Welcome to Industry Insider! This is a new Modblog series that will feature brief interviews from some fantastic body modification professionals across the world. We get a peek at the state of the community and what it’s like to work in the best industry around!
I know Richard from various professional piercing forums where he is usually the voice of unfiltered reason. Love him or hate him, you cant argue that he is becoming one of the more recognizable faces in the body modification community. Richard took the time to sit down and talk to me about the modification industry and community as a whole. We get the state of the community address straight from a man who is right at the heart of it.
Click through to read the interview!
When did you first become interested in Body Modification and when did you decide you wanted to make it your job?
As a kid, I felt drawn to images of body modification, on TV, in movies, and in print. My dad had tattoos and I was always captivated by them. As soon as I turned 18 and started getting tattooed and pierced, I knew I wanted to be part of this industry.
I was just reading an interview with ABC News from 2010 where you represented the modified community eloquently. What was it like to be put on a stage that big knowing that you were the ambassador for all of us at the time?
Finding myself under the microscope was pretty crazy. I had reporters standing outside my home, my phone was constantly ringing- people were sending threats and religious literature to me in the mail. I tried to speak not just my own truth, but what I knew to be true for all of us- we’re normal people with hopes, dreams, worries, and feelings.
Usually big time media and body modification are like oil and water, do you feel that ABC did a good job of not putting a negative spin on the whole story?All the reporters I spoke with were super friendly and expressed their support of “our” side quite well. I feel like the articles were a bit sensationalized, but did an adequate job of being fair and letting people make their own decisions on the matter. Generally, people have a stance already, so the media doesn’t need to be persuasive, they just need to present the facts. Overall, I’m happy with the outcome, especially in light of how recent news articles have presented us (like the stretched lip debacle we just faced).
You help a lot of piercers every day in different discussion forums, why do you feel it’s important to give your hard earned knowledge out for free to people that could well be competition one day?
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. In order to help this industry continue to grow, we have to provide a somewhat united front to our clients. Clients deserve to have access to a knowledgable professional who only uses the best jewelry. Educated piercers make for educated clients, and educated clients will seek out the quality they deserve. I don’t really feel like I’m turning people into my competitors, so much as we’re leveling the playing field a bit. Just because a piercer ups their jewelry game or learns a new trick or two, it doesn’t take money out of my pocket, but it does help clients everywhere have better experiences and generally become more discriminatory about who they let work on them- and that’s a good thing. People seem to forget that this industry is bigger than just the professionals who work in it- it’s our clients who pay our bills. Keeping them happy keeps us happy.
I try to be a straight shooter. Sometimes people need to hear that they’re not at the level they think they’re at, and as much as it hurts to hear, it needs to be said. There’s plenty of folks who don’t like me, and that’s fine I guess. But learning isn’t always fun.
Speaking of your being a straight shooter, You have a bit of a reputation thats complete with t-shirts and a tribute tattoo. I have personally been in the lions den once or twice and seen you rip a few people a new one. It’s all really just a case of tough love right?
By and large, yes. I love this industry, and want to see it flourish. Sometimes that means hurting someone’s feelings, for the greater good. The world isn’t all sunshine and puppies. Generally, if I feel someone’s actions demonstrate a lack of respect for the industry, or myself and my colleagues, then the gloves really come off. Nothing I say online is something I wouldn’t say in person. In general, I consider myself to be a decent person. I don’t kick puppies or anything.
Body modification seems to be more prevalent than ever, are you happy with the current state of the scene? What would you change?
Body modification is everywhere! It’s crazy to walk down the street and see kids with stretched labrets and big lobes- it’s even crazier to walk around a mall and try to find someone who doesn’t have at least a helix piercing. Our generation, our culture- we’re taking this further than it’s been in a while, and it’s a good thing. Inside our industry, I’d like to see everyone focused on common goals- only using quality jewelry, doing every piercing perfectly, turning every client into a jewelry snob, and fully understanding the basics of what we do. I see too many people getting sidetracked with just one focus, and they end up lacking in other areas. I also see people treating this like some sort of fame game, where their self worth is based on how many Instagram followers they have, and not on the quality of their work. That doesn’t help our industry, and it doesn’t help our clients.
You have helped a lot of clients through their modification journey, is there any one experience that stands out to you as particularly significant?I have too many amazing stories to try to pick just one. I love helping people, and I get to do that every day. Every time a client looks in the mirror and smiles, or turns around and gives me a hug- man, it makes it all worthwhile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried with a client, or how many times a client has helped me heal in some way.
BMEzine helped me realize that I wanted to be a piercer when I was young. What would you say to someone who wants to make their passion into a profession? What are the first steps from client to professional?
This industry is full of dedicated, committed people. If you want to join it, you’ve got to really bring your A game. I can’t stress enough the value of a college education. Befriend your piercer, visit other piercers. Be the client you one day want to have. Understand that this isn’t a particularly easy path, but it’s worthwhile to the right people. Be willing to wait for the perfect opportunity. Don’t settle.
You can view Richard’s BME portfolio here. If you’d like to have some work done by Richard, he’ll be guest spotting at Enigma in San Diego, CA starting December 22nd. You can keep track of his current projects and incredibly busy life on his Instagram @richardeffinivey or his personal website.
I ran across Pahakaksonen’s nail bed tattoo in the gallery today and it got me thinking that although we’ve talked about nail bed tattoos before I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one where the nail has fully regrown.
I would imagine that healing a missing fingernail isn’t the easiest thing in the world, so the fact that more ink didn’t fall out of this is pretty neat. I can clearly tell what it is, and I wonder if it will hold up as well (or better) than a conventional tattoo.
Click through to shed a little more light on the situation.
I really dig how well Mirka X Mythra‘s piercings are paired up! I’ve always liked projects where an untrained eye might not know where one piece of jewelry begins and another ends. Everything gets pulled off really well without seeming cluttered.
In this new Modblog piece we will be featuring artist portfolios that have been uploaded to any of the the Awesome BME Portfolio Galleries! Our small way of saying thank you to all of the talented artists who submit their work to BME.
This time we’re taking a look at Karla “Pinky” Grimes! Shes a professional piercer at Pinky’s Piercings in Champaign, IL. Click through to see some select portfolio pieces and be sure to check out her personal BME gallery!
If you are a modifcation artist of any kind and would like to be featured on Power Portfolio simply e-mail your portfolio submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
There has been a bit of controversy the last few days over a few statements from NBC reporter Curt Autry.Below are the comments in question.
This photo submitted by Lee Wagstaff strikes a chord with me. I think full length mirrors for modified folks are a double edge sword. You could either be admiring how far you’ve come on your journey, or lamenting over how far you still have to go.
You can see a more of Lee’s awesome photos and plenty of others in the BME Gallery section!
Thanks to our buddy wyrd for submitting this photo of his stomach cutting! Always nice to see the dedicated BME lifers out there!
This also reminds me why I’ve always liked the look of slightly “weathered” looking black work tattoos after reading this old post. A little texture really makes things feel organic sometimes.
Say, would YOU like to be on Modblog? E-mail your photos/stories over to email@example.com and you just might be featured next!
I figure an introduction is in order!
My name is Coyote and I’m a new author for Modblog! You might remember me from These old Modblog entries, or as the old creator of the IAM: Bodies forum. I’m also a professional piercer of three years. My ultimate goal is to be a good torch carrier and continue the amazing legacy left by previous authors. Here is a bit more on why I wanted to write for Modblog.
This logo changed my life, just as it did for many of you reading this. I am 23 years old but when I first discovered BME and Modblog as a young teen it was earth shattering. At the time I wasn’t friends with anyone in the modification community and I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania. I never really thought a place like BME existed in my wildest dreams and probably learned more about myself in three hours of reading blog entries than I did the last three years of my life. Not everything posted was exactly my cup of tea but I understood the drive behind it. I learned that body modification encompasses a lot of different things, and I tried to be the best student I could.
I believe in BMEzine and in this community and I also believe Modblog is an invaluable resource for young people in similar situations as I was once in to learn and grow. I feel that I am emotionally and spiritually obligated to contribute and give back what I have been given for so many years. One can only hope to be able to inspire the same sense of wonder and passion in someone that the previous contributors did for me.
I’m extremely excited to be a part of Modblog, and I’d like to thank everyone for having me here!
Nearly a decade ago Modblog covered Rachel’s extraocular implant.http://news.bme.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/JewelEye_-Rachel-Larratt_s-Eyeball-Implant.mp4
Recently there has been a surge in news sources covering a woman paying $3,000 to have the same procedure done in New York City. Comparatively Rachel paid about $900 USD including the flight! Six months after Rachel’s procedure there were a few cases of the media claiming that a few people in California were the first Americans to have it done. So not only is this topic not a new trend, it’s already been done in the United States, been covered, and it was already full of misinformation!Now we all know more “conventional” news sources aren’t always up to date on what’s going on with the body modification community, but waiting almost 10 years to tout something as a “new fad” is a bit excessive. Even a quick internet search would let you know this has been going on for years, and that for 3 grand you could have a hell of a vacation in the Netherlands AND have the procedure done! It seems like there should be a bit more investigation work when it comes to hyping a body modification publicly.
It has always been interesting to me as a body piercer to see certain things randomly gain popularity. Forward helix piercings have been around since the dawn of time but I can’t begin to explain how frequently I’ve been asked about them this year. It leads me to wonder what else the mainstream media may finally discover and decide is the new cool and/or a danger to your children.
How do you feel about popular news sources picking up on body modifications? These articles expose a new audience to things they have never seen, but are often times filled with misinformation and spun in a negative light. Is it our job to shout back?
Personally I’m holding my breath for when USA Today figures out what a subincision is, what a headline that will be!