Meet Marcus “The Creature” Boykin from AMC’s Freakshow Reality TV Show

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…

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Body Mod… Danger and Regret

Brent Moffatt has experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows that a life in body modification has to offer. You may recall him as a former world-record holder for his piercing exploits, as well as for his Golden Palace casino URL forehead tattoo, something he came to deeply regret — you can read his thoughts on that in an earlier “Skinvertising” article. After Brent read the story of Lesya getting her husband Ruslan’s name tattooed on her face, he felt obligated to talk about his own experiences as a cautionary tale. Those thoughts follow here as he sent them to me, with minimal editing. Brent and I have not always seen eye to eye, but I share his deep worry that it’s very difficult to predict one’s future, and that the excitement of youth often leads people down body modification paths they later find incompatible with their later lives. -Shannon

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Above: Brent Moffatt over time.

Body Mod… Danger and Regret
By: Brent “The Human Pincushion” Moffatt

I was reading an article by Shannon Larratt about a young woman that had tattooed her husband’s name across her face. I was also read the comments after said article, and I was horrified that Jim Ward and I were initially the only ones to openly say that this was a bad idea. So I decided to tell a bit of my story of dangers and regrets as it pertains to “my life in body mod”. I have had many many modifications and have been involved in the world of body mod for a long time, and in that time I have gotten both good work and work that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Unfortunately in the days when I first became interested in mods there wasn’t a meaningful internet — it was just in its infancy — so there really was nowhere to turn to know what to do and how to do it. Luckily young people today have so many more resources. Most of my bad modifications came from lack of understanding, immaturity — #1 fault — and the use of drugs and alcohol — #2 fault. My early misadventures include,

  1. Scratcher tats done at parties while very drunk or stoned
  2. Self-done piercings on my arm that turned septic and almost required amputation
  3. Self-done tattoos while deciding if I had the talent to be a tattooist — I didn’t want to scar anyone else

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Juan’s Double Eyelid Piercing

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Eyelid piercings have wowed people ever since I first featured them on BME. Although they’ve shown themselves to be safe and viable when properly placed on a person with appropriately shaped anatomy, they remain one of the rarest piercings. Spanish pacifist Juan Carlos has a variation on it that is perhaps the rarest of them all — a single bar connecting the top and bottom lids, almost like an industrial for the eye. The reason this piercing is so rare is that in order to wear such a piercing permanently, it requires a very unique anatomy — the lack on an eye. As the first person to get this, Juan claims the “right of naming”, and calls this the “Tuerto piercing”, or “Eye piercing”, as it replaces the eye. I had a chance to chat briefly to Juan about his remarkable piercing and other mods, including his striking full-face tattoo.

When Juan was nineteen, he was required to serve time in the Spanish military, as all citizens were required to at the time — this happened almost twelve years before the government would finally abolish the requirement. Juan went on to join the elite Spanish Green Berets, but wasn’t comfortable with aspects of their behavior once he got to see it first-hand. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. The abuse ran contrary to his ethics — he has “Libertá” tattooed on himself three times — and knew he couldn’t live with himself if he became part of this. It was either figure out a way to get out of the military or commit suicide. Not wanting to die, on January 28, 1990 Juan took a needle and punctured his own left eye — a process that he describes as not particularly painful, but just a sensation of pressure. This wound became infected, resulting in the loss of the eye — and more importantly, a psychiatric discharge from the military.

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Lesya and Rouslan

Lesya Toumaniantz’s radical facial tattoo has recently gone viral, posted on thousands of Facebook pages with captions like “next level face tattoo” from Russia. So I thought it was time to tell the real story behind this remarkable tattoo.

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About a month ago, Rouslan Toumaniantz, a well known and sometimes notorious Belgium-based tattoo artist (of Tattoo Box in Kortrijk), and Lesya, a designer living at the time in Saransk, a city in central Russia started talking via chat (Rouslan speaks fluent Russian) and realized they had a lot in common, and quickly began falling head over heels in love. About a week ago they met in person in Moscow and decided to get married — their plans for their life together include her learning to tattoo (Rouslan tells me she’s already a talented artist), apprenticing under her husband-to-be, while she also gets the full-body ink that she’s always dreamed of (biomech is the current plan) — and of course a family.

Her new facial tattoo that’s getting all the attention, a huge commitment for both a person with limited experience as a publicly modified person and for a new relationship screams out the intensity of their commitment to their new life, reads “RUSLAN”, the name of her betrothed. At first glance the tattoo echoes Latin American gang tattooing — MS-13 is the first thing that’s come to many people’s minds — and I worry that it could complicate future travel in the Americas, to say nothing of putting her in danger in some cities (of course, these are places where deaf people speaking sign language occasionally are stabbed when foolish gangmembers assume they’re throwing rival gang-signs). But to be clear, the tattoo has nothing about committing to a life in a gang — it’s a commitment to love.

I know that there are people who are terrified that Lesya has made a rash decision that she’ll regret horribly, but sometimes the best decisions are the ones you make in an instant with your heart rather than the ones long-debated in your mind. I know many people whose favorite mods are the ones they got “on a whim”, and who are still happily married to the person they fell for the instant they saw — “love at first sight” is an old truism — and proposed to within the week. I wish them the best of luck and hope that their life plays out as they dream it to be.

Edit/Update: People have asked why it says “RUSLAN” when I’m writing his name as “Rouslan”. It’s simply because one is the French spelling, and the other is the Russian/English spelling of the name — they chose the latter because it fit better on her face.

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Continue after the break for a more explicit photo.

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Yellow Ink and White Ink Facial Tattoo

I’ve been posting pictures of Aaron Foster every few years since the start of ModBlog, most recently with a few other friends with white-striped faces. Since then he’s had Jason Maybruck add a burst of yellow to the white ink tattoo work that’s already there, a unique combination that I don’t think I’ve seen before, whether on a face or anywhere else on the body. Definitely very effective in continuing his sort of superhero theme! Watch out this summer by the way for a reality show tentatively titled “Unique Passions”, who filmed the tattoo.

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Can four nostrils become five?

Pauly Unstoppable has been at the forefront of the “four nostril movement” since it’s very beginning. Wait… do we really live in a world so awesomely weird that we can really say there is such a thing? I think so! But the first thing I thought when I saw the latest picture of his ever-changing facial anatomy now featuring a 10g septril (using a 3/8″ Anatometal barbell with 10g 7/32 M&M beads anodized to a copper tone) is “can you imagine if he stretched that up to 1/2″ or larger!?” Can you imagine if he managed to create some bizarrely amazing pentanostril nose? I wouldn’t have to watch Star Trek any more to get my fill of aliens any more.

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I think when it comes to Pauly, the words “constantly evolving” describe him very aptly… For well over a decade now he’s had a far-out-at-the-edges appearance, and more impressively, practically every six months he morphs to the next stage in his evolution, taking another step on this amazing journey. Here are a few pictures showing his most recent facial work.

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Rick Genest Doppelganers in DREDD?

Arresting Judge: Judge Francisco
Changes/Reduced: RETUN ON BENCH WARRANT
Plea: 2 = CONTEST    Finding: 412 = INSANITY
Sentence: 71 months(s) isocube, no parole
Probation: 3YRS    Appealed: Y = YES, Rejected

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I believe that’s the lead singer of Sküllböï

I was initially pleasantly surprised to see that in the new Dredd movie, Zombie (Rick Genest) seems to play the part of a Peyote Kings gang member, although it’s a brief part because he is almost immediately murdered by the rival Ma-ma gang. Every rigger, gaffer, muffin wrangler, and fluffer is listed in the credits, but for some reason they decided Rico wasn’t worth including among them. Then I realized an odd thing (and maybe someone more familiar with the Dredd franchise has an explanation) — there is more than one person in the movie wearing his skullface tattoos. At first I thought it was a reflection in a mirror, but no, it’s a doppelganger (different hair, and one has stretched ears and the other thin hoops) — and then I realized that the mugshot above likely isn’t Rick either, judging by the throat tattoo. And then I started to become convinced that none of the characters are actually Rick!!!

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Like I said, Rick doesn’t appear to be listed in the Dredd credits. I can’t find any mention of him appearing in Dredd anywhere online, and while I’m willing to accept that my google-fu can be weak at times, I find it highly dubious that Rick would make a major appearance in a movie as big as Dredd and not mention it on his blog or facebook page. But ripping off his character rights seems like a shocking oversight for a major film to make… Isn’t it? I think it’s important to note that this isn’t “coincidental”… It’s not as if it’s just someone tattooed like a skeleton. Many specific details of his tattoos have been copied — for example, the spiderweb on his right ear — in a way that makes it obvious they’re exploiting the theft of his character and likeness, and ensures almost everyone will believe it is him.

Here are some side-by-side comparisons… what do you think? Am I imagining this?

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But then I reminded myself that it’s pretty common to see people “draw inspiration” from Zombie’s tattoos and mimic him in various mediums. It’s no big deal if someone makes a YouTube video of themselves in makeup looking like him, but it becomes a problem when a movie rips off the character that Rick has created without getting his consent first — and this is just what happened in the first episode of the first season of the show American Horror Story. One of the characters in the show appears with Rick’s tattoos done so precisely that it’s obvious that it’s been directly copied and he’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the image. Here’s a pair of screencaps of the episode:

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They might have gotten away with this if Rico was still a Montreal gutterpunk, but now that he’s ascended into one of the glitterati he had his lawyer slap them silly and Fox settled out of court for what I assume is more money than Rick had made in his entire life up to the point he was first unleashed on the world with that glib “you call yourself a misfits fan” ModBlog post back in 2006. Perhaps that is what’s happening right now — an ongoing legal matter would certainly explain the complete lack of mention of this online. Ah, the wages of fame.

Well, if anyone knows the truth as to what’s up with ol’Skullboy’s presence in Dredd, please let me know. Either way, Rico really is one of my favorite rags to riches stories — what a wonderful unexpected adventure his tattoos are bringing him.

A few great self-mods

Speaking of Yann Brënyàk of Body Temple (londonbodytemple.com), another in his growing arsenal of modifications is this scar on his leg, totally self performed, which is always very impressive to me even though there’s no shortage of self-blading in this world. The core swastika heart design is great, and I like the way that he’s mixed heavy bands of skin peeling with find detail scarwork with the swastika geometry background pattern. Another nice touch is the random slashing around the border, which if you know Yann’s facial tattooing, is a motif that is echoed across his identity.

Those with long memories may recall way, way, way back in 2007 Hugh Mattay, now modifying people at 119 Tattoo (oneonenine.com.au) in Sydney, had his batwing eyebrow tattoos posted here. Since then he’s had a lot of tattooing added to his forehead, with the stripes exploding out over his temples being perhaps my favorite of the bunch. But he’s also been piercing himself this week, adding first the medusa piercing, and now a pair of cheek piercings. I’m always impressed when people do their own labrets or medusas because it’s so hard to judge one’s own facial symmetry, and it only takes being off my a millimeter to look wrong.

Jester Complete Concept Transformation

One of the most interesting group of people in the body modification world is the small group of at most one or two dozen people undertaking a “concept” transformation — the best known perhaps are those that are performers and exhibit themselves to the world, such as The Lizardman or The Enigma and Katzen. Other like Tom the Leopardman or Stalking Cat Dennis Avner live more reclusive lives, and there are a few inbetween like Eva Medusa. I want to introduce you to another character that’s setting out on this journey, Jester Mayhone, who you can follow on Facebook at facebook.com/JestertheJesterspage. As his name makes obvious, he has set about not just covering himself in clown and jester-themed artwork, but also tattooing himself permanently as a jester in full makeup and costume — I can’t help but be reminded of a “secret society” of street clowns, all tattooed with permanent clown makeup, that I came in contact with via a friend that was riding the rails. In any case, Jester has taken the big step of applying the permanent jester makeup to his face, so I think it’s time to introduce him to the public properly — here is his portrait, and below it you can learn much more about him.

Jester told me, “I think my love for jesters and clowns started when I was a child — I was always amazed by anything related to them. To me, being a jester and being that jack of all trades character has also had a very deep meaning, because I felt that they could express every emotion felt — or rather anything going on — more than anyone else could. It’s the main reason that when I started painting I used the jester as a subject, using the character to express my own, and everything I felt and thought. It seemed like the best way to convey the world around me. I have always been the one joking around, making people laugh, doing crazy things and speaking my mind, without any fear of what people did or thought. I have always been me and made no apologizes for it, regardless of if I was too “out there”, too loud, too goofy, or just too blunt for some people.”

“In old times with kings and the like, jesters were able express something to the king when no one else could. I always thought that was fantastic. So with that in mind, when I first started drawing and painting the Jester to express my thoughts or views, this became my Abstract Jester Series, a series of hand drawings, digital art, and paintings that I continue to paint even now. In fact. right now I am slowly working on re-creating many pieces of art from our history through this series, adding jesters to paintings like ‘The Scream’, and ‘The Last Supper’.”

“I have probably created a few thousand abstract jester images and so the idea of tattooing myself into a jester was something that happened naturally. I was already using them to express myself, what I saw around me, and the views I had. Not to mention my love of the character itself. In fact, my first tattoo was a simple jester, and than I got more and more jester-related tattoos until I decided that the jester should be my theme — to transform my whole body into a modified jester through tattoos. It was already part of me, so it made sense — to represent myself with the very character I love and was already communicating through in my art.”

“I try to put great thought into what I get and usually sit on a design for a while, like with my jester face make-up tattoo. I applied many rough drafts, with make-up, over and over again, to make sure it was perfect for me and my facial structure. As for where I get tattooed, I’ve been going to the same guys at Tomah Tattoo in Tomah, Wisconsin for the last thirteen years. The three tattooists, who all have pieces they work on for me, are Steve May, Dave Fox, and Clay Fox. They are three fantastic artists, which is why I don’t go anywhere else. I have the rest of my tattoos, except for maybe one or two, planned out with the three of them.”

I’ve been watching Jester online for some time, and I was struck how he’s always drawing on himself with marker, constantly fantasizing about who he will become and imagining it as real. To give you a better idea of where he’s going with his skin, I’d like to share a recent mock-up. One of the complications he has — as many people who start concept transformations after being interested in tattoos for some time — is that he’s already got a spotty assortment of miscellaneous tattoos complicating large-scale work. However, once the patchwork Jester’s suit is added, it pulls together successfully.

Finally, as he mentioned, Jester is also an outsider artist, creating bizarre paintings that suit his Jester persona perfectly — I wanted to finish up this post by sharing a small selection of his creations. Zoom in for a closer look, or, better yet, take a look at his galleries. Again, you can find him and follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/JestertheJesterspage.

Facial Scarification Plus Facial Tattooing

Two examples of tattoos and scarification dancing on a face in one day!!! You may recall this facial scarification by Iestyn Flye because I included it in the images in the entry about his recent scarification seminar. Since then, Damien Voodoo, also of London’s Divine Canvas (divine-canvas.com), has added a series of chin tattoo lines that echo the scars higher up on the face. I especially enjoy how the tattoo extends up onto the lower lip. I think if it was me, I would have drawn the lines right over the tattoos already on the neck, but that’s a highly personal decision where I think it’s quite fair for ones history to outweigh graphic design. Speaking of graphic design, looking at this tattoo from multiple angles shows how incredibly challenging it is to create parallel geometric work on a surface as topographically complex as a face!!! Either way, I think the two of them have fused their work successfully to create a striking and unique facial project.

So… How about some nice thing implanted forehead ridges for the trifecta?

Click to zoom in a bit of course.