Search Results for: eye tattoo

Nevus of Ota totally looks like eyeball tattoo

I have to admit that I’ve really been enjoying my scleral tattoos / eyeball tattoos from a purely narcissistic point of view. When I’m out in public, the small percentage of people who’ve said anything have been universally positive, with either amazed (or flirty) versions of “you have the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen”… It’s hard not to enjoy that flattery. But what’s interesting to me is that assuming I don’t just say thanks and be done with it, but instead mention that they’re tattooed, that usually surprises (and sometimes disturbs) the person. So that’s really fun too, to know that people assume it’s natural. One person has told me they thought it was some kind of strange contact lense, but I don’t think many people make that assumption with my eyes, although I suspect it’s common with people who have more solid eyes, especially all-black eyes.

Anyway, as I said most people assume my eyes are natural. And what many may not be aware of is that there’s a condition called the Nevus of Ota, which is sort of a birthmark/discoloration (although sometimes they don’t appear until puberty) that often affects skin, but can also affect the eye and is often actually limited to the eye. It can look a lot like my eye in fact. Here’s a collection of random images of that condition to compare. The top row is my eye, and the rest of people with the medical condition. Click to zoom of course.

By the way, usually there isn’t any risk or damage from this condition, although in rare cases it is linked to melanoma or glaucoma or intraoccular pressure increase — it’s really just a matter of whether it bothers the person aesthetically. There are some treatments for removing these color spots, which actually is making me reconsider my proclamation that eye tattoos are 100% irreversible. Let’s move that number to 99% perhaps. These have been treated by laser and other therapies very successfully and I suspect that some of that could be applied to voluntary scleral tattooing as well — and if you can laser these off, perhaps you can laser off a tattoo on the eye as well.

One of the ways I was able to assess some of the safety/risk factors to eyeball tattooing was by reading everything I could find on conditions like the Nevus of Ota, conjunctival tumors, and so on, because in some ways eyeball tattooing is essentially inducing aspects of these conditions, so by understanding the way the body handles one, we can make predictions about how it’s going to handle the other. If you want to gross yourself out, here’s a gallery of pictures of diseased eyes of various sorts — you can then google the terms that are relevant and open your mind.

Eyeball Tattooing Update

I went to the hospital this morning (all very good results so far) for a check up. Click the picture of my ultra-dilated eye (because of drops) to find out more.

BMEfest, ModProm, Eyeball Tattoos

First of all, big congratulations and thanks to Phil who almost single-handedly organized this year's BMEFEST! Great work, and ModProm was amazing! Thanks also to my friends Saira and Michael who stepped in absolute last minute to DJ the event. Thanks to many more as well I'm sure, and thank you to everyone who came of course.

Other than that, we did the first three tattoos on sighted eyes (that I know of) in the last hundred years or so. Click through to ModBlog if you'd like to see the gory pictures and hear a bit more about that.

Another anomalous image… Joho not Tattooine!

It was already a strange day because a few hours earlier on a stopover in — if memory serves — London Heathrow, I bumped into Lucas Zpira who was on his way back to France, but when we finally landed in Johannesburg, South Africa just as the sun was setting, I looked at the beautiful clouds on the horizon and saw that it was not one sun setting, but two. It seemed very clear to me that we had landed on Tattooine, not in Africa. You can click that picture to see the original unaltered image if you want. (Edit/Note: Just to be clear, this is from a few years ago… I’m not in Africa right now!)

I’m sure there is some fascinating yet thoroughly unromantic optical explanation.

When watching the predictable finale of Ink Master I have to be honest that in some ways I was more impressed by the customers (the “canvas” as they put it on the show)… it’s hard enough sitting for six hours, but to sit for twelve hours of tattooing spread over two days, where on the second day you’re getting the same areas that were lined the day before filled is hellish. It’s an incredible amount of abuse and pain for the average person to go through, let alone some experienced tattooed pain pig. But then it was pointed out to me that they were using spray lidocaine.

I’m getting tattooed again next Wednesday (and I’m sorry I haven’t yet posted pictures of my most recent session, but I will wait until after the next one I think), so out of curiosity I ordered a few different kinds of topical spray/wipe tattoo anesthetics. They contain a mix of benzocaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine, and seem to work by penetrating through the tattoo punctures — so in theory the tattooing hurts at first, and then quickly numbs. Like I said, I got a few different different products, so I will try them each and post my review and feelings about them. They were quite inexpensive, so if they work, it seems reasonable. Friends that I’ve mentioned it to have almost all said something like, “I don’t think I need that, I can take the pain,” but that’s not what it’s about. I mean, 95% of the people reading this blog I’m sure have long-since proven that they can “take the pain”… But is that really why you’re still getting tattooed? Maybe taking the pain was important the first few times, but at this point I don’t think I have anything to prove and to be honest, I have too much pain in my life already. And for people who have to take a day off work to get tattooed, I know that a product like this has the potential to reduce the physiological stress/shock of the tattoo process and greatly reduce the recovery process. Anyway, I will report back on this next week.

While searching for those products (and there are a zillion websites selling them), I also saw so many places selling surface bars and other items that used to be hard to get. It’s amazing how commonplace the formerly atypical has become. I suspect there is a good chance that history will forget my name when it comes to anything but BME, but I’m equally proud of my main two body modification “inventions” — surface bars (coming up with and fine tuning the design along with Tom Brazda, and then through common sense and trial and error coming up with major improvements like the flat bar) and injection-method eyeball tattooing (which was of course perfected by Howie/LunaCobra). My selfish ego hopes for credit, but so many of these procedures have had their inventor’s forgotten — Hell, I’ll bet that a huge number of people don’t even realize the incredibly long list of things Steve Haworth is responsible, starting but not ending with 3D art implants and electrocautery branding. Still, probably for the best that none of us ever considered patents! It’s probably better to be forgotten than to be remembered poorly.

Other than that, I just finished reading 528 pages — 11 issues — of the amazing Dutch (Belgian perhaps?) comic The Song of the Vampires (real title: “Zang van de vampiers“… I’m sorry, but as a German speaker, Dutch always sounds to me like German spoken in a silly voice) and am going nuts because the final issue has not yet been released (or maybe has just been released very recently since it’s showing in stock on some online shops) or translated. I am becoming a big fan of European graphic novels, especially French sci-fi (I think I’ve mentioned Leo’s Aldebaran series, which I’ve bought in English hardcopy after reading an equally unauthorized “scanlation”). To the best of my knowledge it has not yet been released in English, so there’s just the pirate version I just linked to. If it comes out in English I will gladly purchase it.

Yes, I’m ashamed to say we watch reality tattoo TV

Caitlin and I have been watching the various tattoo reality shows on TV, which currently means NY Ink (featuring Ami James formerly of Miami Ink), and Spike’s Dave Navarro hosted Ink Masters, which is sort of a “Top Chef” or “Project Runway” of the tattoo world. Ink Master actually kind of stands out as a show because it has a lot of talent (you can see the cast bios and portfolio samples here) on it competing for the $100,000 prize. Except for one unfortunate guy that goes by “B-TAT“. We are literally talking scratcher-level stuff. I have no idea how they expected him to hold his own against the other artists, many of them top of their game. For example, the first challenge was tattooing a skull (of your own design — you could do anything you wanted as long as it was skull-themed) on a pig carcass. Here is the piece of junk that he did:

I wish I was pulling your leg but I’m not. It’s embarrassing, a tattoo artist that’s completely incapable of drawing a skull. I mean, the average child can draw better than that. It’s nuts. It became clear that he was one of these people that can’t draw at all but decided to become a tattoo artist anyway, with the reasoning that the job is mostly tracing (and admittedly it can be — there are many “tattoists” that can lay down a solid piece of flash but can’t draw an original creation to save their life). The second challenge, which was also the first elimination challenge and the one that got him kicked off the show, was a little better but it was still crap. The challenge was to do a cover-up, and he did some foo dog flash (while it seemed like everyone else drew their own custom work) with no changes of his own thrown in. Here’s how that went:

It might not be totally obvious in the photo but the tattoo is completely chewed up and will probably heal poorly, to say nothing of the horribly inconsistent linework (look at the curves and curls), incompetent symmetry, horrible shading, and so on. This guy wouldn’t even be a good tattoo artist in prison.

We’re suckers for reality TV here, I’m sorry to admit, so I’m sure we will keep watching the show. But it does have potential. There are one or two duds remaining to be kicked off, but beyond that, I’d feel confident recommending almost everyone competing to friends looking for a tattoo artist. We’ll see how the “drama” aspect of the show evolves. I suspect that some of them — “Al Fliction” springs to mind — may end up being more embarrassed about their behavior than “B-TAT” was of the tattos he did.

I could also fill pages snarking about Ami James. First of all his so-called “old school” behavior toward his employees is completely reprehensible in my opinion, but given the level of tattooing he does, he’s in no position to be judging (or teaching) others. He’s capable of doing a solid, black-outline, flat traditional tattoo that would have been acceptable in the mid-nineties, but he’s way out of his league in the modern tattoo world and doesn’t seem to be improving. For example, on a recent show a woman came in wanting a custom tattoo of butterflies all over her back. Here’s what he did to her:

I truly hate slagging someone’s tattoos, especially when they have a “deep” emotional meaning or purpose for the wearer, and I’m not going to say it’s an outright crap tattoo, but I will say that it’s a lazy, uninspired, sloppy, poorly thought out, badly laid-out tattoo that is way below the calibre of what people should expect these days. Like I said, this is a tattoo that you’d get from a street-level shop in 1995. Caitlin sums Ami up in one word — “mediocre”. However, he starts ever episode saying that his vision is to have his shop and his artist roster be not just the best in the city, but the best in the world. Tattoos like this are not going to get it to such a level. In fact, they’ll keep it from ever getting there. I feel aweful saying that, I hate being mean to people. But Ami doesn’t seem to have any trouble dishing out criticism on his apprentice, so maybe I am only the truthful voice of karma.

Other than that I had a disquieting day. I was sleeping in the front room of our studio rather than upstairs in the bedroom loft because the stairs are unneccessarily unpleasant. Normally I am an early riser but somehow today I slept until 10:30 and I would have slept longer had Caitlin not woken me up because she was leaving for work. Since then I’ve had a pounding headache, which on one hand is rare for me, but on the other hand I have been having them more often lately, feels like all the time. I can actually barely type and keep misspelling words, more like shuffling the letters into a randomized order, and keep pressing the spacebar in the middle of words. It helps a bit when I close my eyes to type oddly. Maybe I’m imagining that, but I am definitely not imagining how much my head hurts. And I’m sweating like crazy, gross, I know. Still feel dizzy, mentally tired, disoriented, confused, and… well… you know, here’s how I don’t feel: I don’t feel like complaining. So enough of that. Hope I make it through another night, because I still have a lot to do.

I also made a gigantic 16,200×8,400 pixel collage of my paintings and uploaded it to the custom fabric printing site Spoonflower and ordered a couple of yards. I think we’re going to make big floor pillows out of it or something. Not sure. But it’s inexpensive enough to justify the experiment. If it turns out nicely I may do some more with it. I’m also slowly chugging away on some software that converts my WordPress blog (or anyone’s I suppose) into big journals suitable for on-demand printing. I’m looking forward to turning my blog into a book. I was actually thinking that someone should write a Facebook app that at the end of the year takes all the photos you uploaded that year, arranges them into a scrapbook with people’s comments and all that, uploads it to an on-demand print company, and sends you this awesome yearbook. I’m sure there are millions of people who’d absolutely love to have that sort of 21st century photo album. Maybe this already exists. If it doesn’t, maybe I should write it… Unfortunately I have more good ideas than time.