Photos via Vin Los' Instagram
Last week, Vice interviewed Vin Los, an aspiring Canadian model who, at the time of the article, worked at a supermarket but had hopes of being world famous via words permanently scrawled on his face -- words including "lick," "fame," and "scream my name," among other insightful commentary. And those tattoos have indeed gotten him some press, with articles in less-than-literary publications like Us Weekly and the Daily Mail, although Los notes in his Vice Q&A that he has yet to get a modeling contract.
While sarcasm is just too easy here, I am reminded of how, when Rick Genest aka "Zombie Boy" was first profiled online via BMEzine, many mocked the young Montreal punk for limiting his life options. Now, Zombie Boy makes more money than most of us, signing deals with Lady Gaga, Dermablend, and licensing his likeness on products from condoms to bath towels.
Los, also from Montreal, is seeking a similar path, and as Vice points out, has created "a budget version of that Zombie Boy video" in which he shows that his tattoos are real -- just as real as his passion to "embody pop culture." The video, embedded below, can be found on YouTube here.
I think the real obstacle that Los will face is that his tattoos aren't artful like Zombie Boy's, and in fact, are crude in execution and content. That does not attract license deals. No bath towels for him!
So it is likely the fame will come but for limited point-and-laugh type press. Then again, like Zombie Boy, he may prove everyone wrong.
I recommend reading the Vice article, an excerpt of which is below, because it offers some interesting insight into one's drive towards pop culture fame.
VICE: How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
So you like it when people look at you that way?
How do you pick the words or expressions that go on your body?
Photo by Matthew Lyn for Schon! Magazine
When Rick Genest aka "Zombie Boy" (or "Skull Boy") first appeared on BMEzine in 2006, many applauded his daring and strong tattoo work but naturally worried "How will Rico get a job?" Well, no need to fret. Today, Rico is making more money than most of us, particularly as muse for Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga's stylist and BFF, and as a top model for fashion mags.
His latest shoot that's getting style bloggers hot and bothered is featured on the pages of Schon! Magazine (Issue 14) in which photographer Matthew Lyn shoots Zombie Boy in full zombieness, but also brings in make-up genius Dylan K. Hanson to partially cover his tattoos. Dylan used Mac Cosmetics for that polite society feel, and the result is fabulously trippy. Check the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot here.
Thanks to Jenni Miller for the skull heads up!
My old tattoo and bod mod nerd friends, remember back in 2006 when Montreal's Rick "Rico" Genest was first profiled on BME's Modblog for his extensive facial work, transforming him into "Skullface" or "Zombie Boy"? Tattooist Frank from Derm FX Tattoo in Montreal submitted early photos to the site showing the progression of the skull tattoo, and Modblog posted updates over the years, like this 2007 one and this one in 2008. [
UPDATE: Here's the BME interview.
Anyway, old news right?
Well, this Montreal street punk is back in headlines as the new muse of Nicola Formichetti -- Lady Gaga's stylist (among other fashion pedigree). Formichetti is debuting his first collection for Thierry Mugler and Rico is the campaign poster boy.
On Wednesday, he walked the runway for Mugler during Paris Fashion week, and The NY Times said it was the only real highlight: "...the show itself was dramatic only in its use as a model of the totally tattooed Rick Genest, whose figure projected in a film, pearls glistening against the patterned flesh, was far more gripping than the clothes." [See photos here.]
Indeed, Mugler is milking the new model for "edge." When you first hit the designer's page, you'll see the video below of Rico striking poses -- even sexy, sexy pearl biting -- while a Gaga tune plays on.
A long way from the gutters of Montreal, Skullface has the last laugh at those who said he'd die penniless there.