Friday, May 28, 2010

Issue 1 is On-Line Now!!!

There has been much consideration behind the choice of whether or not to put Issue 1 of Aesthetic Evolution on the Internet. Partly due to the fact I am overly paranoid, which stems from past problems with people copying, stealing or otherwise making theft of things I have written. However, in an effort to promote the [eventual] print version of the magazine, as well as this space, I decided to upload most of the issue into a gallery on Facebook. Which will be the only place that the issue will be available for viewing.

This project is all about interaction, and I would love to hear from various people from all corners of the globe. Also, if you have an Internet connection [or hey, even if have to borrow it from a friend], it takes but mere minutes to leave a comment or submit something you would like to see in the blog. The more people make their voices heard, the more the rest of society will realize that being tattooed, pierced and modified in general is far more than trend, fad or fashion statement. It is a culture rich in history that has survived thousands of years and continues to evolve.

Stories, photos, news articles, and product reviews are all welcome!

If you are interesting in submitting content for either the magazine or the blog, please do not hesitate to e-mail me:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Aesthetic Evolution is not the run-of-the mill body modification magazine. The main focus is on educating the general public in order to cut down on stereotypes. Each article is comprised from interviews and utilize the subject's own voice for a more personal feel, along with striking photographs that depict their chosen body adornments.

Issue 2 is currently in production, and as a single person writer/editor/publisher team, it would be nice to have some extra hands working on the project. The interviews are being taken care of, but there are plenty of other subjects that can make riveting articles. While the main theme is body modification, there is room for more than coverage on tattoos, piercings, scarification and so on. Rituals, suspensions, tattoo conventions, shop openings, band interviews, music/movie/product reviews and beauty/fashion are all elements that I feel would make wonderful additions. Interviews with individuals with more extreme modifications [amputation, cosmetic surgery, waist training, muscle building, etc.] are also welcomed.

When replying, please include a little information about yourself and why you are interested in contributing. It would be preferred if you have writing experience, and having an example of your previous work definitely gets the right attention.

Tattoo Collages

The inspiration for my first collage came from wondering what to do with the collection of assorted tattoo magazines I had acquired over the course of several years. Some of the issues were given to me by Jon Cobb before he left for Hawaii, so I felt it would be a waste to allow them to sit and collect dust.

My partner had a plastic mannequin sitting in the basement of our former South Philadephia residence, and said I could use it for any kind of art. It did not take long for me to decide what I wanted to do.

The first collage began in the Summer of '08, spending numerous hours cutting out various tattoos, with the larger photos being the main focus. There was no real plan in pasting them to the mannequin, and in the process of doing so, I began to really think about what I was doing.

Tattoo Collage I

Completed over the course of a few months, the collage included work by artists such as Paul Booth and Guy Aitchison. It was put on display for an art show at I. Brewster Gallery [Philadelphia, PA] in '09 and sold for $250.

The second collage came about by chance when I found a discarded plastic mannequin on the sidewalk in South Philly. There was certainly no shame in carrying it back to my house, as I had been collecting tattoos from the magazines once again and just was in need of a canvas.

Much thought was put into placement of the numerous individual pieces, coordinating both color and subject matter. I also made more use of flowers and other assorted things, some of which were smaller than my pinkie nail. Obviously, a great amount of time and effort were put into the piece.

Unfortunately, there was a bit of an 'incident' that occurred. I chose to seal the collage with a Bob Ross product, which in turn created massive dark spots in the collage. It was a bit devastating, but I still managed to sell the piece back in January for $450. While I did not get the chance to photograph the collage prior to selling, it can be seen in the I. Brewster Gallery located at 22nd and Market in Philadelphia, PA.

Not wanting to give up making this kind of art, I certainly had the intention of doing it again. The only problem was, I did not have much access to mannequins. Let's face it. Unless one is willing to rescue them from the trash, they are not easy to come by. However, fortune smiled upon me when I relocated to North Philly, and my friend/landlord said I could have the mannequin that someone had left in the house. Absolute joy filled me, as this was not a torso with missing head, arms and half the legs; it was a very detailed torso with head.

The collecting of clippings from magazines began in April, and this time I was going to be very organized, creating little folders for specific subject matter, such as 'Scary Stuff', 'Ladies' and 'Flowers'. This definitely made the pasting process easier, as I started with the larger pieces and would work my way to the ridiculously tiny ones.

Honestly, I have no idea how many total hours went into making this piece. From painting the mannequin to give it a smooth finish to going cross-eyed carefully placing tiny tattoos with tweezers, this collage [like the others] is purely a product of a labor of love.

Tattoo Collage III

This is definitely my favorite of the three collages, mostly due to the fact that there was a plan for every piece, in order to make the overall color and design flow. Pretty much every inch of the mannequin is covered with magazine tattoos, except for the bottom [which no one will see anyway] and the very inside of the nostrils. Every little nook and cranny of the eyes, ears and mouth has been filled with a tattoo, which was definitely challenging.

The collage will be on display and available for purchase next month at Art Machine Productions, located in the Fishtown section of Philadephia, PA.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MTV's True Life

While there are plenty episodes of MTV's True Life that are more entertaining than educational, from time to time there are a few that really give the viewer a glimpse of the struggles that some people go through.

The following three episodes are ones that I felt reflected various forms of body modification. Whether one hates the ink scribed in their skin for life, the surgical alterations to their body or the image that greets them in the mirror on a daily basis, these are all results of a personal choice. Many are made on a whim or without taking into consideration the long-term effects.

I Hate My Tattoos

To be honest, I had a hard time getting through this whole episode. Larry obviously had issues to deal with, including getting wasting and thinking that is a prime opportunity to get some new ink. There are a number of reasons that this is a bad idea, and judging by the few pieces he was sporting, it should have served as evidence of such.

Ali made the unfortunate mistake of getting her fiance's name inked into her skin. Listen, I have no problem with what people want to do with their bodies, but more likely than not, the tattoo will outlast your current relationship. Yes, even I thought it would be cute to have someone's initial put on my finger [and thankfully it is covered up now], so I understand the mindset that a person could have in this kind of situation. The point is, if you are going to have a name scribed on you for the rest of your life, choose a relative or best buddy or child...or even your own. Anything is better than being angry at yourself and having to be forced to look at someone's name every day that you have only negative feelings towards.

Jayson was the biggest disappointment of the bunch. First of all, it was his girlfriend who wanted him to removed some of the more visible tattoos. Second, he already had a job, despite what it paid [money is money these days], so obviously they had no problem with his ink when they hired him. Finally, it should have been his choice as to whether or not he wanted to remove certain tattoos. Laser surgery is quite painful from what I hear, expensive [sometimes the cost can outweigh that of the tattoo being removed] and can leave nasty scars behind. Oh, and it seemed that Jayson's girlfriend was very concerned about him making more money. There is definitely other issues in the relationship than this. One should never feel they need to change to make someone else happy. True happiness begins with yourself.

Over one third of all Americans currently sport at least one tattoo. But what happens when you come to hate the markings you've permanently etched into your skin?

Larry is now sober after years of abusing drugs. He believes his ink will keep him from getting a decent job -- so Larry's mom has agreed to pay for their removal as long as he remains clean. Will Larry be able to fight his destructive urges -- or will his addictions prove too hard to overcome?

Ali was devastated when her fiance left her -- and now the sight of his name on her arm is making her skin crawl. Ali wants to get the tattoo covered up but is learning that the process isn't a simple one. Will Ali find a way to hide her ex's name -- or will she be forced to live with this painful reminder of her past?

Jayson's fiancee wants him to get his tattoos lasered off so he can land a higher paying job. But Jason is terrified of the pain involved and is having second thoughts. Can Jason endure this excruciating process so he can build a more solid future with his wife-to-be?

The mistakes of their past are indelibly inked on their bodies. Will they find a way to wipe the slate clean?

Watch this episode now:

I Hate My Plastic Surgery

According to, 12.5 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2009, with about half of them being reconstructive. People age 13-19 had the least amount, while people age 40-54 make up the largest portion. Females receive 91% of all cosmetic procedures, and breast augmentation is still number one in the list of tip five procedures. Half of those are done with silicone implants.

With so many people going under the knife, eventually, something will go horrible wrong. In the case of Nikki and Amanda, they come to regret the choice of plastic surgery. In my opinion, neither of these women seemed to be overly flawed. However, I also understand that people often see something very different in the mirror than what an outside perspective can.

Nikki came across as one of those women who would never be satisfied, and the doctor even told her that there were pieces missing that had to be replaced. There is only a certain amount of times one can fix a body part before the risk grows to epic proportions.

On the other side was Amanda, who felt her breast implants were causing her to feel sick. While that has got to be quite aweful, I am glad she made the choice to take them out.

In the end, one must find beauty on the inside before that confidence can be carried on the outside. It is definitely not easy, and everyone will have an opinion of what they do or do not like. Some will even make a point of letting you know exactly what they think, and unfortunately this can be done in a very harsh, negative manner. Not everyone has a 'thick skin', and people do not stop to think that their words can have an impact on the psyche. Plastic surgery is also not the 'quick fix' to deeper problems, and should never be used as one, or surely the regrets will come quickly.

What if you underwent surgery to fix a part of your body that you didn't like and woke up with even bigger problems?

Nikki thought having a nose job would land her bigger jobs in her modeling career. But, when the surgery didn't turn out the way she wanted it to, Nikki had no where to turn than back to the drawing board -- another surgery.

For the past year, Amanda has been seriously ill. What may be the cause of her illness? Amanda thinks it all boils down to her breast implants and she plans to have them removed. Will she return to her old self after the removal?

Will Nikki and Amanda be able to feel secure, inside and out?

Watch this espisode now:

I Hate My Face

This final episode is slightly different than the first two, as it deals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. However, I felt it was important to include, as the two individuals featured were considering plastic surgery to 'fix the flaws'.

As you watch the stories unfold, it becomes apparent that the girls really hate what they see in the mirror, and cannot understand why others see something different. One girl obsesses over every minor flaw in her face and uses a giant gem to distract people from looking at her nose. The other chooses to flaunt her body in order to keep the attention away from her face.

Surgery is definitely one of those permanent modifications to the body that carries with it numerous risks [including death] as well as a high cost, physically, mentally and emotionally speaking.

What if the very sight of your own face made you disgusted every time you looked at it? That's the case for many people who suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a mental illness that causes individuals to obsess endlessly over perceived defects in their physical features.

Watch this episode now: