Dale, 1977. Tattoos by Cliff Raven. Photo by Robin Ryan.
Dale’s nipple piercings were done by Buddy Mcfall at Chicago Tattoo Company when it was at 900 Belmont. Buddy performed the piercing with a pair of needle-nose pliers with needle and thread, and Dale had to move the thread back and forth through the piercings during healing. Piercing wasn’t always welcome at early tattoo conventions, so walking around displaying pierced nipples must have caused a few raised eyebrows.
I first met Eizo Mamiya in Amsterdam (where this photo was taken) in 1995. We’d meet again in Toronto at the first MODCON event a few years later in 1999. He was a frequent travel partner of Japanese modification documentarian Ryoichi Maeda.
Eizo began piercing himself in the late 1980s, and is recognized as one of Japan’s earliest piercing professionals.
“I want to be a piercer! How do I get an apprenticeship? Where do I learn to pierce?”
This desire has been expressed by thousands of people over the recent past. What was once something barely thought ofas a viable career blossomed into a huge, multifaceted industry in the last few decades. As if out of nowhere, piercing became a legitimate job one could make a comfortable living at. But the path to get there has been as ever-changing as the industry itself. You don’t go to school to become a piercer, there’s no classes or degree you can hold in body piercing. Traditionally, like many other crafts, piercing has been trained by masters, to apprentices. Someone already skilled at the craft takes a beginner under their wing and shows them the craft one on one. But how did we get there? Where did the first piercers come from? How did the apprenticeship evolve to what it is today?
Kristian – Well I grew up in Tahoe. I’m not really a city person. I spent years in San Francisco and then San Diego but I get severe depression if I’m living in a city – I just can’t deal. I’m fine living rural – I do much better. I’ve always wanted a piece of land. I traveled all over the world, seen a lot of stuff, and always wanted a mini-farm. To be self-sufficient and raise my own food. I’m a plant freak; it takes me an hour just to water everything in the summer. I’ve specifically always wanted Soay sheep. They’re a primitive breed from the neolithic time. Continue reading →
As a thank you for supporting Sacred Debris, we’re doing streaming Social Distance Socials/documentary screenings tentatively scheduled every Thursday (subject to change) for our Supporter, Patron, and Sponsor members.
The next screening will feature Flash Video’s Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing Vol1. followed by a group discussion, starting at 8 pm E.S.T. on Thursday, April 09th. Links to the stream will be posted in the Facebook Sandbox group; if you’re an active supporter and are not in the Sandbox, email me at email@example.com and we’ll get you set up.
I hope you’re all staying safe and sane during these unprecedented times.
“A regular contributor to the magazine was a local gay artist who went by the name of Bud. His work occupied thirteen of the first fourteen covers and after we went to color appeared regularly inside. I had seen his work in the gay S/M magazine Drummer. How we actually met and connected, I’ve forgotten. I do remember that he did some tattoo designs for some clients of Cliff Raven, a T&P group regular. Bud’s imaginative pen and ink drawings show the strong influence of both comic and early fantasy and sci-fi art.”
I hope everyone is staying as safe as possible with the worldwide covid19 outbreak; I know a lot of us are currently waiting it out and social distancing in the safety of our own homes, but to the folks on the front lines – medical personnel, first responders, food service, grocers, and online retailers – you have our most sincere gratitude.
I’ve been trying to be productive during the SI phase of the pandemic, working on articles for the upcoming Nodal Points IV, working on a presentation that may be released online called THE DOCUMENTED BODY- Documenting piercing documentation, and trying to maintain balance when everything’s topsy turvy, so I’ll try to update Sacred a little more frequently during the next few weeks.
This photo brings us back to a happier time, late 1970s, in the London, England shop of Alan ‘Mr. Sebastian’ Oversby, and features Sailor Sid Diller and Banana.
In the late 1970s, illustrator Bud Larsen contributed distinctive line-art illustrations to magazines that would go on to become synonymous with the subcultures they documented; forty-plus years later PFIQ and Drummer have become the defacto reference points for folks researching the history of body piercing and gay leather culture respectively. Bud provided cover art for both of their inaugural issues, with interior illustrations that in my mind are as intrinsic to their visual identity as Al Hirschfeld’s similar but decidedly less erotic drawings were to the New Yorker.
While most of Bud’s Drummer work was in their DRUM BEATS section, he also contributed several representatives to their Zodiac series -an S&M sign of the zodiacal times – like this Cancer 1 illo from the seventh issue. (1976)
In the late 1950’s-early 1960s, Alan Oversby, known in the tattoo and piercing community as Mister Sebastian, got tattooed by George Burchette with what he believed was the first set of pubic wings. He came up with the idea by sketching shapes that fit nicely into the triangular shapes he was drawing and found that wings were not only aesthetically pleasing but that they also visually elongated the penis.
This photo, taken in the late 1970s, features a client with tattoos and piercings – paired pubic and reverse Prince Albert- by Sebastian.
Back in December of 2015, we posted a few photos from this series- Sailor Sid Diller tattooing a flame on the perineum of Jack Yount 1 – but this one somehow slipped through the cracks. 2
This would have been taken in the mid to late 1980s, performed at Sid’s Silver Anchor location. Jack would go on to have a urethral reroute opening in the center of the flame- “a waterhole to put out the fire” as he put it in Charle’s Gatewood’s Erotic Tattooing & Body Piercing Vol5.