I really dig how well Mirka X Mythra‘s piercings are paired up! I’ve always liked projects where an untrained eye might not know where one piece of jewelry begins and another ends. Everything gets pulled off really well without seeming cluttered.
Back in 2008, ModBlog posted pictures of an incredible nostril and septum resculpting with another entry early in the healing and one more four weeks later. I thought it was about time that an update be posted, since Bogotá, Colombia based tattoo artist, piercer, and alternative model Caim Divell (click here for his fan page) is one of the most remarkable looking people in body modification (and BME’s early entries generated one hell of a lot of debate). As you can see he has reduced the size of his horns, which were at one point the largest forehead implants ever installed, but other than that, his look has continued to evolve. There are very few people who have pushed a concept transformation to this degree, and I would argue that living as a demonic embodiment of metal is socially more challenging than being, say, the Lizardman. As I said, there’s more info on Caim’s surgical modifications in the early posts, but I should mention here that they were created by Emilio Gonzalez (mithostattoo.com).
Tonight (February 14, 2013) AMC will be airing a new reality TV show called “Freakshow”, all about the Venice Beach Freakshow. The cast member who may be of most interest to ModBlog readers is Marcus “The Creature” Boykin, tattooed head to toe and wearing a face-full of self-pierced metal. The name “Creature” comes with a double meaning — he’s not just a creature in the monstrous sense, but also “create-ure” in the sense of creating himself as an artistic invention, a body that is “all original, unlike anyone else’s”, in the hope that he’d be able to not just entertain, but inspire and let people know that no matter how impossible something seems, you can do it.
Here’s the official video profile of Creature from AMC. Following that is a brief chat that we had yesterday letting you know a little bit more about what makes Creature tick — but if you really want to see what he and the rest of Venice Beach Freakshow are all about, don’t miss the show, which begins tonight on AMC at 9:30, 8:30 CST.
** What made you want to move from being a kid into piercings to someone at the “freak end of the scale” — and how did your family react?
My family are hard core Christians, and my mom is still in disbelief, but my dad supports me to the fullest in the craze of body art and piercings. My inspiration came from historical pictures like the Great Omi… warriors receiving scarification, like the great Shaka Zulu, and slaves chastisement as they got whipped and scarred and burned — also Jesus Christ himself suffered out of this world piercings and was scarred beyond any recognition — it goes reallly deeeep…
** How did you get into the industry professionally?
When I was a kid I always was attracted to the arts, and now consider myself a multi-disciplinary artist. I was someone who was always into creatures — that’s why my name fits so well. I first got educated on the industry by going to the store and grabbing ink magazines. I saw the abnormal things featured in magazines like Tattoo Savage, and these influenced my young mind. Even as a kid, I always wanted to entertain, from the art of popping, locking, and breakdancing, and being a creature known as Gizmo and Raver Dayn, as Yoshi, and rebel dancing as him toooooo… I’ve always been into the strange and unusual, so I’m not surprised by my profession. I believe I didn’t choose it — it chose me.
** Why do you have so many piercings specifically on your face? Do you have issues with rejection?
I have a lot of piercings on my face because I want to fill it completely with surface piercings. Ear stretchings, lips, nipples… a lot of the mods just takes time. Of course I suffer rejection but that’s just a part of the game. I’ve been piercing my own face and tattooing it for years now, and things just keep on improving in the industry so there are endless possibilities. The future holds many new creations in my body mods. It won’t be done until I am dead.
Creature with one of his many young fans
** What are your future body modification plans? Are you interested in going for one of the “most piercings” type records?
As my mods go, I am still adding more and want to continue to lead African Americans in this art form and represent the endless possibilities of our body. That’s very important to me, and in addition to my facial work, I want piercings over my entire body surface. I already hold the record as the most tattooed and modified man in America thanks to my layers of ink, mods, piercings, and stretchings but I’m going for more — of course I will keep delivering the blow! Art has endless possibilities, and I express that through the body as the Creature.
** What can we expect from you on the show?
Before I started body mod I did body balance circus tricks and planking, part of a world-wide crew I started called “The Freakshow”, and advancing to the world famous LA Breakers, tattooing and evolving my skills and receiving mod work to advance my power. Now as a tattooed man, following in the footsteps of the Great Omi, famous in the sideshow, I love what I do because of the influence I can have on children, telling them to be themselves — that’s what’s it all about.
** Have is been difficult walking this path due to your ethnicity?
Yes. I believe there is a big separation in piercing for minorities versus whites. Blacks in particular, because in modern times they don’t generally do these things, is why I felt I had to lead and do it personally. I believe we as African Americans come from the first culture to do these things historically, especially in the extreme categories like head shaping, lip plates, septum expansions, plugs in ears, lips, upper lips, nose, and of course also scarification and branding… As Americans, blacks have had to walk a straight edge to get jobs, so mods are uncommon. We are forced to look acceptable to work…
** Have there been positive aspects as well?
All the movies I watched growing up were about being black and proud, and I want to express that through my ink. Like everyone, I have an inner warrior, and I found mine through needles of ink and piercing, as well as through modifying my hair… I had my face fully tattooed at age twenty-three. My race helps me with this struggle because there is no one leading in the mod world as a black male, and I wanted to be the real first extreme real black make in the body mod community.
In addition to being in the sideshow and inking himself, Marcus has also worked as a tattoo artist in a classic urban LA style. Here’s a collection of the ink he’s put on others — click to zoom in for a closer look. Don’t miss the cartoon in the bottom right which wears the same nose jewelry as Creature!
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.”
Ruslan, who has both large nostrils and a septum (which can function as a nasallang) just posted a unique looking picture of himself wearing a ring through them, making for a nasal orbital, a very unusual look. It instantly reminded me of another creative icon in this community — there’s a 2007 photo on ModBlog of Eaten Placenta wearing a similar configuration.
Max Gowl who pierces at Body Mods Ink in Sunbury, PA just did what might be the deepest rhino piercing I’ve seen yet on Maggie Louise (I cringe at saying that because such statements always inspire people to push things further “for further’s sake”). Max tells me the piercing is pretty straight up what it looks like — a basic 3/4″ long straight 14ga barbell, with no other piercings in the mix. That is, no giant septum or anything. In fact, this is Maggie’s very first piercing of any type.
This piercing was done literally last night, so I can’t tell you anything yet about how the healing is going, but I think it’s probably safe to say that it will be quite sore for some time and be a lengthy healing due to the depth of and type of tissues involved. That said, Maggie tells me that she barely feels it, and that the piercing wasn’t painful either, comparing it to getting a shot at the doctor, just slower. She says,
I was inspired by Nick [also of Body Mods Ink] — He was the first person who I ever saw who had it done. Before that, I always told myself I was never going to get any piercings but I absolutely fell in love and changed my mind, but waited to make sure. I watched videos of it being done which freaked me out, although in the end, it literally ended up being nothing. I also saw a picture of a girl with it done and I thought it looked girly in a “badass” way. I figure I will be getting stares but I’m happy with it.
She’s calling her variation on the rhino a “Maggie piercing”, although of course this piercing is a rhino, albeit in an uncommon placement. Her eventual plan is to swap the large top bead for a small diamond so it doesn’t look quite so over-the-top.
I wanted to mention one thing about the placement because some piercers have posted that the piercing is crooked, which is true, and that it should be redone to correct it, which is probably wrong. The nose is a puzzle of pieces of cartilage, where you can do a standard rhino dead centre — in fact that’s the easy placement in some ways because it’s where the nose “wants” it to go — but if you’re talking about a placement that’s as deep as Maggie’s, you typically have to pierce it on the side of the nasal septum (ie. crooked). It is not safe — and perhaps not even possible — to pierce the nasal septum lengthwise. So the reality is that this placement in my opinion is as straight as it can ever be, anatomy dependent of course (if a person has a deviated septum, maybe it could be visually perfect).
That said, I’ve seen some pretty poor diagrams of the cartilage that leave out the central strip, so I suspect any piercer who says “do it better” is basing it on the idea that you can just slip it between the two “side panels” and it’ll be fine. I don’t think that’s usually true, although of course anatomy is different from person to person, which makes rhinoplasty such a money maker! But I hope the above diagram is helpful in understanding the difference in deep and standard rhino placements (note again that it is not definitive both in terms of anatomy or jewelry; there are options and variations). I should add that the standard rhino could be placed deeper than I’ve drawn it here, on most people’s noses anyway, but there’s a point at which you have to either not do the piercing that high, or be willing to be “crooked”. As you can see, the central septum does not generally extend to the tip of the nose, so it’s much easier to do a symmetrical placement there. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of saying “do it better so it’s not crooked”, it’s a matter of “should this crooked-by-default piercing be done at all?”. And really that’s up to the client and the piercer, and as long as the piercer has explained this to the client.
Finally, I want to also show you Nick Mercadante’s rhino placement — who as mentioned above actually inspired Maggie to get the piercing in the first place — which is beautifully deep as well, although not so deep as to push it off-center… His particular placement is about as deep as you’d be able to go on most noses and still have the placement reliably central in my opinion. To my eye this works better, but it’s really a matter of how important it is to push it up high versus being symmetrical. Nick has actually had his pierced a few times, once by Max, once by Chris Bucher, and once by Justin Craven.
I’d always assumed piercing would be more of a sith thing, but he insists that he is in fact a Nasalang Jedi. Oh, Rafa, can you never be serious? Oh and on a more serious note, you may notice the absence of jewelry in this picture, if you were wondering what Rafa looked like with the lip plates removed.
Speaking of Eric Stango (of Lifestyles in Connecticut), I also wanted to show one more fun piercing project he’s done — this set of pierced whiskers, which is wonderfully appropriate on a woman named Cat. Seriously! He did them by first piercing the client with a set of 14ga labrets, and once those were healed and stable, he replaced them with a set of 14ga labret backings with long black teflon whiskers attached. Now what I want to know, is does this count as a mod that gives you a “sixth sense” in the same way that magnets do, if you use them like an animal does, walking through a dark and crowded room, using the whiskers as “feelers” to make sure your body doesn’t bump into anything? Either way, very cute and charming.
I am occasionally of a mixed opinion on microdermals when they mimic piercings. For example, when I see cheek “piercings” that are done with microdermals, the sensible part of my brain says, “hey, what a great idea, that’s a lot safer and less trouble”, but the self-righteous part of me says, “you fucking faker!” …But then I see this microdermal cheek project by Joeltron (joeltron.com, firstblood.com.au), and everything’s all right and the Civil War in my head is officially in a state of truce. The neuroruins of my bombed-out brain officially thanks you.