Buzzfeed has an interesting article right now about the leftovers of the “skinvertising” industry. It seems to have all-but died out, but there was a time where you could collect tens of thousands of dollars for tattooing your face or other body parts with a corporate logo — the Golden Palace casino’s attention-seeking marketing team took regular advantage of the publicity this generated.
I asked long time BME frenemy Brent Moffat, an eccentric but conservative modification artist who has held world records in piercing and knows first hand what it’s like to be part of the “skinvertising” world as he accepted $10,000 to tattoo the Golden Palace logo on his forehead. These days the tattoo is almost completely eliminated by removal and cover-up, but even that Brent seems to hide most of the time under a hat judging by the photos he has posted. I was very interested in hearing his feedback on this story, since he’s one of the only people I know that’s willing to speak his mind honestly on the subject and also has significant first-hand experience with both the “publicity stunt” world and the “skinvertising” world. I’d like to share here some of his comments posted on this story. My apologies to Brent for using rather unflattering photos — the left one is with the tattoo fresh, and the other two are more recent.
I cant speak for anyone but myself but when I “sold” my forehead to Golden Palace back in 2005 I did it for a quick $10,000 to help and start a business (my piercing studio that later disolved due to a breakup). I make a point of tryin to never regret anything I do in life, but I will say that the day has come that I do regret not only this but all of my facial work. Unlike many people with facial work I live in Bible Belt Saskatchewan and am the only person in my whole city with anything above the neckline that I know of, so it has gotten in the way of my lovelife and in the way of jobs.
I would seriously discourage any young person from facial or “Ad” work on their body because the reality is the world is still not as tattoo friendly as you think it may be and its very very permanent. I started the process of removing the forehead work I had from Golden Palace and it was the most painful thing I have ever felt and I was so swollen I couldnt see for days.
“To each there own”, but take some time and think, and think hard, about what kind of presentation you are making to the world because it can and has come back to “bite people in the ass”. I thought I would be a piercer for the rest of my life, but as life is, it came along and changed everything for me and now im a unemployed disabled phlebotomist. I believe most of my unemployability is due to my tattoos, for which I have no one to blame but myself. I love them but I wish they were a few feet lower on my body knowing what I now know.
As per the early 2000 craze towards “ad” work, it was publicity stunts and that was it. I probably could have not gotten the forehead tattoo done at all and Golden Palace wouldn’t have cared because they got their name in every paper in the world and that is what they were paying for. However, seeing as I am an honest person, I would have felt like I robbed them if I hadn’t had gotten it done. So obviously I did. It’s bad when you have people in society struggling, especially when they have kids — like the woman who did her forehead as well like me — because you will do anything to provide not only for yourself but also for your children. If it means pain and ridicule… so be it.
Given how common facial tattooing is, I hope that people will take his words seriously, especially given at what a young age people are making permanent and largely irreversible life-altering decisions. Of course, young age may well make it impossible to really consider this issue with perspective. I hope that most people have better luck than Brent has, but I fear not all will, and that his story will repeat itself in other lives. Brent is currently working on his autobiography, so perhaps in time there you’ll hear more of this story — and he’ll be able to say he’s a successful author, rather than an unemployed phlebotomist.