BME updated + interview archived


First let me say “thank you” to everyone who has written me such kind and open letters sharing their own experiences in regards to the entry below this one. Amazing how many people feel the same…

Anyway, I've just posted an image update with a bit over a thousand new pictures. Updates are in the following sections: ritual and culture, scarification, flesh stapling, surface and unusual piercing, nipple piercing, and navel piercing. Enjoy the update, and thank you to all the contributors, and of course to Louis Fleischauer for the cover shot of another amazing A-M-F performance.

Other than that, I just did a little interview about “corporate logo tattoos” this morning for a newspaper published out of Humber College in Toronto. So if you go there and it gets printed, let me know. I'm archiving the unedited transcript of that interview here.

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1. Tattoos became a mainstream “trend” in the late 90s/early 00s. Would you say that there is a connection between this and the rise of corporate logo tattoos?

Obviously if tattoos were still so fringe that they had negative connotations corporations would want nothing to do with them. Corporations are interested in tattoos because they have mainstream — but still slightly “cool” — appeal. It's the same as punk rock — dangerous and anti-establishment in 1979, but a great way to sell toys to nine year-olds in 1999.

2. It seems odd that tattoos have long been associated with deviance and rebelliousness (and i'm not really talking about those girls with the butterfly tats on their ankles). But adding logos into the mix brings in the elements of mass consumerism, an ultimate in conformity. What was your reaction when this first started happening?

It doesn't bother me one bit, but it started happening before I was born. It's not a new thing or a “trend”, you just see it more these days because tattooed people are more visible and numerous in general.

3. Based on what you've come to understand, why do people get corporate tattoos?

When people get tattoos of specific items, icons, or logos (rather than, say, a tribal sleeve, or a traditional backpiece, or whatever), they are selecting something that has meaning to them and are permanently marking themselves with it. As more of our culture has a corporate origin, more of the things that are important to people will be linked to corporations. So it's not surprising (or unhealthy) that people are getting tattoos with that iconography.

4. Our society is becoming increasingly consumer-driven. Do you think this tattoo trend is a reflection on that?

Yes. (see #3)

5. Do you have an ideal on what someone's tattoo should represent?

Not really, but I have an ideal on what my own tattoos should represent, which is all that matters. My only advice to people is go to a good artist and really think about what they want — don't just get a piece of flash or copy someone else's tattoo, because it probably won't be rewarding in the long run.

6. From a corporation's point of view, do you think this is an effective form of advertising? To add on to that question, who would win in that situation – someone who got paid to have a logo tattoo, or the company?

I should point out that virtually no one is paid to have a logo tattoo; most people do so because the logo represents something that is genuinely important to their life. I'm not sure if it's an effective form of advertising in terms of moving product, but it certainly can't hurt. In terms of paid logo tattoos, I don't think anyone “wins”… Other than the first few, which are successful because they're “curiosities” and media magnets, I don't see them moving product. In terms of the long game, I'm not sure that being paid to get a tattoo you don't really want is a good idea for the wearer or the corporation. I suppose it's a little like prostitution — sure, both the john and the service provider are getting something out of it, but in most cases is it improving their lives in the long run?

7. Is there a difference between pepole who sell their bodies to make money on something like this and someone who just really likes Nike and gets a “swoosh” tattooed on them? (or whatever other logo)

That's like asking if there's a difference between screwing a frat boy at a party because you're hot for jock cock, or screwing a frat boy because he paid you $200. There's a world of difference between the two. I'm not going to moralize and suggest which is better and which is worse, but they're obviously entirely different things.

8. You did an article on tattoos featuring people who really love Macs. Where is the line drawn between a passion and free advertising?

I don't see why a line has to be drawn between the two. It's both. Part of Apple's strategy has been the “cult of Mac”, and these tattoos help this image. At the same time, people enjoy it, have fun being part of it, and believe in what they're doing — it's a win-win scenario.

9. Do you think corporate logo tattoo have, or will change, the status of body modification culture?

It won't make a bit of difference one way or the other. It's largely irrelevant.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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