SPC: APP2013 and the Best of Intentions

You know what they say about the road to hell.
I had planned to ‘cover’ APP for you folks who couldn’t attend. Photos, video interviews and live updates from the Conference and Expo floor. Then I got to Vegas, found my luggage literally saturated with water (SWA Baggage Handler left it out in a rainstorm) and got to the hotel already feeling a summer cold taking hold of me…

My APP experience this year was NOT ideal, Modblog Readers.
That said- it was one of the best Conferences I’ve attended. For some, it’s a yearly Bacchanal; a chance to leave the studio and real life behind for a week, stay up till dawn drinking (and then some) and debauching and oh yeah, maybe buy some jewelry and take a few of the classes we paid for. But this year saw a large upswing in first time attendees, with classes packed with people who saved all year to attend and to improve their craft. The vibe, if you will, was much different than I expected.
matteapp001 copyThis year I found myself getting up at 6:45am (which was roughly when I used to ‘call it a night’ in previous years) to join the rest of the early risers who agreed to join my running group, taking a two mile jog down the Las Vegas strip instead of seeing how much we could drink and still maintain the appearance of sobriety. Instead of heading out to the shooting range I found myself in Paul King’s class “The Grieving Body- Does Body Modification Injure or Heal the Psyche” which for my money was his best to date, taking notes and being humbled by Paul and Kendra’s research and commitment to our community.
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The Locust

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The body modification world (and IAM Community) lost one of it’s most memorable characters on 22nd March 2011 when Adam Aries- better known as Zidney Fiendish, passed away at the age of 29. His death caused a crushing blow to the people who’s lives he touched; as a piercer at Pino Bro’s tattooing, an integral member of the RITES OF PASSAGE suspension group, security at the Middle East club and freelance DJ/VJ, Adam had a tangible presence in multiple communities and subcultures, and we all felt a communal sense that a truly bright light had left us.

Atom Moore- a talented photographer (who documented two Scarwars events among other much more ambitious projects) and close friend of Zid’s spent the better part of a decade documenting their friendship; Atom found a muse in Zid who always provided more than expected when a camera was around.

The best images from their friendship and collaborations will be featured in a solo show starting July 7th  at NYC’s Sacred Gallery from 8-11pm. The gallery is located at 424 Broadway on the second floor, just up from Canal Street.

Even if you never had the pleasure of meeting Zid (and the stories I could tell you…) this solo show from Moore promises to be an emotional and highly stylized documentation of friends that became family through blood, sweat and tears.

SPC: APP 2013 Roll call!

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Hey Folks!
I’ll be heading out early Monday morning for the annual APP Conference in sunny Las Vegas Nevada!

Conference is always a good time; learning, checking out new jewelry from our favorite companies, lazing in the sun and meeting up every night at the ‘splash bar’..  this year I’m going to be covering it live for you good folks who read modblog with ‘instant updates’ as well as shooting video interviews with anyone who’d like to sit down and talk.

So if you’re going to be in Vegas, look me up and you could end up here on Modblog!

 

SPC: ScarWars One (2005)

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I recently shared the story of how the ModCon events came to be with the promise to chronicle the other events in time. That’s still on my to-do list, but today we’re going to talk a little about the ScarWars events; how they started and their connection to ModCon.

ScarWars One happened in May of 2005 in Philadelphia, PA with seven of the world’s leading scarification artists working and attending, but it’s roots go back to 2004 at the ModCon4 event in Toronto, Ontario where a guest named Chris and his then wife Danielle asked about doing a collaborative cutting/branding piece with all of the attending artists using different techniques to make a wholly unique scar. Brands, cutting and flesh removal all on the same client. At the time it was unheard of, and as I watched Blair, Ryan, Danielle and I believe Brian work on it, I realized that we had reached uncharted territory.

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The Conquering Sun

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I first met Neeko at a ModCon event- my memory fails me so it could have been MC2 or MC3. He was a kid then (hell; so was I) and was full of wide eyed wonder at the goings on at the world’s only surgical modification convention.

Our paths crossed again a few years later at a suspension event in Vermont called Burning Swing and over the years we’ve said our hellos and on occasion, talked modification. Lately he’s been doing a very unique style of branding called SOLAR BRANDING; focusing the sun’s rays through a crystal ball to brand the skin. My memory is hazy, so there’s a chance that we’ve covered Neeko’s Solar Brands before, but there’s no time like the present to show new readers (and old readers who’s memory is as hazy as mine) the possibility of this technique.

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SPC: ModCon One (1999)

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How do you write an article about an event so private, so secretive, that it’s guests were made to sign nondisclosure agreements? Easy. Just be one of the ones who didn’t sign. Over the last fourteen years, the ModCon events have been shrouded in mystery. Fight Club jokes aplenty- the first rule of Modcon is that you don’t talk about ModCon and so on.

But today, we’re going to do just that. In a continuing series of articles on my life in the modern Body Modification community I’ve decided to shed a little light on ModCon; where the idea first came from, the 1998 event that never happened and more.

Obviously there will be a lot left out for the sake of discretion (as well as keeping some of the mystery) but if you’re a geek for this sort of thing…  read on. Continue reading

ScarCon!

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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!)

2013artistsThe 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

SPC: Jack Yount

Jack and Kristin of Nomad

Jack and Kristin of Nomad

The first article I ever submitted to BME was a memorial piece on my friend and mentor Jack Yount.
That was two years shy of twenty years ago. I had always planned on writing more about Jack per Shannon’s request, but as time went by and other projects took my attention I didn’t get around to it. Which is strange considering the massive impact the friendship with Jack had on my life. So. I’m sorry it’s taken a few decades to get back to where I started, but sometimes it’s nice to take the long way ’round.

Rasmus photographed by Stanley Kubrick

Rasmus photographed by Stanley Kubrick

Jack was born John Andrew Yount on Sep 15, 1926. When he was nine years old, his parents took him to the circus where he saw the infamous strongman Rasmus Nielsen. Rasmus was a circus sideshow performer; a three-in-one blacksmith, tattooed man and strongman. Had that been all, he may have still influenced young Jack- but thankfully Rasmus had set himself apart from other tattooed men with the addition of tongue, septum and nipple piercings which he hung weights off of to the shock, horror and delight of 1930s circus goers. A pre-Lifto Lifto!

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A little slash and burn…

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Have we ever considered designating May as ‘International Scarification Month”?
Going back to 2005, May was the month that I hosted the first organized gathering of Scarification professionals in the world under the banner of ‘Scarwars‘ and eight years later my old friend Ron Garza is hosting ScarCon this weekend in London. I’m sure the two things are just a coincidence, but it’s worth looking into. I mean, right now the only thing we really have to compete with is National Masturbation Month.

One of the artists who attended all three Scarwars events was NYC’s multi-talented Brian Decker of Pure Body Arts, who did this amazing cut/cautery hybrid scarification.

From Brian:

Since thighs don’t typically scar that well, I made sure to keep the main parts bold, and am hoping the burning will do more damage to the tissue than superficial removal. We’ll see…..

It’s super important to go into a cutting/branding piece knowing that the results can be unpredictable, with technique, healing method, genetics and just plain luck factored in. Some folks may want the reassurance of knowing exactly how a modification will heal, but as Mr. Decker says: “We’ll see.”
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SPC: Big Ed Fenster and the Silver Anchor

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My attempts to write for Modblog- considering I’m not a real writer- will be more grounded in personal memories and oral histories. I’m giving you folks a look at the history of modern body modification through my life and perspective. These aren’t well researched footnoted clinical studies, more the fruits of a life spent in the Body Modification scene. Some details are added because the memory makes me happy. Others are omitted because it’s been 20+ years I’ve simply forgotten the whole story. Maybe that’s why writing these is so important. So that nothing gets left behind.

So thank you for taking the time to read these, please discuss them and if you’d like to read more, let me know.

Also. If you have a personal memory you’d like to share- get in touch! I’d really like to hear your stories.


Zephyrhills Florida was first incorporated as a city in 1914. According to the 2000 Census it was home to 10,833 residents, many of whom were over 65 and retired. It’s close to Tampa and to my home town of Plant City, and can boast to being the birthplace of several famous NASCAR drivers, an American Idol finalist and notorious Ghoul Carl Tanzier.

It was also, for a few years at least, the Body Modification capital of the world.

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