Art that adorns the flesh…
I often talk about tattoo regret and how important it is to get the tattoo that will provide you with the least amount of grief. I’ve seen some especially regretful tattoos recently, like the teenager in Norway who got his McDonald’s receipt inked on to his forearm, or the one of the baby’s hand holding the mother’s finger , but at the very least, these tattoos are nothing that a bit of covering up or lasering off can’t handle. Sure, these are the types of tattoos that will most likely cause their owners more general discomfort than the actual tattooing process itself did, but when all is said and done, the process to get rid of these tattoos wouldn’t be too problematic.
What definitely would be problematic is spending years and mass quantities of money covering your body with tattoos, only to realise that you no longer wanted the tattoos. And because of this, you were prepared to spend even more money yet on having every last tattoo lasered off. And then! You wanted to re-tattoo your entire body. Yes indeed, that would be problematic. It’s also exactly what Britain’s most tattooed man, King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite (yes, that’s his legally certified name) AKA The King of Inkland, is in the process of doing.
King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite (KBATEII) has spent £30,000 ($49,915USD) on tattoos since the age of sixteen (he’s now 34). His entire body is covered in tattoos, yet despite this, he has begun the undoubtedly lengthy and painful process of having said tattoos removed. He has set aside £6,000 ($9,983USD) for laser treatments and is already looking forward to getting started on re-building his body art from scratch.
”I think of myself like an art gallery. After a while the art gets old and people want to see something new and that’s how I feel about my tattoos,’ he said.
‘I’ve had enough of them and I’ve run out of skin to tattoo on – so I thought why not get them lasered off and just start again’.’
‘He said: ‘I can finally see the skin underneath and the laser process is a gruelling one. My skin is currently blistered- but that’s good because it means it is healing.’
The King of Inkland has now started planning his next set of tattoos which he is anxious to get in place of the ones he has removed.
‘Some of my friends think I’m bonkers, and it might seem odd to some people but to me I am a living canvas,’ he said.
‘I can’t wait for the day to put new artwork in their place. It would be tomorrow if I had my way however I have to wait until the treatment to see when it completely heals.”
On the one hand, I see his point about being a “living canvas” – it’s kind of cool to think that there is a person who changes tattoos and will have different sets of tattoos as time passes. That’s my objective view, anyway. My slightly more practical view wonders to what degree KBATEII is simply trying to gain media attention for himself. I mean, really – getting rid of all your tattoos so that you can do it all over again? That’s a bit much. I’m sure he’s having a great time and I’m glad that he’s fortunate enough to even be in a position to afford the cost of getting all his tattoos removed and redone. But let’s be honest. It’s a bit of a publicity stunt, isn’t it?
Like everyone else, when I think of tattoos, a lot of different images and ideas comes to mind. What does not immediately spring to mind however, is cancer. I’m also going to venture to guess that cancer doesn’t crack your own personal list of top ten ideas that spring to mind at the mention of tattoo. In the past here on Tattoo Blog, I’ve written about how breast cancer survivors sometimes get tattoos to cover their mastectomy scars. In a way then, cancer isn’t exactly unheard of in relation to tattoo. Still, it’s not quite your typical union.
This article, however, makes a case for at least giving a little more thought to cancer whenever you’re planning on getting a new tattoo. Doctor Nicolas Kluger is a Finnish dermatologist who has done numerous scientific studies on tattoos and their effects on human beings. The most recent issue that concerns him is the relation between melanoma and tattoos. Before you get too concerned, don’t worry – Kluger has found no evidence of skin cancer being more common in people who are tattooed. What he has discovered is that tattoos can make it hard for doctors to detect the odd, misshapen moles on the human body that are potential indicators of skin cancer.
‘…Kluger, a dermatologist who is working on a PhD at the University of Helsinki, agrees that tattoos can make it hard to spot what dermatologists call “the ugly ducklings” — the misshapen, mottled moles that are melanoma.
“If you have a huge tattoo on the back, it doesn’t pop out as easily as before,” says Kluger, who has seen a few melanomas on old tattoos.’
I will definitely admit that the concept of tattoos covering up potential cancer causing moles is not something that I had ever thought about before. It makes sense that this could happen and that people should be aware of the issue. But all that being said, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference. Tattooed or not, what it all comes down to is how aware and vigilant a person is with regards to the moles on their bodies. Tattoos might make it difficult to see moles at first glance, but to be perfectly frank, tattooed or not, I don’t know too many people who regularly monitor the moles on their bodies. That in itself is the bigger issue. Still, this article provides a decent heads up for people (like myself) who had never considered the threat of moles hidden amongst tattoos. With summer coming up, it’s always a good idea be aware of the damage that our skin is enduring thanks to too much sun. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’ve got tattoos, sun isn’t their best friend anyway. Always try to keep your artwork out of direct sunlight and if that’s not possible, put some strong sunscreen on it and check those moles!
Be aware, my tattooed friends!
Ever come across one of those videos where you don’t really know what’s going on but you know that it’s definitely worth seeing? If not, check this out – but first, a bit of explanation regarding what you’re about to see. Personally this explanation didn’t really make things crystal clear for me, but whatever, this is mental…
‘this is a special instrument that combines human body and robotic system into a single entity that is designed to automate creative process in an attempt to represent the artist and his instrument as a creative hybrid. The device consists of a railing with comfortable hand holders and two parallel, but offset from each other black lines’ sensors that move along the arm using a stepper motor. It is equipped with a 3-dimensional Wii remote controller that uses the OSC protocol in order to give a possibility of additional expression achieved by moving hand in space.’
Got all that? Good. Now check this out.
I know this won’t be useful to everyone, but I’m sure someone out there will find it handy. I also know what it’s like to have to cover up a tattoo, though I’ve never gone to these lengths.
Okay, I’m just going to throw this out there…
One of the things that I really love about tattoo is that for good or ill it always finds itself wrapped up in a never ending assortment of situations. I’m not trying to suggest that there’s some sort of sensationalist, superficial element that overshadows tattoo itself, no. I’m just trying to point out that there really aren’t too many other crafts or art forms that consistently manage to place themselves into so many situations that are quite frankly, bizarre. From tattoos that are inked with the ashes of a dead loved one, to free food in exchange for getting a particular tattoo, to other more shall we say, unsettling incidents such as the case of 26-year-old Torz Reynolds.
I don’t want to cast too much judgement on Reynolds, but this is the sort of thing that makes it really hard not to. After learning that her boyfriend Stuart “Chopper” May had been unfaithful to her and lied quite expertly about the entire infidelity – including a mock trip to the airport in order to catch his non-existent flight to his non-existent “dream job” in Alaska – Reynolds took to personally removing the tattoo on her forearm that stated she was “Chopper’s Bitch”. Using little more than a scalpel, Vasocaine numbing spray and a pair of dissection tweezers, Reynolds spent an hour and a half cutting away the flesh on her forearm surrounding the tattoo before peeling the entire chunk of flesh off. After she’d completed this, she placed the flesh in a jar, gift wrapped it and sent it to her ex.
“It was the after-pain that hurt the most. It felt like a nasty stinging sensation and putting on clothes was a difficult task,” said Torz.
“I’d always planned to send the skin to Chopper. After I had posted it to him, I didn’t receive a response from him.
“Removing the tattoo like that was definitely closure. I like to get over things quickly and I always delete someone completely out of my life.”
Torz, a body piercer at the Kings Cross Tattoo Parlour, says that Chopper had seemed like ‘the perfect boyfriend’.
She got the words ‘Chopper’s Bitch’ tattooed a year into their doomed relationship.
This is probably one of the most bizarre things in a while that I’ve read involving tattoo. I don’t even really know where to start. One thing is for certain, however: this woman has some issues. Like I said earlier, I don’t want to cast too much judgement on her. She was truly screwed over by her boyfriend. Finding out that he had pretended to leave the country just so that he could get away from her and start a new life with another woman is a hard thing to take. Then again, maybe he pretended to leave the country because that was the easiest way to break up with someone who is obviously capable of behaviour that is not altogether rational. I’m all for expressing yourself through tattoo, piercing, body modification, whatever blows your hair back. But cutting off a chunk of your flesh, placing it in a jar filled with plastic vampire fangs and mailing it to your ex-lover is a step too far the wrong way. In fact, it’s tip-toeing into the realm of full blown nutcasery.
That being said, all of this is quite uniquely entertaining and it just goes to show us all how many interesting characters exist out there in the tattoo universe. Torz Reynolds does things her own way and I guess that deep down, that’s what tattoo itself is all about. I would run from this woman if I saw her coming my way, but hey, that’s just me.
Best of luck with your most recent relationship, Torz.