Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sugar Skulls

Sugar Skull Recipe

Do not make sugar skulls on a rainy or high humidity day. They will not turn out.

Mix together well in large bowl: 1 teaspoon Meringue Powder for every cup of granulated sugar used.

Step 1: Mix dry ingredients well.

Step 2: Sprinkle sugar mixture with 1 teaspoon water per cup of sugar used.

Variation: Colored Skulls Most people prefer white skulls the first time they make them, but if you'd like colored sugar skulls, add paste food coloring TO THE WATER. For a 5 pound bag of sugar, use 1/4 cup meringue powder and 10 teaspoons of water. Yield 5 large skulls or 20 medium skulls or 100 mini skulls or any combination.

For a 10 pound bag of sugar, use 1/2 cup meringue powder and 7 Tablespoons water. Yield 10 large skulls or 40 medium skulls or 200 mini skulls or any combination.

Yield Table

Mold Size
# of Skulls
Sugar (pounds)
Meringue Powder

10 lbs
1/2 cup
7 Tablespoons


10 lbs
1/2 cup
7 Tablespoons

10 lbs
1/2 cup
7 Tablespoons

5 pounds of sugar = approx. 10 cups
10 pounds of sugar = 21 cups
3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon

Meringue Powder Conversion Table


Cups (approx.)
4 oz. Jar

1 cup
16 T
48 t.
8 oz. Jar

2 cups
32 T
96 t.
1 lb. Bag

4 cups
64 T
192 t.

Meringue Powder is a MUST and cannot be omitted. It is difficult to find, but may be ordered in 4 oz, 8 oz or 1 pound packages. Meringue powder is what makes the sugar and the icing hard. The main ingredient is powdered dry egg whites and starch, but it also includes vegetable gum, cream of tarter, calcium lactate, malic acid and sodium aluminum sulfate. It's totally edible.

Powdered sugar for Royal Icing

1 pound box = 3
1/2 cups 2 pound bag = 7 cups (do not sift Powdered Sugar)

Measurement: 3 teaspoons make a Tablespoon
4 Tablespoons make 1/4 cup
7 Tablespoons (21 teaspoons) of Meringue Powder = 1/2 cup

Obviously, as stated, this is the recipe for sugar skulls. I can safely say I do not know one American that has made one for eating purposes. However, it seems that tattoo magazines are starting to become filled with tattoos of sugar skulls. Dia De Los Muertos = Day of the Dead. The tradition and celebrations are rooted in the Aztec culture but in the past centuries has been integrated with Catholic customs. Originally the Aztecs, and the Mayans, kept the actual skulls of those who had passed to use for the celebration of their passing (yes celebration). As a tour guide in Mexico told me, ‘any reason to drink tequila is a good one’, Dia De Los Muertos is no exception. The celebration reigned for a month long instead of the two days like it is now.
The incoming Spaniards were a little put out by the partying taking place around random skulls. So they made the holiday ‘more Christian like’ and integrated with All Souls Day. Originally it was celebrated in the beginning of August due to the belief August was watched over by "Lady of the Dead". Today most of the traditions are pretty standard. Candles and flowers on graves, toys for kids and tequila for adults, and food for the dead. In Mexico, especially more rural areas, alters are still built in people’s homes to remember the dead. The sugar skull tattoo is just one of the many symbols of a people celebrating death. There really isn’t anyway a candy could have a negative connotation. Now the detail is starting to become more intricate and the designs are being placed on painted women instead of a basic mask. The original masks worn were usually in shape of an animal or a simple painted mask. The Virgin Mary is also becoming a popular base to put these designs on. The Lady of Guadalupe is seen now as a clash between Mexican culture and Spanish culture brought from Spain. Either way, today she is a major part of the Day of the Dead celebration.

The sugar skull tattoos will probably keep rising in popularity as people become more involved in other cultures and in a way it is a good thing that there more positive influenced tattoos.

sugar skull photo:

tattoo one: Brian Simpkins

Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview: Katia B

What do you think about body modifications today?

They are becoming more and more accepted as a regular thing these days, and not as a symbol of evil or a representation of a gang, or prisoners. More and more people are getting tattoos, and they are also appearing more in the work place. Also body modifications, especially tattoos, are starting to be viewed more as an art form than a rebellion, which I think is appropriate.

How many tattoos, piercings, etc. do you have?

I have 18 tattoos and no piercings. I used to have my labret, belly button and ears pierced but over time took them out for various reasons and I'm allergic to most metals now, so ink is my thing.

Photo: Shawn Baker

What are your beliefs about the body modification industry?

The industry is a great outlet for people to express their tastes and beliefs by wearing art on their bodies. Body modification has a long ancient history throughout the world, and has represented the same things for our ancestors. It's just another part of getting in tune with our ancestors and history. Also, I strongly feel that body modifications should be viewed as art and can transform a person into a beautiful work of art.

What are your thoughts on suspension?

It's not my thing, creeps me out.

When did you first get your tattoo and where is it located on your body?

I got my first tattoo when I was 22, I think, 10 years ago, and it's on the top of my back.

What influenced you to become modified?

I don't really remember; I wanted to get something done for a long time, but couldn't decide what. Once I found something I liked and set my mind on it, I did it. However, I didn't get most of my tattoos until about 5-6 years ago. The reason I decided to get covered, is because I thought girls with tattoos looked hot, and wanted to wear my art and art I appreciated on my skin.

Photo: Alexander Finger

How do you feel about people who go to the extreme with body modification?

If they feel it is necessary, than it is. They are not hurting anybody except for themselves and people should let them be. They are doing it for personal reasons, and who is anyone to judge them? You don't have to like it or do it. People are too quick to jump to conclusions about things unknown and strange to them, and to call people names because they are doing something that somebody doesn't understand.

Do you think in some ways it's necessary to cover up tattoos and piercings for a job interview or when performing your job?

I believe it depends on a job. I am a teacher, so I have to cover up some tattoos that are inappropriate for children. Usually I cover them up when I go to an interview, not because I'm embarrassed, but because of people's misconception of tattoos. I wish I didn't have to do it, and think that people should not have to cover anything up. A tattoo does not make the person, does not make them a worse or better worker, or less or more capable or qualified to perform a job.

What do you find most appealing about body modification?

The reason I like tattoos, is because to me they are art. Everything I have on my body has meaning that I project to the world through words and images. My tattoos consist of the artwork I created, and art that I appreciate made by others. I find them inspiring and love seeing them on other people. It's like murals and graffiti on buildings make them brighter and more appealing to me. We are walking living painted up buildings in a way, so much more brighter and colorful that the plain old matchbox houses.

Do you think that today's society become too judgmental about body modification?

I don't believe that it's today's society, but more the previous generation. Today's society is becoming more accepting of body modification, but the people of the past and the people who have old fashioned beliefs are the ones that are criticizing us tattooed up and pierced freaks and associating us with evil and bad things. It's like in the movies - even still to this day, the people with tattoos are usually the bad guys. It's funny, and old-fashioned, and outdated.

Is there anything that you don't like about body modification?

I don't really like scars or suspension, but that's just a personal preference. I don't want to judge anyone for their tastes and their way of expression.

Is there anything that you wish you didn't have or that you would like to change?

The only tattoos that I regret a little are the ones I first got on my back, because they are Celtic and don't really fit in with the rest of my ink. However, I try not to regret things I can't change, and will work them in to fit with the rest.

Has body modification changed you in any way?

Yes, most definitely. It has obviously changed my appearance, and it has changed the way people view me. A lot of people are hesitant to talk to me or accept me because of their pre-misconceptions. Others are more attracted to me because they are into the same things. I'm still the same person I was, but I have developed more of an attitude, and my confidence has grown because I walk the streets looking the way I do without caring what other people think.

Watertight Photography

Do you find enjoyment when getting tattooed, pierced, etc?

For the most part, except for when it hurts really bad. [laughs]

Have you ever had an issue when dealing with any type of body modification?

I had issues with piercings, that's why I don't really have them any more. With tattoos, the only issues I had was my body rejecting certain inks, and certain tattoos taking longer to heal than others.

What hurt the most when dealing with body modifications?

Out of the 18 tattoos I have, the ones that hurt the most were my chest and my feet, especially when I got the second foot done right after the first, ouch!!!

Interview conducted by Jess Angel.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Interview: Sage 13

Photo: Saquan Stimpson

What are your beliefs about the body modification industry?

The body is a canvas for art. Some people express themselves through this canvas.

When did you first get your tattoo and where is it located on your body?

My first tattoo was done with a homemade tattoo machine in my beach house when I was 17. It was a snowflake that has been covered up by another tattoo. Now I choose carefully where my tattoos go. All my tattoos have a story to go with them. They are about my personal life struggles. I would have to say that the ink on my lower stomach is my favorite tattoo. It has the most detail, took the longest and by far the most painful one I have gotten so far!

What are your thoughts on suspension?

I will watch it, but I would never do that myself.

How do you feel about people who go to the extreme with body modification?

In some cultures it is necessary. It is all about expression. Some choose to express themselves differently than others.

What do you find most appealing about body modification?

Tattoos can be mysterious. If you talk to a person about their body mods, you can understand their story. Otherwise there is that mystery to the person. To me it's like seeing a book with a great cover and wanting to read it right then and there.

Photo: Thomas Kelper

Do you think in some ways its necessary to hide body modifications for a job interview or when performing your job?

I do. Even though tattoos are very popular, they are not accepted with everyone. There is a lot of close minded people out there still and get offended at the smallest things.

Do you think that today's society has become too judgmental about body modification?

In some places yes. I traveled recently and my home area I see people with tattoos everywhere. But when I was away I only saw a handful of tattoos. When i walked by showing mine there was a certain uncertain look about people who saw my ink.

Is there anything that you wish you didn't have or that you would like to change?

Not really. I chose my ink and artists carefully. All of my tattoos are a part of who I am. I can't change me so therefor I don't want to change my ink.

Do you find enjoyment when getting tattooed, pierced, etc.?

It's a rush. Painful at times, but worth it in the end.

Have you ever had an issue when dealing with any type of body modification?

I have one piece on my back that if it gets too hot, the ink raises up. Then it itches until it cools off. Then I have another that was done twice, and it scarred up underneath. Also, I had more piercings, but with various personal health issues I had to take some out.

What hurt the most when dealing with body modifications?

Piercing pain was over fast. Tattoo pain, depending on the size and location, was more intense.

Interview conducted by Jess Angel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview: Kelly Fuls aka KY

What do you think about body modifications today?

Each clique has found a way to incorporate them into their culture in their own way. It moves in cycles from rebellion to acceptance, which is why I think some people take it farther than others. If you like it, do it, don't let anyone stop you, but don't just do it because you think it's cool either because that leads to being a phony.

Rietz Digital Imaging

There was a day in American culture when having one tattoo on your arm was considered bad-ass, but these days you see almost every other guy or girl with full sleeves and it's become much more mainstream than it was before. In a way, it's losing its rebellion, but it hasn't lost its roots, which is why I continue to get them.

I'd have to say my human heart is my favorite tattoo, because it reminds me of the things I'm passionate about in life.

What do you find most appealing to you in body modification?

The rights of passage, meaning whenever the needle penetrates your skin, be it for a tattoo or piercing.

When did you first get your tattoo and where is it located on your body?

I got a tattoo of The Crow on my right arm for graduating high school.

Rietz Digital Imaging

What influenced you to get a piercing or tattoo, etc.?

Rock 'n' Roll and motorcycles.

Has body modification changed you in any way?

It's made me fear a lot less than before, and it's also given me the will to live long enough to finish the canvas.

What are your thoughts on suspension?

It takes a lot of balls to endure that much pain and I respect anyone willing to try it. There may even be a day when I have the balls to do it.

Do you think in some ways its necessary to cover up tattoo's and piercings for a job interview or when performing your job?

First impressions are important, but skill is always the most important asset to any company. If the work is good and makes the company money, they're going to loosen their noose that much more. On the flip-side, yeah an actor is going to have to cover up their tattoos when they're playing a role, but that doesn't mean they can't rock it off-camera.

Rietz Digital Imaging

Do you think that today's society has become too judgmental about body modification?

I'm going to have to quote a friend of mine who said that "so many of our generation have tattoos." Then again, she doesn't have any herself, so it's coming from a totally outside perspective, which is where I think the judgmental attitude originates. There are some that are simply afraid to get body modifications, either because they think it will hurt too much or they care too much about what others will think of them. The days of the clean-cut All-American as we know it are long gone; wholesome has a new face, and that face has some body modifications, so get used to it!

Is there anything that you wish you didn't have or that you would like to change?

Maybe add a little depth and shading to one or two of my tattoos, but every piece I have tells a story about me.

Do you find enjoyment when getting tattooed, pierced, etc.?

These days, I get a new tattoo more than I get a haircut, so sometimes when my artist asks how the family or the dog is doing, it's cool because it takes away from the pain. That, and whenever I conceptualize a new design and it comes to life.

Have you ever had an issue when dealing with any type of body modification?

Nope, I took care of them all.

Interview conducted by Jess Angel.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Free Uriah and Quentin

Ordinarily, I do not get involved with personal matters, nor make them a part of such a public forum. However, I feel that this situation deserves all the attention that it can get.

Band members charged in Orange rape; incident occurred at house party after New Haven concert

To be honest, I have no affiliation with either of the gentlemen, nor have I ever met them personally. In fact, the first time I even saw the Goddamn Gallows was last Tuesday at Kung Fu Necktie here in Philadelphia. They were, without a doubt, one of the best 'billy bands I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long time.

When I read the above article, my jaw literally dropped as I went from one sentence to the next. While there are certainly two sides to every story, and the only people who really know what happened are those who were there, something wasn't sitting quite right.

It seems all of the comments have disappeared since yesterday, but there were a few that seemed quite rude and even judgmental of Uriah and Quentin. Part of me felt this was due to their appearance, since apparently having tattoos automatically means one is guilty of whatever accusations another throws at them.

Punk rockers dispute rape charges

Thankfully, there is a large network of supporters, as well as numerous eyewitness accounts that do not fault Uriah and Quentin. However, false claims certainly damages a reputation, and the two men are still currently behind bars while everything gets sorted out.

Farmageddon Records is looking for bands who would like to submit tracks for the Free Uriah Baker and Quentin Price Compilation CD. Please contact
if you would like to help out.

One of the easiest ways to aid Uriah and Quentin is via the Facebook page, or by making a donation.

Personal letters are also highly encouraged, but please be advised of what else can and cannot be sent via mail.

Uriah Freedom Baker inmate #377470
Quentin Price inmate #377472

Bridgeport CC

1106 North Ave
Bridgeport, CT

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Interview: Samura

What do you think about body modifications today?

I think they are amazing. The industry has come a long way, and everyone like to express themselves in different fashions. As long as the industry stands tall and grows, everyone will continue to push and see how far they can go with it.

How many tattoos, piercings, etc do you have?

10 tattoos and 6 piercings. I was 18 when I got my first tattoo, and it was the rose above my right breast! I'm planning on getting more tattoos. It's addicting! I just always wanted tattoos and piercings, so I really can't pinpoint what influenced me to get them. Body modifications has made it easier to express myself.

For me, getting pierced or tattooed is like a void being filled. I have never had any issues dealing with body modifications, though the healing process is what hurts the most.

Tattoos are my favorite. Your body is the canvas and you can paint whatever you want on it. I think it's amazing how a simple picture can come alive with the right artist.

Is there anything that you wish you didn't have or that you would like to change?

The Kanji on my was a mistake.

What are your thoughts on suspension?

It's amazing to look at, but I'm too scared to do it. [laughs]

Unlike today's industry do you think in someways its necessary to cover up tattoo's and piercings for a job interview or when performing your job?

I think it all depends on the position you have with a company, and yes, I do believe you should at least look more professional at job interviews.

Interview conducted by Jess Angel.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can't Hold Me Down

Have you ever had something hold you back from your hobbies or maybe even your dreams? Everyone, from one time or another has dealt with something that has made it harder or slowed them down from reaching their destination. One man from Thomaston, Georgia has a very unique story himself.

Cris Black has been piercing since January of 2007, but has very few himself. This is bizarre to most people, because of the popular stereotype that body modification artists having a lot themselves. Cris doesn’t have any piercings because his body rejects them. “I have an auto-immune condition that caused a kidney disease. I was originally diagnosed when I was 18 and was given a life expectancy of not seeing my 21st birthday. The drugs that I have taken to treat the disease knocks out my immune system rather effectively so, my body can't handle the stress of healing a piercing. It has a very, very tough time healing tattoos,” Cris says.

Since then, Cris has been taken off of these medications and is going to get his first fresh skin piercing in 6 years. He will be getting both conches punched at 2g, and have glass jewelry placed inside. He says he is not so much worried about the healing, but more concerned of the pain.

Besides starting his own collection, Cris also does piercings. He works a lot with his “bill paying” job, but tries to pierce during his free time. He “rents a chair” at a studio in the town where he lives in, where he has some paying clients and also does play piercing. [Below is a photo of one of his clients and “Chest Play”.]

By: Samantha Thacker


Profile: Stacy Wolf aka Lady Pixie

Photo by: Image Factory

Body modifications today are getting more extreme and also more accepted. The industry is very big now as a result, and I think as time goes by, it will end up being very strong and even more successful.

Currently, I have eight tattoos, twenty five piercings, and one micro dermal implant.
I remember the exact day I got my first tattoo it was April 10th, 2006; I was 14 and I got a Gothic Tinkerbell on the back of my left shoulder. Also, I do have a bit of experience with piercing, as I did all of my own, and started learning the trade at a younger age. Tattoos are more appealing to me, because they are beautiful works of art, and enable me to tell my story on my canvas (skin) that I can take with me everywhere. My main influence was my uncle. I saw his tattoos and thought 'That is awesome and different'. It's like he was a living piece of art. I loved how it was an expression of him, and it was very intriguing to me. Suspension is very interesting, and I would love to try it one of these days. It is very amazing what our bodies can withstand.

Photo by: Image Factory

Body modifications are about how you feel and think, not about other people's opinions. Your body is yours, so do what you want with it. Some people go overboard with judgment, but they are entitled to express themselves, though it seems that they are just scared. Everyone is a little different, and some of us just embrace it. Each type of modification is beautiful in its own way. I just don't like the the way people react towards heavily or even moderately modified individuals. My favorite type of modification, however, would have to be tied with tongue splitting and tattoos.

Yevgenia Fedorov Photography

My favorite part of body modification is the joy of adding a new piece of beautiful art to your collection. The worst part of getting modified is the after care of tattoos. It's not painful; just the itch when they start flaking and scabbing. The only issue I have ever had was some piercings rejecting, but other than that it's been good.

I always feel I have to remove my jewelry and cover my tattoos when I go for a job interview, because for every person who accepts the way I look, there are five who disapprove. Truthfully, it makes it hard to find work, but I'm me. I love all my tattoos, and even if I didn't like one, I wouldn't get rid of or change it for the world. I look at it this way: if an image means enough to me to put it on my body, there is always something about it that will make me happy.

Yevgenia Fedorov Photography

I have become more confident and happy with myself, because I realized when I started my modifications, that people would stare or make rude remarks or ask lots of questions, and I couldn't take it to heart. I had to be me and feel content, or I could not enjoy life. When getting a new modification, whether it's a tattoo or piecing or implant, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and relaxation; it makes me feel free and strong and I love it.

Thanks to Jess Angel for conducting the interview!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Art Machine Productions - Grand Opening

"We are a small artist community out to redefine the public's perception of what art is. Regularly scheduled visual and performing arts events, lectures, workshops, and all around awesomeness."

Art Machine Productions is an upscale private tattoo studio where Tim Pangburn [featured in Aesthetic Evolution Issue 1] takes full advantage of being able to lay down some of the best art on skin that can be found in Philadelphia. This not your ordinary street shop, and one can expect to be treated as a valuable customer from the moment that you enter. Boasting a steady influx of world class tattoo artists, live hobby art, workshops, and events, A.M.P. is aiming to set the new standard in the tattoo experience.

This Saturday, the public is invited to come check out the space for themselves. The first Group Art Show entitled "Stigmata" will feature works from over 20 local artists in a wide variety of mediums. The majority of the pieces are also available to purchase if something happens to catch your eye. Live music and refreshments should help get you get into the groove of things. If you happen to want more permanent artwork, be sure to book an appointment while you have the time.

Feature performance by Guinness Book World Record holder Lenore Lovelace!

Photo: S. Jenx

Saturday, June 12
7pm - 10 pm
2424 East York Street
Philadelphia, PA

Questions regarding art, sex, and violence can be forwarded to:

For all tattoo related inquires call the studio or hit Tim up at:

Check out the coverage in this week's edition of City Paper!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lucky Stars

Go down the beach this summer, or any other place where people are half-naked, and you will see stars. Not the tanned celebrity kind of star but on people’s skin. They can go from a little star on a wrist to a long string of stars going down ribs to a whole piece centered around them. Stars are not limited to one sex; women and men both seem to sport the celestial symbol. Stars have been a sign of mystery and fortune for centuries. Their elusiveness can be captivating, even though we know now they’re just burning balls of gas.

The most popular star seems to be the five pointed star, otherwise known as the pentagram. The pentagram's origins go back to the beginning of human history where they were etched on cave walls and in stone. As centuries passed, the pentagram started to take on different meanings for different people. Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher, used the star as a symbol of the five visible planets, while early Christians used the pentagram to represent of the wombs of Christ. The five pointed star has been adopted by military branches and some communist countries. Fifty-nine country flags are adorned by the five point star; America, Turkey, China, and Vietnam are just a few.

Then we have the Pagan stars, with the most popular being the Pentacle. The points of the star are supposed to represent the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water) and the fifth is for spirit. The pentacle has roots in Ancient England, Greece, and Rome. The Roman Goddess Persephone (Kore in Greece), has a story similar to Eve in the Christian religion. She was tempted with an apple and gets taken to be the wife of Hades. She was considered to be the Goddess of fertile land and associated with Spring. According to the story, when she bites into the apple, a star shape was formed. The Pentacle was also originally used in many religions, but now is specific more to Wicca then anything else. In the more modern centuries, Satanists decided that they should invert the Pentacle to be their symbol; in this form, it can sometimes represent a goat head.

Almost just as easily recognizable as the five point star is the six point star. Today people associate the star as a symbol for the Jewish religion, the Star of David. However, this did not come into effect until after the Middle Ages, between the 1600’s and the 1800’s. In the Middle Ages, and in decades before, the hexagram was to represent the unity of a man and a woman. The triangle pointing down represented the woman, the one pointing up the man. Hexagrams were displayed largely on churches but only one a select few synagogues. Like the five pointed star, the hexagram represented some magical elements and protection against demons. When the 20th century finally came,the Holocaust really sealed the identity of the Jewish people to be symbolized by the six pointed star. It was used as an indicator to the Germans on who was Jewish and who wasn’t.

The most popular star tattoo today seems to be the nautical star. There is more than one theory as to what the exact history of this symbol is. It is almost unanimously agreed that the nautical star (given the name) originated with sailors, who navigated the oceans by using the placement of the stars. Another is that the Military popularized the nautical star tattoo as a symbol that sailors will get home safely. Talk to any sailor today, and you will understand how superstitious they are, and in previous centuries this was even more prevalent. No stepping onto the boat with your left foot first, no women aboard the ship (made for a long voyage), swallows were a good sign, and if someone died on the voyage, cannon balls were tied to his ankles so he wouldn’t follow the ship after he was thrown overboard.

The star has also been adopted by the gay community and became a sign of the punk movement. Whether or not people know these legends and historical reference is erroneous. The history behind the meanings of the star shape can be, and is debated upon, greatly. Most see a pretty shape or just a symbol of the peace of the night; which is no way a bad thing. Either way it seems star tattoos are not going to become less popular any time soon.