Lucky FTW Rich

Over the past while I’ve been updating you on the latest layer of tattooing that Lucky Diamond Rich — see “Unblacking the Blackest Man” — has been adding onto his incredibly saturated inkflesh. Most recently he’s had Terry Baker from Jinxproof Tattoo in Geelong add a nice big FTW in big black Old English letters outlined in white to the mix. I wonder if there’s an upper limit to the number of times he can retattoo himself? I suspect that there’s no limit at all, and he can just keep on redefining himself until the end of his time — and I never would have suspected such a thing if it wasn’t for Rich proving it to me.


What do you get when you cross Lucky Rich and Santa?

What do you get when you cross Lucky Rich and Santa?

I’m sure you’ve seen the “Blue Man” in the news — CNN has a video, and BB linked to this story and video. I was quite struck by how similar he looks to Lucky Diamond Rich, who’s tattooed himself completely black (which has faded to a dark grey)… Definitely drinking a few colloidal silver cocktails is a whole lot less painful than hundreds of hours under the needle! I’m quite surprised that people don’t do this on purpose.

…although perhaps the eerie “zombie-skin-without-the-rotting” look is not something most people seek out?


Something Special in Gold

Following up the post I made earlier today about the great new tattooing that Lucky Diamond Rich is getting I wanted to remind people that he’s also a tattoo artist at Jinxproof Tattoo Studio in Geelong, Victoria. This little thumb skull — and who doesn’t love skull thumbs? — that he did for Tonii particularly caught my eye because it’s got one of those special little touches that 99.9% of the time you’ll only see if you know what to look for. Meaning, that it’s something that’ll bring one of those sneaky smiles to the wearer’s face when they’re reminded of it as they look down at their hands, creeping out everyone else at the funeral (or whatever). If you haven’t noticed it yet even with all that hinting — the skull has a gold tooth. Little details like this really separate the wheat from the chaff.


Unblacking the Blackest Man

I assume everyone knows who Lucky Diamond Rich is, but if not, let me pop up a picture from one of his very first appearances on ModBlog, back in 2006, when he was already widely recognized as the world’s most tattooed man — and easily history’s most tattooed man as well.

Not only is Rick tattooed black-head-to-toe, but he’s been fully tattooed something like seven or eight times over. The white lines in the picture above are not untattooed areas. They are white ink tattoos done over top of the field of black. As these would fade slightly over time and Rick set his sights on new a body, changes would be made, sometimes with piercing or scarification, but usually with tattoos. I have made some recent posts about tattooing white ink over black and even tattooing full color over solid blackwork, and I think the time has come to update Rick’s latest stage of evolution.

Tattooist Brad Bako has been covering up Rich’s many layers of blackwork (and more) with a new field of biomech, starting with his arm. The progress has been quite remarkable, to such an extent that many people would think it wasn’t even possible. I really want to emphasize that this is not just being done over black, but over a mottled skin filled with many layers of black, some colour, some white, and probably some residual scarring as well. What Brad Bako has achieved is quite remarkable.



In addition to the bright sleeve work, they are also working on his head, transforming his full-black zen demon sort of appearance into a more traditional biomechanical tattoo icon.


So when people ask you the question, “what will you do when you run out of skin”, now you know that you’ll never run out of skin because you can recycle your tattoos. On a side note, I have to admit that it’s rather amazing that 10,000+ years into tattooing that we’re still figuring new stuff out every year.

And now I lay me down to rest

Well, I know it’s barely even dark out, but I think today I’m going to call it an early night and go read and rest. I figure this suitably sleepy looking pictures of the remarkably black Stevie Banks of Exeter, Devon works very nicely for a day that’s featured some very interesting information on the possibilities of tattooing over black. Stevie’s extensive coverage and the tattooing over black meme of course both remind me of Lucky Diamond Rich, who was the first person I saw to experiment with this method. If you don’t remember him, be sure to click here for one of my first posts about him before you yourself call it a night.


Oh heck, if you’re feeling insomnia tonight, let me give you one more thing to amuse yourself with, this fascinating video called “Feeling Blue” (“Some People Are Born Freaks. Jim Hall Turned Himself Into One.”), about Jim “Bluecomma” Hall, a retired Baltimore civil servant who has tattooed himself with a full-body swirling mix of blue and black. Even though it sure does seem like it sucks most of the time, people like Jim remind me that the world is a wonderful place full of bright sparks of character that give it vibrant life.

Face Peel Update: The Revengening

As part of our continuing mission to bring you the best in healed and healing scarification pieces, here’s a fancy update to this facial flesh-removal on Reece by Iestyn a little while back. It’s no big surprise coming from Iestyn, but the healing seems to be coming along quite nicely. We’re not sure what else Reece has planned (tattooing over the scars a la Lucky Diamond Rich, for example), but we’re definitely curious to see how his appearance progresses from here on out.

And, of course, after the jump…lion-face.

See more in Skin Removal Scarification (Scarification)

Reece Gets His Face Peeled

I have to admit, for a split second when I saw these shots of Reece’s facial cuttings by Iestyn, my thought was, “When did Lucky Diamond Rich stretch his nostrils?!” The full-facial black tattoo is pretty high on the list of radical transformations a person can undergo, but when it’s well executed (as it certainly is in this case), the result is really wonderful, I think, and I’m very curious to see how these healed scars add to Reece’s appearance! Some procedural shots after the jump.

(Scarification by Iestyn at Diamond Jack’s in London, England.)

See more in Absolute Scarification By Iestyn (Scarification)

Here is Your Life

Hey, smiley! That’d be Lucky Diamond Rich, the most tattooed man in the world, getting worked on by Adam Craft at Illicit Tattoo in Auckland, New Zealand. What helps Rich substantiate the claim of being the “most tattooed” is the fact that he’s gotten layers upon layers of tattoo work—this may be apocryphal, but I seem to remember hearing that in some places, he’s got as many as seven layers that he’s acquired over the years. After the jump, his latest addition.

See more in Hand Tattoos (Tattoos)

Boff Konkerz Hand Tattoo Interview in BME/News [Publisher’s Ring]


A man cannot make a pair of shoes rightly unless he do it in a devout manner.

– Thomas Carlyle


For at least ten thousand years tattoos have been installed by hand, poked dot by dot using a variety of manual tools. While most modern artists now use high-speed powered devices, artists like 36-year old Boff Konkerz are keeping the traditional spirit alive as he visits clients’ homes in England’s East-Midlands region and abroad in his travels doing handwork tattoos. Boff has been tattooing for four years now, and recently talked to us about his art and experiences.

You can get in touch with Boff via

Boff at work (note: posed picture; of course he wears gloves!).

BME: How did you get into this career?

I don’t really think of this as a “career”, but I got into it by accident, or it was fate depending on your view. I enjoyed art as a child, but didn’t take it seriously until I started designing tattoos. I designed my first tattoo myself and later started drawing for friends.

As a teenager I was into punk rock and tattoos kinda just went along with that. When I first started I honestly had no intention of doing it for a living, it was a skill I just wanted to acquire due to a genuine interest in the art form. I did it in exchange for pizza and beer back then… I actually can’t remember when I moved into tattooing for cash. Even now I’ll tattoo friends for food and drink.

BME: Besides pizza of course, what is the normal pricing for hand tattoos?

It really varies from job to job, but my basic quote is £30 ($60) per hour, if it’s big work I ask for a commitment of three hours a week until the piece is done, because of the slow nature of handwork I want to be sure they are committed to getting the piece finished. I am able to keep my prices low as I’m not paying rent on a studio. I also add any travel expenses onto the price per session.

BME: How did you actually learn?

I acquired my first piece of handwork from my good friend Xed Le Head and was interested in learning how to do it. I was already quite heavily tattooed by machine at this point, but had never had the desire to learn to tattoo by machine. When Xed did those first pieces of handwork the penny kind of dropped and I knew it was something I wanted to do. I was gonna ask Xed to give me some advice, but the night I was gonna ask him he wasn’t around, so Lucky Diamond Rich showed me how to make a needle and I did my first tattoo on him and tattooed myself that same night. Shortly afterwards Xed shared some of his handworking techniques with me and after that it was a process of practice, trial and error, and perseverance.

BME: What would you say to someone who sees hand poked tattoos and says “I can do that”? How should someone learn?

Find a hand tattooist and get some handwork — just watch at first, and then try asking some questions. And yes, try tattooing yourself.

I’d like to say something in defense of “bedroom tattooists”. I read recently in a national newspaper here a criticism of bedroom tattooists by Louis Malloy [editor’s note: you may know him from TV’s “London Ink” or as “Beckham’s tattoo artist”]. The truth is half of my work is fixing terrible tattoos executed by “artists” working from tattoo studios. Anyone with the money can open a tattoo studio, and getting tattooed in a studio is no more a guarantee of getting a good tattoo than getting tattooed in someone’s home is a guarantee of getting bad work.

Life ain’t that simple.

Although I’m proud to be part of a DIY tattoo tradition, I’m not opposed to working in a studio. Job offers can be sent to me via email!

BME: Speaking of Louis, what do you think of shows like “London Ink”?

I think those shows are the fucking pits. I hate them, they are an abomination, and the worst thing to happen to tattooing in 10,000 years. Would I appear on one of these shows if asked? Of course!

BME: It would definitely be an improvement if they added you to the cast!

Handwork by Boff.

BME: You said you do a lot of repair work — how do you feel about scratchers and lower-end tattoo shops?

Tattoos teach us a lot of things, you often learn more from mistakes than from the things you get right. A shitty tattoo can be the right tattoo for someone at that stage in their development, if it teaches them to think things through. You either walk into a tattoo studio with your eyes open or your eyes closed — your choice. Responsibility for your tattoo ultimately lies with the customer.

I really like the idea of “healing” a machine inflicted tattoo using hand tools.

BME: What’s the actual tool you use for tattooing?

I use conventional tattoo needles lashed to half a chopstick.

BME: How long do hand tattoos take to do in comparison to machine work?

It depends on the design, but I’d say three times longer.

BME: What influences you as an artist?

I like to look at textile designs, porcelain, wallpaper… anything but tattoo flash. I love Picasso, Miro, Goya and Frida Kahlo, but I don’t think their influence can be seen in my tattoo work.

Hand tattoos by Boff.

BME: What are your favorite sorts of tattoos to do?

I love to tattoo hands, regardless of the design.

BME: Why hands? Because of how they move or how they’re always exposed to the public?

Yes, the way they move, and the way they are exposed to the public, but also something on a more subconscious level… I don’t know what, but I’m happy to be involved with it. The leopard spotted hand for example, which took about twelve hours, is my personal favorite of all the tattoos I’ve done.

Also, I think handwork is better suited for tattooing the hands than a machine is. You often get blow-out on the fingers with a machine, but I never get blow-out.

BME: I know you’ve done necks, but do you tattoo faces?

I won’t tattoo faces until I have my own face tattooed.

Left is Boff’s neck by Xed Le Head, and right is a Neck tattoo by Boff.

BME: Do people usually come to you with a design in mind?

Usually they say something like, “I want a rose on my hand,” and I go home and draw something up, and nine times out of ten they like it and away we go. Even better is when they just say, “I want a sleeve.” Then I can really go to town. A lot of my work is cover-up and repair work, so obviously then I have to work around what’s already there, but I like the challenge of that too.

BME: On a design level, and what works, what sort of tattoos work best for hand-poked tattoos?

I generally only use black ink and a lot of dot shading. I can do solid black but it takes a very long time — shading with dots I believe I can do as fast as a machine though. Other than that, anything goes. On a personal level I dislike portrait tattoos and won’t do them — I think it’s just weird having someone else’s face on your body!

BME: What does the future of tattooing look like to you?

It’s only gonna get bigger, which will be both a blessing and a curse. As any industry grows it also diversifies. This will mean that the industry will be taken out of the hands of enthusiasts and uploaded into the mainstream dominant culture. Most tattooing will become formulaic and be tailored to the mass market. The plus side to all this is that the art will be big enough to support an underground scene. Think major record labels and indies in the music industry — this is already well on the way.

BME: Have you experienced physical problems from tattooing?

Yes, I have problems with my right wrist, but this could be from masturbating.

BME: Have you done any touring?

I took my tools with me when I went to India recently, and I thought I’d tattoo a few backpackers out there, but I only tattooed Indians, which was great. It’s better to tattoo in my own area as I have a reputation there and so people trust me. People who’ve never encountered handwork are often wary of it, and they often think it’ll hurt more — most of my clients say it hurts less — or that the work won’t be to a high standard, which it is!

Full sleeve by Boff (click to zoom).

BME: Is this your full time job, or do you do other work as well?

It’s my only job. I earn a living, but it’s not reliable. I try to limit myself to five jobs a week — Monday to Friday, with weekends off. Having said that I did seven tattoos last week, and one this week. I like to do one tattoo per day because of the traveling involved, but if two of my customers know each other, I’ll do both of them in the same day at the same house. This happens a lot, as all my advertising is by word of mouth, so many of my customers know each other. I tattoo a lot of people who are related to each other. I don’t put out posters or fliers or promote myself in any way.

BME: Finally, if you weren’t a tattoo artist, what do you think you’d be?

A rentboy, which I was before tattooing.

BME: On that note, thanks for talking to us!

Shannon Larratt