From Stonehenge to Subtracting

stonehendgeNo doubt influenced by the popularity of RE/Search Publications classic Modern Primitives, the publishing group responsible for the Outlaw Biker family of magazines released IN THE FLESH in the early 1990s, covering body modifications that fell outside of the spectrum of ‘just tattoos and piercings’. Unable to show the kind of explicit content allowable in independent publishing, In the Flesh was at best PG-13 rated so when they first exposed the world to ‘Stonehenge’- they relied on tracings and text to share the story of one of the most interesting characters I’ve met in my years in the Body Modification Community.

Stonehenge (who’s photos would make their debut on my spcOnline site under the name ToeCutter, and later Subtracting) used amputation as eccentric body sculpting; cutting his fingers and toes off at alternating joints to reshape his hands/feet as well as self tooth removal to make his smile ‘look like a jack o’ lantern’.

Most of these procedures were done without the aid of anesthetic; in the documentary with him shot/edited by Shannon Larratt of BME he walks the viewer through his technique which includes a tourniquet, ice water soaks,  a chisel and eating liberal amounts of yogurt before the procedure. He didn’t use suturing after a ‘subtraction’ instead favoring using prescription pill bottles to protect the wounds.

In this photograph, taken in the early 2000s at the NYC Tattoo Convention at the Roseland Ballroom, Stonehenge/Toecutter/Subtracting was showing me the small piece of bone sticking out of the end of his most recent amputation, which he planned to remove with ‘dental tools’ he purchased at a flea market.

In the Flesh magazine went through two different launches but never had the longevity of it’s (significantly inferior) main competition Tattoo Savage 1 My copies are missing.

I’ve been unable to reach Toe for several years and all attempts to locate him have been unsuccessful.

 

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Notes:

  1. Published under the Easy Riders imprint through Paisano Publications; still in print.

Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community in existence. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.

3 comments

  1. I would KILL for those In The Flesh magazines. They are literally what lead me to become a piercer.

    I take it you still have the VHS tape with toecutter explaining his tattoos and whatnot? That is something that would be worthy of a pay per view upload.

    1. Sean; I can’t find them anywhere. I know I have them all in 3″ binders, but I think they made it to my folks place in Hammonton. I need to get out there and look.

      And yeah. It’s digitized and on my backup drive. It’s better than you remember!

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