Results tagged “Borneo”

06:23 PM
permanent mark.jpg
So it seems I'm a bit late to the party for the latest in tattoo TV. Last month, the testosterone channel Spike TV launched Permanent Mark, a three-episode special that follows 20+-year tattoo veteran "Permanent Mark" Walters as he travels the world experiencing various tattoo cultures. Here's how Mark explains the show:

I've been beating down doors for 7 years in Hollywood, way before the Miami Ink and L.A Ink and all the other shows about tattoos on TV. I was trying to get networks to film a show about how I would break into the subcultures of indigenous tattoos worldwide no matter what nasty shit I had to eat, what new fever I would catch, or what hole I had to crap in with a leaf too small to wipe my ass. All these things would get me respect in certain tribes and cultures because I never pretend to be tougher than I was, and my humility and stupidity showed them I was only human.

With this, I finally found myself in all my tattooed glory, sitting in a lot of network boardroom meetings. This is when producers at Spike TV, who had a filthier mouths than me, said to me "do what you want, we don't want to see the usual travel show. Get down and get f*cking dirty." That was all I had to hear.

I wrote 13 ideas and countries down and we made the decision that the Borneo headhunters (episode 1), the Yakuza in Tokyo (episode 2), and the Sak Yant tattoos made by the monks in Thailand (episode 3) would make the most compelling stories.

I'm not going lie to you, I lived in Japan and had my tangles with the Japanese mob as well as going to Thailand to collect tattoos by a dear friend who happens to be a monk, but I had never been to Borneo. Although everything I went through on the show was completely real, I never used my contacts in any country. It's really important to me that I show you, the audience how over the last 30 years I was able to infiltrate and be accepted by different cultures, and not only that, but have had the honor of earning their mark, in a culture where money doesn't mean a god damn thing, but your heart, your drinking abilities, killing the odd chicken or goat, and having the strength to eat the ceremonial sheep eye ball got me where I am today.

You can watch the full episodes online here. It's compelling TV. Grittier and more SpikeTV-ish than Discovery's Tattoo Hunter with tattoo anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak, which we loved. Let's see if Permanent Mark has lasting appeal and gets picked up.

Also, check Mark's video blogs on YouTube like the one below.

01:37 PM
chris rainer borneo photo.jpg
This month's Smithsonian Magazine features an article by Abigail Tucker on photojournalist Chris Rainer entitled "Looking at the World's Tattoos."  

[I became an instant fan of Rainer in 2006 when I bought his gorgeous photography book Ancient Marks: The Sacred Art of Tattooing & Body Marking.]

The article looks at Rainer's experience, from his time spent as Ansel Adams' last assistant in the 80s to his first introduction to traditional tattooing and how that informed a body of work that explores the art across the globe from Borneo to Burning Man. Here's what Tucker says of the photographer's start:

"Like his mentor, Rainier is primarily a black-and-white photographer. Unlike Adams, however, he is less captivated by landscapes than by the topography of the body, and he specialized in portraits. In the 1990s, while traveling the world to chronicle waning indigenous cultures, he got interested in traditional tattooing--which has cropped up from Greenland to Thailand at one time or another--and its sister art, scarification, a cutting practice more common in West Africa and elsewhere. Some of those customs, Rainier says, are dying out as modernization penetrates even remote areas."

A slideshow of select images from Rainer's tattoo-focused work accompanies the article. 

chris rainer modern primitives photo.jpg
The article also discusses the upcoming film Tattoo Odyssey, which will air on the Smithsonian channel on September 26th. In it, Rainer visits the Mentawai people in a remote village on the Indonesian island of Siberut. There he sets out to document their ancient tattoo ritual as it rapidly disappears.

Thanks to Father Panik for the link.
03:03 PM

The devlish Richard Metzger of has a new site that I'm loving: Dangerous Minds, described as a "compendium of the new and strange--new ideas, new art forms, new approaches to social issues and new finds from the outer reaches of pop culture."

One of my favorite posts is this video of 88 Lines about 44 Women, which contributor Tara McGinley found on Marc Campbell's Facebook page, where The Nails singer wrote:

"In the 30 years since 88 LINES ABOUT 44 WOMEN was first recorded there has never been a video version authorized by THE NAILS. Of the dozens of videos on Youtube that pay homage to the song, this is the only version created by a member of the band, me. So, here's the world premier of 88 LINES the video. Hope you enjoy it. I had fun making it."

Naturally I love the opening with the traditional Malaysian tattoo sequence (and dancing that follows). Keep in mind, as BoingBoing best put it, "the video is NSFW in a 1950s National Geographic sort of way."

Thanks to Sara for turning me on to the video (check out Sara's sister's site: Where's Lulu, a hip guide to places and services that are accessible to people with disabilities in Portland.)
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