Extreme Body Art In U.K.
Tattoo art dates back as far as the 18th century according to most entomologists. In today’s world however, it is not the socio-cultural requirement that it perhaps once was. It has now become a form of self-expression and art amongst adults and youngsters alike. Many people believe that tattoos give them a chance to express what they generally would not be able to express.
The United Kingdom like many other countries is not alien to this phenomenon. Where one might consider a few tattoos here and there rather acceptable, it is observed that some people take this art form to an entire new level; something that may seem rather extreme to others. This sort of body modification is considered a brilliant art form by a considerable amount of people. Individuals have set up museums and galleries, specifically for shows involving extreme body modification and tattoos, which are frequented by tattoo artist and aficionados alike. Among the people who believe in this ‘extreme’ art form are the very famous Dermablend tattoo man Rick Genest, a.k.a Zombie Boy, Torz, Keith Gordon and Body Art.
Individuals such as Matt Whelan, who changed his name legally to Body Art after finding out that he better identified as an artist of that name, struggle to be accepted in society. Body Art has spent more than £20,000 on his tattoos and an estimated 300 hours minimum under a needle. His dedication to this art form has led him to the point where he now has 80% of his body covered with tattoos, including his penis. At 35 not only is he the world famous ‘Body Art’, he is also Britain’s most tattooed man. He has also gone so far as to remove his nipples to provide a smooth surface on his chest for a tattoo artist to work on. He keeps his nipples frozen in a jar at home.
Torz Reynolds is another example of an individual who uses body modification and tattoos as a means of self-expression. At 28, she has had her earlobes surgically removed, and keeps them pickled in a jar. She is also a very proud owner and display of a lot of tattoos as well. Her idea of art is the control and artistic freedom she has to do with her body whatever she wishes. She too faces the societal alienation, and feels that it reflects onto her personal life as well. This is primarily because she cannot seem to have successful relationships, which can be attributed to romantic partners not being able to accept her extreme body modification.
Keith Gordon on the other hand, though another extreme tattoo aficionado, lives a relatively normal life. He lives with his wife, who hates tattoos, and their four children. Though his family does not approve of or like his appearance, even going so far as to call him ‘freakish’, they have learnt to accept him. People around him have, however, learnt to grow used to him and his appearance.
This is in essence an art form and hopefully will grow to be accepted by more people soon.