You are here


Tattoo Extremes - The Edge of Reason?

Having tattoos can make you feel like a bad ass, but how bad ass can it really be if your mom has one? Or your grandmother? Just like when your Uncle Joe decided Facebook was a great way to update the family on his tomato garden (therefore rendering Facebook largely uncool for you), tattoos have permeated every level of society, altering what was once the realm of fringe dwellers to somewhat...mainstream. Even though tattoos are very common (1 in 8 Americans have one at last count), they are still cool as hell, especially well executed tattoos. Spending money on high quality ink will always set you apart from the tattoo pack to be sure. But what if that is not enough? What if you need to be further out on the edge? What is it like out there on the frontiers of tattoo-land?  A little scary.

First up, we have an interesting new type of ink that can look stunning in the right light - namely no light. UV inks have changed the way you look at a tattoo, especially if you happen to be at a rave. The pros are a tattoo that has two different looks and overall a pretty cool concept. The cons are the unknown (if any) side effects these inks may have and the inability to sneak up on anyone in the dark - naked.

Next is a tattoo practice that has actually been around for a while, but has largely existed outside of professional tattoo shops. Ash tattoos using cremated remains. Known as 'Morbid Ink" by some academics, this practice is not typically done by tattoo professionals due to the obvious risks involved. Memorial tattoos are a time honored tradition and come in all shapes and sizes. For some people, the tattoo itself is not enough and they incorporate the ashes of their loved ones into the ink itself, which is then injected like traditional tattoo inks. Done well, the difference is unnoticable; it simply serves as an important aspect for the wearer. Done poorly, and you have a full blown infection with scarring or worse. Done by yourself at home (thanks to this article on ehow), and your mom is never letting you use her sewing needles again.

Here is a trend that is part tattoo/part piercing and makes me a little squirmy - the corset pierced tattoo. Corset piercing consists of a series of rings that are pierced on the body to allow a lace or ribbon to be woven through it like a corset. Frequently these multiple peircings are accompanied by tattoos to complete the image. Corsets are sexy and corset tattoos can be sexy, but this combo seems so...literal. And ouchy. And don't even get me started on trying to get through airport security with that rig. What is even worse is that surgeons claim the rings simply work themselves loose after a period of weeks leaving horrible scars, so I guess if you want to live on the edge, you are going to have to travel all the way to crazy-town and get sclera tattoos.

josh morrow body modification artist, oxblood tattoo and body piercing What is a sclera tattoo? SO glad you asked. Otherwise known as "eyeball tattooing", this is a procedure where a crazy person and a tattoo artist willing to risk blinding a client embark on an un-holy union of foolishness and inject ink directly into your eyeball.  Go ahead and let that sink in. Now certainly, if this is the kind of thing you are into, then good on ya and more power to you. There are a handful of artists who have pioneered this technique and I strongly encourage you to seek them out as the risks for this type of tattoo are phenomenal. Very little is known about the long term effects of eyeball tattoos, although the short term effects include being able to go first in the Starbucks line because people will find you scary and not being invited to any more family get togethers... so maybe it's worth it?

All in all I have to say I DO admire the individuals and artists that are willing to push the envelope so far. These extreme modifications may not be for me, but they are right for some and that is awesome. The world needs its freaks and I use that word with affection and respect. Imagine if circus freak shows were still a thing. Who on earth would we get to sit in the little booths? Well I bet some of those glow-in-the-dark-blacked-out-eyeball-corset-laced folks would, and you know what? I would gladly pay a dollar to have a peek.