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.
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.
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.
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.