Tag Archives: Cliff Raven

OVxSD: Cliff Raven

Cross Posted from Occult Vibrations:

I was pulling over some footage from a 1986 VHS tape from Sailor Sid Diller’s collection today when I found another snippet of a documentary featuring iconic tattoo artist Cliff Raven. I have no information on this documentary; I’ve found several segments of varying quality on older VHS tapes in my archives. I’ve done my best to balance out the sound and picture, but with most of these older videos it’s a bit of a challenge.

A lot of these tapes were compilations; pulling footage from 8mm film, VHS camcorders and copied documentaries shared with other tattoo artists. I’ll continue to add footage as I find it.

 

Signatures of the Past

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Jack Yount, Jon Cobb, Sailor Sid Diller & Viking Navaro

It’s always a treat to find a handwritten note on the back of a photograph that I’m scanning for archival; it adds an indescribable personal connection to the journey that it’s taken over the decades. Lately I’ve been obsessed with collating the signed/notated images and making it a priority to get the back scanned along with the front.

The images in today’s update contains a Silver Anchor business card with a note from Jack Yount, a signed photo of Jon Cobb’s transcrotal piercing, and labeled photographs from Sailor Sid Diller, Bud ‘Viking’ Navaro and Til of Cardiff.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Jim Ward!

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It’s such a rare thing in the Body Modification world to be able to legitimately claim to have been the inventor of anything; we take for granted that some things have no definable origins and that if someone says they were the first at anything, there is probably someone somewhere who did it years before them.

Except for Jim Ward.

While Jim didn’t invent body piercing, it’s impossible not to think of him as the architect of body piercing as an industry. Before Jim and his Gauntlet there was no such thing as Professional Body Piercing. It was an underground thing with some practitioners knowing more than others, working discretely out of people’s houses, T&P parties, hotel rooms and the back rooms of Leather shops.

Jim changed everything when he opened the Gauntlet’s first retail location in West Hollywood in November of 1978. He invented the concept of the Body Piercer as a profession. Through trial and error he and his staff which would go on to include such luminaries as Elayne Angel, Paul King, Keith Alexander (Gauntlet NYC) and Jon Cobb (Gauntlet NYC) contributed techniques and standards that would revolutionize the culture of body piercing. His PFIQ would be the blueprint for those of us who document our community (my use of Who’s Who is a direct homage to my favorite section in PFI) and his book RUNNING THE GAUNTLET has become an indispensable tome for people interested in the roots of our culture.

Jim is also a damn nice guy who is very kind and patient to the scores of people who’s influenced, always taking the time to help out when he can by answering our many questions and offering presentations at the APP conference in Las Vegas.

So happy birthday Jim, and thank you for all you’ve done for us.

Taking a day off to rest..

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Tuesday is generally reserved for video updates, but today is going to be a day of rest here at Sacred Debris; a day to lay down in bed watching True Detective and smothering my pre’ance Julia with birthday kisses. Everyone needs a rest now and then- just ask Viking Navaro (pictured above.)

Bud has long been one of my favorite ‘old school’ modification figures; one of the original ‘Modern Primitives’ who had a very striking aesthetic for his generation. My collection contains quite a few photos (prints and polaroids) of him to be scanned.

But that can wait for another day.

Do you remember your first Prince Albert?

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Sometimes when I’m trying to be clever, I use California Roll as a descriptor when I’m identifying something as the safe, starter choice for trying something new. Chicken Curry is the California Roll of Indian food; the 5k is the California Roll of running, and the Prince Albert is…

You get the picture. It’s the intro piercing most men get when they begin to explore the idea of genital piercing. Frenum, Dydoes, Apadravya and the oft-dreaded/oft-treasured Ampallang may follow, but for the majority of men finding themselves in the stirrups for the first time, the PA- which is quick and painless for the most part, easy to heal and easier to stretch is a great way to start.

Most piercers have long since lost count of how many Prince Alberts they’ve performed in their career- a blur of receiving tubes and miles upon miles of ready to be pierced penis-  but almost everyone remembers their first. When they have to fight not appear more nervous than the client and make sure that it all goes smoothly you can be sure that it leaves an indelible impression.

One of my favorite WHO’S WHO features in PFIQ Magazine was on a piercing/tattoo enthusiast and Gauntlet regular named Jim A. 1 who had the distinction of being Jim Ward’s first Prince Albert piercing. In his indispensable memoir ‘Running the Gauntlet’  Jim says:

At that time, I had not yet invented the piercing needle and was using large veterinary hypodermic needles. Trying to follow the beveled point of the needle with the jewelry was virtually impossible. The other challenge was the technique Doug used of piercing into the tip of a cotton swab. By some miracle I managed to do the piercing, but the procedure was extremely bloody. Despite everything, Jim was a good sport, and over the years became a regular customer as well as a close friend.

I remember reading the interview with Jim A. in one of the early issues of PFI and falling in love with his genital tattoos by tattoo legend Cliff Raven- this photo, originally published on SPCOnline in 1998, features his hardware, including the original PA Piercing by Jim Ward. Other than being a friend/client of the Gauntlet, Anderson assisted in creating the PFIQ Crosswords that ran from issue #36 (1991) through #42 (1993).

If you’d like to share the story of your first Prince Albert (getting or giving) please use the comments forum below!

Notes:

  1. Jim Anderson. Running the Gauntlet

Bud Larsen

This article originally ran on BME’s MODBLOG on 07/25/2013 after finding out about Bud’s passing. It’s been expanded slightly from the original version. My meeting with Bud was very strange, and ultimately doomed to failure with technical mishaps erasing everything I captured of him save the memories of the visit, which included meeting my online friend Jenn in person for the first time and some scandalous fun with Steve Haworth that’s a little too ribald to include here despite featuring a stuffed Grizzly Bear. Still, I was incredibly flattered that he took the time to talk to me about his involvement with the roots of modern piercing documentation.


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I wish that this story had a happy ending, and I apologize that the majority of my articles turn out to be memorials, but as a community archivist it’s part of the job.

I had just turned sixteen when I lied about my age and ordered every issue of PFIQ that Gauntlet had in stock. I had seen images from them in the seminal RE/Search Publication MODERN PRIMITIVES, but getting them all was a piercing nerd’s dream.

The majority of the first fourteen issues featured stunning illustrated covers by gay erotic artist BUD. They were iconic; primarily line art featuring subject matter ranging from pierced Leather Daddies (Bud also worked with DRUMMER magazine) and femme fatals, fantasy creature/human hybrids and more. Bud’s art was integral to the brand identity of those first dozen plus issues and even after Jim switched to photo covers Bud still occasionally lent his skills to provide spot illustrations.

I spent years trying to track him down with no success; he had lost touch with the piercing world (his only real connection being the PFIQ covers) and was seemingly unfindable. I had stopped searching when I happened upon an envelope featuring his artwork, thumbtacked to a cork board in a cubicle in my office.

I risked writing him an introduction letter, asking if he’d be willing to talk to me about the ‘old days’. Not only did he consent, but I was shocked to find that his next door neighbor was a good friend of mine. We corresponded back and forth for a while, discussing him doing a t-shirt design for SPCOnline and the possibility of meeting in person.

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PFIQuarterly #13 cover art by Bud Larsen, tattooed on Viking Navaro by Cliff Raven

Shannon Larratt noticed the story on my IAM page and asked me if I’d like to fly out to Arizona to interview Bud for BME and a few days later I was on a plane to meet him. We chatted for a little over an hour, with me recording the interview and snapping pictures of Bud and his artwork, having him sign a few PFIQs I brought with me and listening to stories about the old days; doing art Jim as well as Drummer and other erotic magazines, talking about how amazing and strange it was that a little niche subculture like body piercing would grow so large in the wake of those issues of PFI that Jim put together.

Some of his commentary was surprising; he felt that Jim’s inclusion of women and heterosexuals was a bad choice for PFI and that it should have been strictly by/for gay men. He begrudgingly acknowledged that ‘times had changed’ but I could tell he had certain prejudices that were unshakable. He didn’t mention if he himself had any piercings or if the iconic artwork I had spent years in love with was just a for hire job.  As I left he asked after Jim and Fakir, wondering if his original cover art still existed and if his old friends were well. We shook hands and I headed home with the realization that sometimes meeting your heroes is a mixed blessing.

I wish I could share the interview  with you folks, but in an epic comedy of errors my film (this was pre digital camera) was exposed and ruined by airport security and I lost the cassette with the interview somewhere in Arizona. I always planned to go back out there and re-interview him, but these things slip away and before you know it, it’s too late.

I was contacted this morning by my friend Jennifer (Bud’s neighbor) with the news that he had passed away. He leaves behind a legacy of art that captured the imaginations of the subcultures he worked in.

Rest in peace, Bud.

You can check out some of Bud’s erotic illustrations here.

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