Art that adorns the flesh…
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.
I’m no tattoo artist. I know that probably doesn’t surprise any of you, but I just thought I’d get it out there. The truth of the matter is that I wish I had the artistic ability necessary to tattoo for a living. But I don’t. Thankfully, there’s still one small way that people like me (that is, people who wish they could give life to wicked illustrations and drawings), can experience creating something that resembles a tattoo.
The Tattoo Colouring Book is filled to the hilt with images of tattoo flash that are just begging to be filled in with all the colour patterns that your brain can come up with. Okay, so maybe it’s not quite the same thing as inking a full blown back piece onto a ready and willing client who’s paying dearly for the privilege of your time and skills. But it’s still pretty cool to ink in the armour on an image of a Japanese samurai, before eventually sitting back and admiring your handiwork. We can’t all be Chris Garver, but this book at least allows us to pretend that we are without hurting anyone.
Lastly, if you like the idea of the colouring book and if you also happen to be in England (non-specifically the Essex area), then you’ll probably be interested in checking out The Megamunden Show at the newly opening Church Street Gallery. Megamunden are the fine folks responsible for the tattoo colouring book and their show at the Church Street Gallery sounds equally enticing. I’ll let them sum it up for you:
‘The show marks the opening of our new building whilst acting as the perfect follow up to the worldwide success of MEGAMUNDEN’s ‘The Tattoo Colouring Book’ – the Brighton based illustrator’s first book, published in 2013 by Laurence King Publishing.
Looking to American and Japanese influenced tattoo styles ‘THE MEGAMUNDEN SHOW’ further progresses MEGAMUNDEN’s signature style, developed during his time creating the book and aims to be a body of work that isn’t only original illustrations and prints on walls, but to seamlessly integrate his detailed illustration style onto sculpture, leather products, fabric and even musical instruments….
Included in the exhibition are collaborations with Raw & Auburn, Pedro Oyarbide & Jeff Nichols.’
So there you have it, some decent options for those of us who can’t tattoo but appreciate the art form – who says tattooists have all the fun?
I tend to get annoyed very easily when the mainstream media goes on about tattoo regret, assuming that everyone who gets a tattoo will ultimately wallow in their own foolishness. The ignorance of deciding in advance for an entire future population of tattooed people that they’ll ultimately realise they’ve made a mistake is not worth delving into here. That being said, I do think there is value in learning from the mistakes of others and seeing firsthand what sorts of things people regret. This short documentary showcases a few people, their tattoos and how they happened to come to the decision that they’d made some bad tattoo choices. Some of the most common reasons for getting tattoos that end up being regrettable are age (teenagers, mostly) and trends (tribal hell – the 90s put some really bad ideas into people’s heads). Best of all, I feel that this doc shows its viewers that a tattoo is for life and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be rushed into simply for the thrill of “getting one”.
I know that in the past I’ve briefly mentioned my admiration for tattooist Valerie Vargas and that once already I’ve posted a short video profile/interview with her. Well, a couple of months back I was walking around London and soon realised that I was standing in front of Frith Street Tattoo where Valerie works. Let me tell you that it was no easy task just walking on and not being able to get tattooed by someone I consider to be one of the best tattooists working today. Her work continues to be on my mind even now and so I decided that if there isn’t yet enough word out there about this wonderful tattooist, then maybe there needs to be more. Here’s a fairly lengthy interview done with Valerie from 2011 when she was in California.
Hiya folks, how goes it? I admit I haven’t been around for a little while, but if you’re still coming back on a regular basis checking to see what’s up at Tattoo Blog, first off – thank you, and secondly, Tattoo Blog is still alive and kicking. Today I’m going to throw a HUGE interview your way with self professed “old man” and former Kat Von D husband, Oliver Peck.
Check it out and thanks again for sticking around.
Okay kids, this one takes tattooing to a whole other level with London tattooist, Duncan X and the stories that became his tattoos.
Read up on it here.
Merry Christmas all! Hope everyone is happy and having a wicked holiday season so far. Here’s a late but great gift for all of you fine folks out there, an interview with Dan Henk. Enjoy it with some eggnog! Or just a glass of straight rum.