t have an opinion on that continuum of human experience, other than to say that their B is their property and they can M it if they want to, what I’m saying is that the “beast” in this movie only nominally represents something undesirable, and independent of the narrative’s candy shell you would have no idea that that this intense fellow was meant to be loathsome as opposed to an eminently desirable frontman astride some gloomwrought fork of Mausoleum Rock.

You can also read the comic that goes along with this piece right here.

Moving on to the celebrity round-up, it’s a pretty light week this time around, but it’s still populated by a whole lot of crazy.

For starters, David Beckham recently got a new tattoo depicting himself as jesus and his sons as cherubs lifting him to heaven.  We get it Dave.  You’re a good footballer.  Except of course when you’re sitting on the sidelines because of your latest injury.  But as long as he can make it to fashion week, he’ll be alright.

Not to be outdone by Gucci Mane’s ice cream tattoo, rapper Yung L.A. got a pink duck tattooed on the side of his face. I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that he got a tattoo of his newest label on his face, or that there’s a 15 minute video of him getting it done.

Someone named Cher Lloyd also got a new tattoo.  She’s famous for losing a televised talent show.  That’s it.  At least that Justin guy who lost American Idol got a movie.

Finally, when it comes to crazy, Charlie Sheen is making serious power moves to take over the number one spot from Gary Busey.  When Carlos Estevez isn’t making fun of his boss for changing his name, or ranting like a lunatic in a televised interview, he’s getting a tribute tattoo dedicated to his father.

“The banner from the death card that Kilgore (from Apocalypse Now) is throwing on his victims, but there’s also falling from it, is the apple from The Giving Tree. There’s my life. Deal with it. Oh wait, can’t process it? Losers. Buh bye.” — Charlie Sheen

And with that double dose of lunacy, this week is done.  Remember to send in any links you stumble across over for next week’s News of the Week.

14 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: March 4th, 2011

  1. I had no idea that Dustin did scarification! Iris Piercing is my go-to shop, in fact I was even there just three days ago and have gotten the vast majority of my piercings there by Jesse, Dustin and Nick. I will have to stop in again soon and ask to see his scarification portfolio.

  2. love how that new reporter went asking for a different opinion and then suggested that it was all bad. acupuncture, even though medical, not worth the effort or time. try yoga, too stressful? just meditate, sit around and do nothing…. its the American way. haha

    and thank you SHEEN! im still waiting for Wild Thing to come back

  3. Just to play devil’s advocate concerning Beastly. The movie does not use attack the modified community directly, nor does it say that if someone has tattoos, piercings or scars they are “beastly.” The movie is really playing off the idea of internal identity. Many of us, myself included, would feel suddenly freakish or awkward if our modifications were suddenly and forcibly removed, just as most unmodified people would feel freakish if they were suddenly modified against their will.

    I’m not going to defend the quality of the movie but the idea of finding one’s inner humanity no matter what your outward appearance seems like something our community would embrace. Personally, I love all of my modifications and encourage others to be modified, but only when they are already curious. I will never tell someone they should be modified because it makes them look cooler, or it’s better to be modified. It’s a very personal choice, and while this movie isn’t super sensitive, I don’t see any benefit to working so hard to be offended by it when the underlying message fits into our community far better than “mainstream” culture.

    That all being said. I still hate the idea that a facial tattoo, or a scar or piercing is something that would alienate someone from society. But at the end of the day, it is. And instead of bitching about the world we live in, let’s try to be better people so that mainstream society sees our personalities before our modifications.

  4. re: beastly

    he’s also hairless. which makes him a monster right. I honestly wasn’t offended at all by this movie until I looked up pictures to see the mod thing, and now I’m kinda pissed.

  5. Aww, I submitted news for once and it didn’t make it, bummed.

    So happy to see Zombie going from being interviewed by Shannon via proxy on the street to getting some pretty serious exposure these days.

    Beastly only poses one question to me: if I was dating a heavily modified girl with similar features (facial scarification and tattoos), then as soon as I fell in love with her – it all went away and she went back to being some boring stuck up bitch (as it implies he is), I’d probably feel a little cheated.

  6. automatic tattoo machine? no way, April fools is a whole month away

    also the Beastly guy has like a metal tree going from his eyebrows up his forehead, I’m gonna have people coming in wanting me to do that for them, that’s what pisses me off

  7. “Following behind him, a receptionist at Southern Ink on Colombo Street broke her back and fractured her neck but managed to crawl through the debris and survive, friends said.”

    Jesus Christ.

  8. Cher Lloyd is Cheryl cole’s mini me and she needs to disappear off the face of the planet! (not in a violent way just….*POOF* and gone.)

  9. i just might have to put up with the prejudice of beastly just to see neil patrick harris

  10. I didn’t know it had a name but when i got my initial facial scars years ago, he put alcohol on it and lit it. didn’t really do much as far as feeling other than warmth

  11. I’d be significantly more upset about Beastly if it hadn’t totally backfired xD I just lurked a bunch of comments on the trailer and found a pretty decent number of people saying either he wasn’t that ugly as the ‘beast’ or they think he was more attractive as the ‘beast’.

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