Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interview: Soul Blackened

What do you think about body modifications today?

The Mod industry has expanded so much in so many ways. We can do things to ourselves now that people could not do before, or at least not unless you lived in a tribe in Africa. It's amazing to see so much expression of self everywhere in every body modification.

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

Currently I have 2 tattoos, though I am going in for another here within a few weeks (I am becoming an inkaholic already), and have 10 piercings and counting.

I believe that people should be allowed to express themselves in any way they see fit. If they want to have their favorite art printed onto their bodies forever, awesome. If you want to brand designs into your body with a scalpel and cauterization, more power to you. I know that I am proud of what I have, and intend to add more. Even if the older generation (at least most of them) tell me that I need Jesus when I walk into the room.

While I have a number of piercings, I would love to have just as many tattoos. Sadly, in this economy it's a little rough to pursue this goal. It is almost like a kick in the backside though, because within a 2 mile radius of my house is three different tattoo shops, and feel they are taunting me.

My forearm tattoo is my favorite. I have always been in love with dragons, and I plan on eventually getting folded dragons wings on my back to look as though they are curled against me, ready to be unfurled. This tattoo is the best expression of my interests and of me thus far.

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

My very first tattoo was a chest piece, which is a ballsy place for a first experience under the needle, and it is still unfinished. The girl who did it was a friend of mine, and she had never done a chest piece before, but definitely inked many people prior to me. She was one of my best friends, so I said the hell with it. It hurt like hell in the middle to be honest, but out towards the sides the sensations felt very pleasant, nearly erotic.

What is your experience with body modification?

I have a friend who is a scarification apprentice, as well as learning suspension, and I watched her put giant hooks through people's backs. It was a crazy but amazing and fascinating experience to see what people will do and what they get from it. If I had the money for the classes, I would definitely love to get into the industry as a body piercer or micro-dermal surgeon (piercer).

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

Seeing all these people with this art on their bodies that I wish I could have and carry around with me all the time. Always wanting to have something that means a lot to me, that can be with me forever. I wanted to have the freedom to express myself even more than what society's norm would allow.

Has body modification changed you in any way?

It has not changed me so much as made me more confident in myself in all reality. It makes me feel like I am "somebody" in a sea of just "people". I like being different, as I mentioned, and it makes me happy. Happiness breeds confidence and I have needed that in my life.

What do you find appealing about body modification?

Gauges, tattoos that tell you about the person at first glance and interesting things. I thrive on being "different" and body modification is the best way to be such. People who are open about it are great people to meet and talk to, and I am certainly drawn to those individuals.

What are your thoughts on suspension?

Like I said, I have seen it done. Watching what it's like to have those hooks pierce through the skin, I would not do it myself. However, I have wondered what it would be like, and I can just barely imagine the high they must get from it. Once the hooks go in, I am told that all you feel [once suspended] is the sensation of weightlessness. Wow.

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

If the person doing it believes its necessary, if that is what they want, sure. Once you get half your body covered in metal and plastic and holes, why would you stop there? The government complains about its citizens half-assing everything, so go for it all the way. Who cares once you have gotten that far? [laughs]

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

I am not too fond of the people who have 5+ lbs of metal in their mouth, and I don't see the need of a 000 gauge labret or tongue ring. You could eat a hot dog without opening your mouth and how do you drink? I mean, if that is what you like fine, but ow?

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

To be honest, I would like to redo a bit of my chest piece, in order to make it more colorful and add to it, but I just don't have the money. I am sure eventually that will change, and so I am content in the meantime.

Photographer: Maura Housley

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

Yes, I do. The pain is relative and brings you to bear on the fact that you're still human, we all bleed. That is why it is fun to get them when your stressed out, the best form of masochism, so to speak. [laughs]

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

Not really. I was cussing a bit during my first tattoo, but it wasn't completely unbearable. To be honest, my first piece is technically over one of my birthmarks. She tattooed over a freckle to show me what it felt like, and I thought okay cool, that's not too bad! [laughs] Then she moved on to my breast bone.

What hurt the most when dealing with body modifications?

The star in the middle of my chest piece. It felt like my heart and soul were being pierced. I cussed and thought of everything I could to hold still. Her chihuahua kept coming near me and barking at us. I told her if she didn't move him he was gonna be launched across the room. [laughs]

Photographer: Maura Housley

Do you think in someways it is necessary to cover up tattoo's and piercings for a job interview or when performing your job?

It depends on your job. Wish I could say that it's fine to show extreme body modification in the public work environment, but not everyone has that frame of mind on the subject, and doubt they ever will. There will always be people to judge you instantly, and not always in a good way. So unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to avoid both hassle and heartache in the workplace.

Do you think that today's society has got to judgmental about body modification?

In some ways, yes, it's a trend that is coming and won't be going for a while, if ever. People are going to have to become more accustomed to it. You would think since we modify our cars, technology and lifestyles, that modifications of the body could be just as acceptable. Alas, it is not the human way to accept everything.

Interview conducted by Jess Angel.

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