by Iestyn Flye, ScarCon London
A post from me that’s not about history?
I know, I know. But I’m looking at things in the long view- eventually ScarCon will join my own ScarWars event as a nodal point in the history of Scarification, so…. this post is just coming a bit early!
Ron Garza is one of my oldest friends, and along with Steve Haworth is someone I consider to be directly responsible for the way that Western scarification has evolved. He’s influenced the best in the world and in 2006 at Scarwars LA I was honored to present him with the ‘Keith Alexander Award for the Advancement of the Art and Culture of Scarification’. To date he’s the only artist who’s been given this award. He recently hosted ScarCon; an international gathering of Scarification artists hosted in London England and has graciously contributed photos exclusively to ModBlog and Scarwars (so check there for pictures not included in this update!)
The artists for the inaugural London ScarCon were: Christiane Lofblad, Ryan Ouellette, Bruno BMA, Iestyn Flye, Ron Garza and Brenno Alberti .
I’m going to be rolling more photos out soon, here and over at Scarwars, so check back!
As always… discuss! Continue reading
Sorry it’s been a while since I posted one of these (click here for the full series) — as always, this series seeks to show people with significant facial modifications, with photos showing where they started and how they got to where they are now. If you’d like to be in a future series, please get in touch with me — I’d like to keep this series going! In any case, here are today’s personal evolutions (click to zoom in):
The Evolution of Iestyn Flye
The Evolution of Jason Sand
The Evolution of Jester Mayhone
The Evolution of Revina Lower
The Evolution of Victor Peralta
This has to be one of the largest examples of [voluntary] skin removal on a face to date, at least in a single session. It was done by Iestyn Flye –who is normally based at London’s Divine Canvas, but tours extensively so visit him on Facebook for more information no matter where you might be — on Marc at Copenhage Body Extremes (bodyextremes.com). The design is based on a Japanese holy hemp leaf pattern. I can’t wait to see this healed, and will definitely post a follow-up when I can (although if you look at the previous scar that runs across the nose, you can get a good idea of what to expect) — I expect the sort of visage that looks like Freddy Krueger from a distance, and then transforms from horrific to beautiful as you get closer. Click for a larger look.
One of the problems with scars is the way they change over age. Scars in general begin as red or pink wounds, staying quite dark for the first period of their existence, sometimes raising up as well (often unevenly) depending on the part of the body and the individual’s genetic. Over time, the scars lighten and fade, sometimes back to a natural color, or sometimes to a very pale color. This can happen inconsistently across the design, the result being that viewers who once saw the scar as beautiful and impressive are no longer so admiring, to put it gently.
I’d suggest that in general there are three ways to deal with this reality — first of all, to ignore it. After all, body art, especially scars, is most of an individualistic experience and what matters most is how the individual feels about the scar and that doesn’t have to change as the piece ages any more than people have to fall out of love as their spouse ages. The second way to deal with it is to use tattooing to scaffold the piece, to give it new definition as the original linework and design loses its power. I’ve posted scar/tattoo combos many times, but here’s one that was just done, the tattoo addition by Maartje Verstegen at Turnhout, Belgium’s Pirate Piercing (piratepiercing.be).
The third way approach is to design a piece that looks good at all stages. You could argue that this imposes significant limitations on the artform, but on the other hand, you could say that to ignore those limitations and to treat scarification as something it isn’t (ie. scars aren’t tattoos) is the real problem. In general, this means simple geometric or repeating designs that are highly resilient to changes in the scar. A good example of this is the work of Iestyn Flye (search for him on ModBlog), normally based out of London’s Divine Canvas (divine-canvas.com) although this piece I believe was done while touring. You can also find Iestyn at the 2013 London ScarCon in May (fresh back from Kathmandu, the Nepal Tattoo Convention, right after his London scarification seminar with Ron Garza).
For a wide variety of cultural reasons, even though dark skin is the ancestral home of the scarification artform, it’s rare for modern artists to have the opportunity to work on such skin. Iestyn Flye at London’s Divine Canvas (divine-canvas.com) recently had the chance to do a scarification backpiece on his friend Moniasse Sessou, and the result is incredible, easily placing it among the great masterpieces of modern scar art. Some of the design work came from friend and magician Touka Voodoo (whose work you’ve also seen here), the middle portion representing Moniasse’s spiritual path. The design was drawn on freehand, and the main part was done all at once, with the flower being done in a second session. It’s six or seven months old in these amazing photos.
Gosh, I’d forgotten both how fun and how difficult posting here is for me. I’m simultaneously excited and nauseous! But before I call it a night, I wanted to share a few more pieces by Iestyn Flye that he’s posted while I’ve been largely offline. I should also mention, if you didn’t catch it earlier today, that he’s now online at the-absolute.co.uk. Anyway, I will try and post a bit more this weekend but I can’t promise a lot.
This first piece is really interesting and not something you see every day (for all of these I suggest zooming in for a closer look of course). It begins life (the left and middle image) as a skin-removal scar, which is then accentuated once it’s well healed using red dotwork tattooing.
Next, a gorgeous example of facial scarification, with an organic free-flowing piece on one side that has a sort of early Celtic/Viking feel to it, balanced and contrasted on the other side of the face with a series of geometric crosses that instead of being free-flowing, integrate tightly and precisely into the tattoo work done earlier. A stunning and world-class creation.
Finally, the some mind-blowing geometric scarification that would be impressive if done as a tattoo, and unbelievable when done as a scar.
I don’t know how I missed including this in my earlier post. Since SkinTunnels are new, I think a good percentage of people just want them for their own sake — they’re something cool and new and exciting, so people want them for their own sake. As a result, some of them are a little random and just “stuck wherever” rather than cleanly integrated into the body, let alone into a pre-existing body art plan. Not so with this example by early adopter Iestyn Flye (the-absolute.co.uk), who’s done probably my favorite SkinTunnel to date with this awesome example that fits perfectly into a tattoo. And I’m a little surprised at myself, because normally I think metal/ink combos are a little silly, but this one is great.
I’m happy to see that Gabriele‘s SKINTUNNEL design is entering the palette of body modification options beyond Italy. For example, Brian Decker of Pure (purebodyarts.com) just did a set of them on Ashan’s arm, using a single incision to insert both of them (push the incisions for the posts to push through — see our earlier posts on SKINTUNNELs to see the jewelry if you’re unfamiliar with it).
Iestyn Flye (the-absolute.co.uk) has also been doing them, the one on the back a collaboration with Gabriele that’s a month old, as well as another one on Yann Brënyàk. You gotta love the hex-head transdermal next to it by the way!
I’ll also mention that the first ones that Gabriele did are still looking good and beginning to stand the test of time. Here’s the neck at four months old, with a fancy new cap on it as well, which you can also see on the original wrist SKINTUNNEL which I think is about six months old now.
PS. Until Gabriele and Rachel have a chat about adding SkinTunnels to BMEshop (which I think would be a great way to introduce them to even more people), if you are a body modification practitioner interested in these, contact Gabriele directly if you’d like to talk about ordering a set.
Iestyn Flye, normally of London’s Divine Canvas (divine-canvas.com), has recently been in Italy doing a guest spot at MaxArt in Rome. While there he did this amazing scalp cutting and skin peel, originally designed by Paul Kennerley as a full star (ie. this is only half of the original design), with the small cuts that radiate out from the centre aiming to give it the illusion of 3D form. Over the years Iestyn has built up an incredible portfolio (oft-featured here), so I have no doubt that this piece will look amazing healed. Click to see it even bigger.
I don’t want to call these “scarred mokos”, because that would be culturally insensitive, inaccurate, and crass, but when I see these wonderful bold yet feminine facial skin peels done by Iestyn Flye of London’s Divine Canvas (divine-canvas.com), I can’t help but be reminded of women’s facial tattooing among the Maori. There is a long multicultural tradition of tattooing and scarification around the chins and mouths of women being seen as extremely beautiful — the Ainu and the Inuit immediately sprint to mind as well. This reminds me, somewhat unrelated, there is a wonderful APTN/CBC documentary that you can watch online titled “In pursuit of the lost tradition of Inuit Tattooing“.
Speaking of Iestyn’s work, I’ve mentioned his “scaled” designs before, but he recently did a set that have a double-lined border that I was particularly enamored with. I’m very excited about seeing how these turn out. It’s quite fine cutting, so the scarring will be minimal, but I’m sure they’ll still have a great tactile nature.