Results tagged “LunaCobra”

10:07 PM
Luna Cobra eyeball tattoo.jpgEyeball tattooing above by Luna Cobra.

Many, too many, news headlines recently had a "point-n-laugh look at the freaks" quality, which seems to be inspired by images from the Venezuela Tattoo Expo, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. As this HuffPo piece shows, a lot of the body modification photographed by the press were "extreme," with the greatest attention given to eyeball tattooing and especially to Henry Damon, the Venezuelan man who had undergone surgery to look like the comic character Red Skull (shown below).

While I don't endorse high-risk bod mod procedures, I also don't agree with the way mainstream media vilifies those who undergo such procedures. And more often than not, they get the facts wrong.

For example, despite the headlines from the BBC to AsiaOne to Cosmo to the Washington Post, eyeball tattooing is not a trend or "a thing" today, as described by WaPo. It is true that, since BMEzine's Modblog first documented eyeball tattooing in the body modification community in 2007, more people around the world have gotten the procedure done. However, in reading the headlines, you'd think that the tattoo community en masse has run out to stick syringes in our sclera.

It seems that these outlets have picked up on statements made to the BBC by body modification artist Luna Cobra, who was one of those who performed the cosmetic eyeball tattooing in 2007, noted above. The BBC writes:

Luna Cobra says that what started as an experiment between friends, and fans of Dune, has run out of control. He's also heard that it's fashionable among Brazilian teenagers and in some Russian sub-cultures - and worries that people could be being harmed.

"It's shocking. We had no idea anyone else would do it. And now everyone's obsessed with it," he says.

"We often felt like we released a beast into the world and now all these people will be damaged," he says referring to the many ways the tattooing process can go wrong - from using the wrong ink and needle to injecting too much pigment or going too deep.

"It's a shame because I think it's something really beautiful, but it's taken an odd course."

I fully agree that there is cause for alarm when people engage in dangerous practices as fashion, but an odd course does not make an epidemic. And if we did all run out to color our eyeballs, does that deserve that the mocking and vitriol of the media and society at large?

Many of these articles also question the mental state of people who undergo "extreme body modification," but we don't see that same level of discussion when some Real Housewife character blows up her lips and breasts to unnatural and unsafe proportions.

So will it take a real eyeball tattoo or nose-nipping "trend" to quiet the point-n-laughs? After all, it wasn't that long ago when people with just tattooed sleeves were the big "freaks."

red skull tattoo.png
09:41 AM

Yesterday, Complex Art + Design blog posted this video of Polish rapper and mixed martial arts fighter Popek getting his eyeballs tattooed. The video, beautifully produced by Will Robson-Scott, is graphic. There are close-ups of the needle going into the eye. But if you can get beyond that, it's fascinating to watch Popek explain why he's doing it ["I will be complete"], how he handles the process [smoking], the result [lots of hugs] and the healing process [pain "like putting cigarettes in your eyes"].

Howie/LunaCobra is the one tattooing Popek as he has done many times before. Howie first experimented with eyeball tattooing in 2007 on BMEzine founder Shannon Larratt, Pauly Unstoppable, and Josh. It was all documented on Modblog starting at this post.

In BME's Wiki page on "eyeball tattooing," it is noted that corneal tattooing is "known and done now for over 2,000 years -- it became almost commonplace in the late 19th century and into the 20th century to correct defects such as corneal scarring and leucomas." The procedures on Shannon, Pauly and Josh were not to correct any defects, but as an experiment in body modification. For Popek, he says he felt compelled to do it but cannot really articulate why (beyond any language barrier).

It's easy to point and jeer, "Look at the freaks!" And it's easy to cheer "Bod Mod FTW!" Neither helps any discourse on the seriousness of this procedure. There's little argument that eyeball tattooing could leave people blind, among other complications, and it's difficult to understand why one would take that risk at all. I'd love to see a full length documentary that explores this in some depth.
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