This has to be one of the largest examples of [voluntary] skin removal on a face to date, at least in a single session. It was done by Iestyn Flye –who is normally based at London’s Divine Canvas, but tours extensively so visit him on Facebook for more information no matter where you might be — on Marc at Copenhage Body Extremes (bodyextremes.com). The design is based on a Japanese holy hemp leaf pattern. I can’t wait to see this healed, and will definitely post a follow-up when I can (although if you look at the previous scar that runs across the nose, you can get a good idea of what to expect) — I expect the sort of visage that looks like Freddy Krueger from a distance, and then transforms from horrific to beautiful as you get closer. Click for a larger look.
I am in the uncomfortable position of telling you that this piercing, done by Baz Black (fb/BazBlackPiercing) in Dundalk, Ireland, has been named “The Hitler Piercing“… Yikes. Baz isn’t sure how long the lifespan will be, as it was just freehanded in place using a curved barbell, rather than using traditional surface piercing techniques or even piercing right through the lip, but the piercing went well even though that skin is quite solid, and was relatively painless.
Let me be fair though and redeem Baz’s good name by also showing you a “tiger scratch” skin peel scarification that he did. I think sometimes when people see these “faux wounds” they write them off as somewhat trite, but before you make that mistake let me share the story behind it,
I loved tigers from no age but when I was a little kid I used to draw on tiger claw scratches on myself and tell the other kids in Spain I had been attacked by a tiger. After the laughter subsided, I would head to class and just dream about how they wouldn’t laugh if it was for real.
Then my weight started to balloon. I yo-yo’d for years until finally I got to where I am now — I got it under control and I decided to have this done.
As we where leaving and walking down the street I got all kinda emotional! This is a lifelong dream to have those marks and they mean so much because I could never have them, being so overweight before, with the rolls of fat in that area. It was a case of having gotten over one hurdle with my weight, then another one of letting someone see my body, and finally the hurdle of the pain getting it done.
Such a beautiful story!
I got a message from Mike Hill at Broad Street Studio (broadstreetstudio.co.uk) in Bath, Somerset, UK telling me that they’re looking for a new tattoo artist at their studio and asking me whether I’d be willing to post a job ad for him… I told him I couldn’t really do that, but if he could find something interesting for me to post, well, as they say, “one hand washes the other”… So he got me some pictures of a recent scar he did on Tam Smith. Unlike most skin removal scars over tattoos, this is over a Japanese sleeve, rather than over blackwork, and the negative-space it creates interacts with the tattoo rather than standing solo. At first I’d assumed this was a tattoo on a fishing enthusiast, but it’s actually a flesh hook as Tam is part of the suspension community.
If you’re a tattoo artist looking for work (or perhaps even a long-term working vacation in beautiful Bath), get in touch with Mike on Faceobook, or via their shop website. To give you an idea of the sort of shop you’d be stepping into, here’s some work done by Fil, another one of the tattooists that call Broad Street Studio home — that’s Mike’s head top-right (you may recognize it, because Rob featured it back in 2010). Click for a giant look.
I’ve posted lots and lots of tattoos that move with the body, be it simple fluidity, tattoos that change their form or meaning with the body’s position, or even “animated” tattoos like the pussy finger gag tattoo from earlier today. This example though is done in skin removal scarification, by Natalia Carrascosa or Blue Tattoo Gava in Barcelona. The client, an exotic animal enthusiast, designed the piece (with a little fine-tuning by Natalia) to echo the eyes of a puma. The first photo is fresh (as if you can’t tell), and the second photo shows it on the left at just over a month into the healing, and on the right at just under a year.
I think most people know of the Maori tradition of facial tattooing or Moko, but I suspect most people see this tradition as being about tattooing (as in using needles to poke a design using ink into the skin). At its roots though it’s more likely an extension of their tradition of wood carving — similar patterns are chiseled into their homes, furniture, and boats. Mokos appear to have began by applying this wood art to the human body, literally chiseling or carving designs into the face, using similar tools for similar results. Some time after this practice began, ink was the added to the scars, making them more visible, and in time the tradition slowly moved away from scarification-based methods to tattooing-based ones. Some early photos show the three dimensional nature of Mokos created using the ink-rubbing scarification technique, although by the time Western anthropologists began documenting the practice it was already falling out of fashion.
Anyway, I was reminded of that history when I saw this skin peel done by John Durante (of Seattle-based jewelry company Evolve), which you can see here both fresh and well into healing. I really like the way he has used a sort of “reverse negative space” by cutting out a simple shape, but leaving a circle of skin in the middle untouched. As to why these facial scars inset rather than raising (as most scars do), it’s possible that it’s some evolution that makes facial injuries less likely to disfigure, it could be due to there being less subcutaneous fat, or it could be due to the vascular nature, but I don’t really have a good explanation as to why the majority of facial scars are “innies” rather than “outies”. If there are any medically aware readers that want to save me some googling, I’m like a Ferengi… all ears.
You don’t have to move far off the face for the scarred skin to start being more likely to raise than stay inset. Here’s another good example of a scar showing fresh versus healing, a throat piece done by Brendan Russell of Tribal Urge in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. The sharp-eyed will notice that this isn’t just a skin removal scar by the way — it’s also an ink rubbing done with white ink, which has the interesting side-effect of making the age of the scar difficult to eyeball.
Dundalk, Ireland’s Baz Black (facebook.com/BazBlackPiercing) did this UV ink rubbing over a skin removal scarification of an exclamation mark. The top row shows the scar as it was fresh, back in December, and the bottom row shows it as it is now, seven weeks into healing. In an attempt to get the ink to stay more solidly, he had the customer come back every day for the first three days of healing, so he could change the dressing for him and reapply the UV glow ink each time. There’s a little bit of patchiness, but overall the effect is very solid.
Skin removal scarification is the next step up from eating scabs and boogers. They’re like gateway drugs…
But seriously, while I like this scar on Joe by Iestyn a lot, something about it really reminds me of a cartoon face. Click the picture to see what I mean, assuming it doesn’t jump out at you already…
Samppa (voncyb.org) has of course done numerous amazing facial scarification projects, many of which have been featured here on ModBlog, but I especially enjoyed this one he just did on Febian (while guesting at Rings of Pleasure). Below it’s pictured both fresh and a week into the healing. The design isn’t purely chaotic — it’s done to mask or reclaim old scars from a car accident (which of course parallels the many scars we’ve seen that cover up old self-injury).
Gosh, I’d forgotten both how fun and how difficult posting here is for me. I’m simultaneously excited and nauseous! But before I call it a night, I wanted to share a few more pieces by Iestyn Flye that he’s posted while I’ve been largely offline. I should also mention, if you didn’t catch it earlier today, that he’s now online at the-absolute.co.uk. Anyway, I will try and post a bit more this weekend but I can’t promise a lot.
This first piece is really interesting and not something you see every day (for all of these I suggest zooming in for a closer look of course). It begins life (the left and middle image) as a skin-removal scar, which is then accentuated once it’s well healed using red dotwork tattooing.
Next, a gorgeous example of facial scarification, with an organic free-flowing piece on one side that has a sort of early Celtic/Viking feel to it, balanced and contrasted on the other side of the face with a series of geometric crosses that instead of being free-flowing, integrate tightly and precisely into the tattoo work done earlier. A stunning and world-class creation.
Finally, the some mind-blowing geometric scarification that would be impressive if done as a tattoo, and unbelievable when done as a scar.
When Gato Piercer down in Bogota, Colombia first did this heavy “FUCK YOU” graffiti skin peeling, I had some doubt about how it would heal — and I’m told he got a lot of the inter-studio crap that’s way too common in this industry, where people accuse each other of being scratcher-monsters and fighting when they really should be working together since we’re all on the same team, even when we’re competing for the same customer dollars. Back to the point, I’m very happy to be able to post an update of this scar two months later and show you that the healing has been remarkably even, and more importantly, kept its detail. My worry was that the interior negative space might not survive, so I was pleased to see everything turned out great.
Zoom in for a closer look.