Green Eyes, Blue Iris

I’ve seen more than enough eye tattoos to make me wish the new surgery that may one day be able to give us more functioning eyes to tattoo was available for humans (currently only tested on tadpoles)… As much as I love the effect we’ve achieved on my eyes and wouldn’t change it, as I’ve always tried for a mix of “extreme yet subtle” with my mods, seeing amazing examples like Rasta Fabian‘s bright green eye tattoos make me very jealous. It’s also a good example of how important it is to take into consideration the iris, because the interplay between the new surrounding color and the iris will define a lot of the end effect. It should come as no surprise that this was done by Howie (, the most experienced eyeball tattooist this side of Arrakis.


As always, don’t miss the eyeball tattoo FAQ, and if you’re interested in more info, check out the video interview from just before my eyes were re-done in October.

Eyeball Tattoo Interview, Five Years Later

Before Howie ( finished my eye tattoos back in October 2012, a bit over five years after doing the first set of eye tattoos on July 1, 2007 of which mine was one of them along with Pauly Unstoppable and the late Josh Rahn, we did a quick off-the-cuff interview that I think is actually very much worth watching. That first procedure (inspired in part by Rachel’s “jeweleye” corneal implant procedure [video]) was of course the genesis of the eyeball tattoo movement — without that first step, the entire eyeball tattoo concept likely would not exist. I think this video turned out extremely well, probably because we’d just finished writing the first version of the eyeball tattoo FAQ the day before and it was fresh on our mind. Follow the links in this post for lots more information by the way.

Here’s the link to the YouTube video, feel free to share it!

Orange and Red Ink Eyeball Tattoos

Leaving aside for a moment the safety debate about red tattoo ink, especially in the eyes, reddish eyeball tattoos perhaps push social boundaries even farther than fully black eyes. I’ve noticed that when people see my eyeball tattoos, they almost never recognize them as tattoos, usually assuming it’s some sort of birth defect. As such, I’ve noticed a certain awkwardness in people’s comments, because we’re socially programmed not to look at people’s “deformities”, and even complimenting someone on them is generally frowned upon. I have to admit that it’s sort of funny thinking about what must be going through people’s heads when they see red, orange, or pink eyeball tattoos — it has to be some variant on “oh my god, what horrible injury or infection is this poor bastard suffering from!?!”

Here’s the latest example thereof, Chris’s orange eyeball tattoo done by Pinhead Mark out of Fat Mermaid Tattoo Company in Fort Lauderdale, FL.


Of course when it comes to this theme, the definitive example is Mary Jo’s red eye tattoo, shown here with her partner Jefferson Saint, who has black eye tattoos — I’d wager that black eyes register as special effects scleral contact lenses in most people’s minds. Until eyeball tattoos have a higher public profile, I think people won’t accurately recognize what they’re seeing… which really makes these much more fun!


Eye tattoos by Rafael Leão Dias

One of my favorite thing about eye tattoos is that in many cases, they look different from day to day and from photo to photo. This is in part because of the way the ink is suspended over a nearly white backing and under a transparent “laminate” (unlike a “normal” tattoo, which is mixed into almost opaque tissue underneath a later of genetics-tinted translucent skin), and in part because the pigment particles are floating between these two layers, not locked in place, and slowly move around due to a variety of factors (for example, gravity, pressure from eyelids, or rubbing from fingers). For example, click this photo of Rattoo’s over-the-top blue eyeballs (done by Brazil’s Rafael Leão Dias of Dhar-Shan Body Art Tattoo & Piercing) to see a collage of fifteen different photos of his eyes over the last month or two. I should also mention that the tongue split he’s showing off was done not long ago (I think a few weeks in this photo) by Rafael.


Rafael by the way is arguably the most prolific eyeball tattoo artist in Brazil, if not in South America as a whole, and has done quite a few interesting people and well-known body modification microstars — for example, Rodrigo Musquito (first line of photos below, with the full-face skull tattoo), pro MMA fighter Danver Santos (second line of photos below), and mega-modded-couple Victor Peralta and Ana Diabolick (who you may notice flanking Danver in the final photo). Danver fights with Team Nogueira, under heavyweight Minotauro Nogueira, and when I chatted with him about the eye tattoos about a month ago, he told me that his black eyeball tattoos were driving crowds completely crazy and had fans clamoring for photos! They do look amazing, but my only worry is that eye tattoos can be damaged by pressure and I’m not sure eye tattoos are entirely compatible with MMA — time will tell. Click the photos below to see them at full size.

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Pauly’s Kids

Last time I posted Diego it was just for fun, so let me include some info this time. Diego had his nostrils pierced in the normal small gauge way — they weren’t dermal punched — but after seeing Pauly Unstoppable (who has inspired more people to stretch their nostrils than anyone out there — I’d argue he is the progenitor of this look in modern times) and then being further inspired by the giant nostril plugs of the Apatani people decided he wanted to stretch his as well. Since then he’s reached 24mm (1″), which is currently quite loose so it’ll be larger soon, with a goal of 30mm or perhaps larger. I just love this picture of him!


As you can see he also has his eyeballs tattooed as well, and he was just telling me about a secret project he’s considering, so I’m looking forward to seeing him evolve as the future unfolds!

Edit: It’s been pointed out that Pat Tidwell’s large stretched nostril piercings predated Pauly’s, although they didn’t have the same insane level of media penetration that Pauly’s had. I asked Pauly about who inspired him, and he told me,

“My first exposure of nostril stretching was from the Apatani tribe and a tribe in New Guinea where the males stretch there nostrils and septum very large. It wasn’t till after I found BME and saw Pat Tidwell’s nostrils that I understood that I could also stretch my nostrils. I would say it was a bit of both for me. I had wanted to do it since seeing the tribes in India but at the time didn’t think I could do it till I saw other Westerners on BME that had them done.”

Emerald Eyes

If my blue eye tattoos are from Arrakis, without doubt this gorgeous green one is from Oz’s Emerald City. It’s on Rob of Phoenix’s Urban Art, and was done by Howie. I should mention that Howie is on tour again, and will be in the NYC area for the next week or so and is making other North American plans — get in touch with him via email at [email protected], his website, or on facebook at

I should also add that Howie is looking for someone to redesign his website — anyone who wants to barter tattooed eyes or implants or pointed ears, or any number of other things Howie does, in trade for some web design work, now is a great time to get in touch with him.


White Ink Eyeball Tattoo Update

Pinhead in Florida (find him at Fat Mermaid in Fort Lauderdale) has done some more work on Dizzy’s white ink eyeball tattoo — something that I admit I didn’t initially think would work, but as you can see, wow, it works great and it makes him look like some sort of anime character. The look it produces is completely unreal — in Dizzy it looks cartoonish, especially with the other eye being bright blue, but I can imagine in someone else that it would make them look like an android, pushing them into the uncanny valley.