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I’ve been so overwhelmed lately with print projects that I’ve been neglecting the blog; while procrastinating on the latest issue of Nodal Points I was digging through prints and came across this great snapshot from the 1980s. No info on The Who/where/when, but it was too good not to share!
In the 1980s, Master Piercer Jack Yount was working informally at DC area leather bars on a clientele that was mostly made up of gay men, but was quite willing to work on anyone that wanted pierced. I remember him telling me once that he had let some of his employees at A.S.P. know about his double life as a body piercer and that one of his secretaries had come in to have her nipple pierced. I have no way of knowing who the female client in this photograph is, but there’s a part of me that wants to think it’s her.
This photo dates back to the mid 1980s.
Happy New Years from Sacred Debris!
Today marks the start of our 4th year as a blog. I hope that you folks enjoy what we’re doing here. The site is still in a state of semi-hiatus but I’ve got a few new posts in the works so check back (or better yet- subscribe!) soon. As always: likes, shares, comments and tips are appreciated.
This photo dates back to the late 1970s and features a very dashing tattooed/pierced gentleman. No artist/model credit was included with the 35mm print.
I’ve been collating pictures of the Disney tattoos my friend and mentor Jack Yount had tattooed on him for a future post; like myself Jack was a huge fan of the ‘house of the mouse’ and chose to have a full leg tattoo of classic Disney characters by Ancient Art’s (Orlando) Bud Pierson, who was also responsible for the stomach and right leg aquatic tattoos.
For some reason this photo, which for for the most part doesn’t feature any Disneyana (save for a peek of Pinnochio, Goofy and a little of Ariel’s hair) caught my eye so it’s presented here, solo, while I finish compiling the rest of the photos and put them in the to-be-scanned queue.
Jack’s penis, by this point, was heavily injected with silicone from famed Modification Doctor Ronald Brown.
When I’m going through stacks of unsorted prints looking for potential updates for the SD blog it’s easy to gravitate towards photos featuring heavily modified personalities from our community’s past; Viking Navaro’s atavistic aesthetic, a fully naked and smiling Sailor Sid Diller or Jack Yount showing off his Disney tattoos and subincised penis- it’s the kind of thing that tends to get the most notice and reblogs, which expose more viewers to the site where they get suckered into reading blurbs about decade old t-shirts and my often espoused theory that pants don’t necessarily have a place in a piercing room.
But for most piercers and tattooers those heavily modified clients are the exception and not the rule. The majority are casually modified, a few tattoos or piercings because they like the way it looks or how it makes them feel. They’re the clients who keep the doors open between (oftentimes needlessly) complicated ‘projects’ and conceptual nonsense that exists for a Instagram post and not much else.
In an1996/7 interview with now retired piercer Jon Cobb he relates the story of a woman who chose a single piercing over the expectations of falling in line with the status quo, proving that it’s not what you have, it’s why you have it:
“Our rites of passage are getting drunk, going to college, getting laid… But this is a moment where you really do have to earn it. This is going to hurt. Why am I doing this? And I get to maybe help you see that you aren’t what you do, and maybe it is alright that you want something for yourself, and maybe it would be OK to tell work to stick it this time, and if it doesn’t work out I’ll find a job where I can be me. So many people are starting to touch on that because we’ve set our world up to fail and I’ve got a chance to let them know what else can be. I’ve had a woman trade in a $50,000 job over her labret. It was symbolic of the bigger picture — as soon as she did it, she cried, and realized that she only needed $50,000 a year because $40,000 of it was paying for her huge house and her Jaguar that all she did was look at and cruise around in… and now she may be walking down the beach and eating oranges that cost a couple bucks a day. You want to tell me who’s having the better time? She’s living as a human, as part of the Earth, and not as an alien on it.”
This piercing/photograph came from Sailor Sid Diller’s Silver Anchor Studio, exact year unknown. (possibly early 1980s)
In the 1980s, the concept of a professional body piercer was a bit of a rarity. The Gauntlet had introduced the idea in the late 70s, but outside of a very small handful of lucky folks who had worked for Jim Ward, making a living solely on piercing/body jewelry was a true rarity.
When Jack Yount made the decision to start piercing more formally- as a resident at D.C. Leather shops as opposed to at T&P parties on the east coast- he was still working as an executive at a major plumbing supply company and protecting his identity was a concern. Taking his initials- J.A.Y. he christened himself “Mr. Jay” (sometimes shortened to Mr. J) and was able to live discretely in both worlds until his retirement from corporate life.
This photograph- which is uncredited- was taken in the early 1990s and features Jack’s signature septum tusk (two piece threaded) from Ed Fenster’s Silver Anchor Body Jewelry.
Model: Rudy I.
Year: Early 1980s.
Tattoo Artist: Various (including Alan Mr. Sebastian Oversby)
I first met Rudy in the early/mid 1990s through the UNIQUE classified ads. A self described ‘tattoo and piercing enthusiast’, Rudy and I exchanged letters and photographs over the years, sharing stories of our own modifications and experiences. Our correspondence eventually fell off and, as is prone to happen, we lost touch with one another. I’m not sure what ever happened to him, though many of his letters are still in my collection.
Rudy is briefly mentioned in an article by Gauntlet’s Jim Ward: http://runningthegauntlet-book.com/BME/jimward/20050715.html
In 1996 Rudy sent me a photocopy of a profile on him from the NTA’s 1 magazine- what follows is a transcript. He did not provide a month/year/issue number.
My interest in tattoos became activated as a youngster in 1954 when I read a critique about Hanns Ebenstein’s book “Pierced Hearts and True Love” in a local newspaper in my native Switzerland. I wrote to Hanns, who in return put me in contact with one of the most famous British artists, Rich Mingins in London. 1955 I was sent to London for further education and then met Rich in person. The same year, probably the first national convention to place in a pub in London, organized by Rich Mingins, , Les Skuse from Bristol and Jessie Knight from Aldershot. This was also the start of my photo collection.
In 1957 I emigrated to the United States and got really involved in tattooing. My first tattoos were done by sailor Eddie Evans in Camden, New Jersey and Paul Rogers who then work with him. Work by Phil Sparrow (Chicago), (then Crazy) Philadelphia Eddie Funk, Huck Spaulding (Albany, N.Y.) and Buddy Mott (Rhode Island) followed.
I then realized that very many people are interested in tattooing, but had difficulties meeting others of the same interest. Therefore, in 1963 some friends and I in New York decided to do something about it. We found it the “Tattoo Club of America “, probably the first American Tattoo club. I collected news items related tattooing and in January 1964 published the first periodical dedicated tattoos, the “Tattoo News”. As a supplement the “History of Tattooing” was added from time to time. Tattoo tidbits and instructive news items, very much in the vein of the column now written by Lal Hardy for “Tattoo international”, where the main attraction of the publication.
On 5 October, 1964 I organized probably the first tattoo convention in the U.S.A. – and if you hadn’t already guessed it, Elizabeth Weinziril was, of course, there. That was the time when a few young artist such a sailor Jerry Collins of Honolulu started to change the style of American tattoos. The beginnings were small and the magazine only mimeographed, but it was a start. Unfortunately my job became more and more demanding so that the December 1966 issue of “Tattoo News” was the last to appear. I had nothing to do with the later magazine which took over my title.
In 1970 the cutback in the defense industry in the USA for which I worked as a physicist, forced me to look around and I went to Munich, Germany to work for a German firm. In 1973 this firm sent me to England, where George Bone and Alan Oversbyin London have mainly worked on me since. I have not missed a single convention of the TCCB be since its beginning and felt very honored when I was asked on several occasions to be on the jury of the beauty contests.
It is good to see that the Tattoo tradition continues, many more people get tattooed with better designs, more clubs are founded , more publications printed and more conventions held. It shall continue.
I was putting a bunch of material together for an academic research request on ‘women in early western body modification’ this week which included this scan from PFIQ#31 (1988) featuring side art by the late Bud Larsen.
The demographics in the 70s/80s skewed towards males (primarily gay males) but going back through the old PFIQs while gathering up information, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of female representation included. Issue 31 was almost 50/50 with female and male piercing content including a wonderful photoshoot featuring Krystine Kolorful by legendary photographer Diane Mansfield.
As I told the researcher (who I’ll ask to share her final project with SD readers) the early days were much more dialed into sexuality than aesthetics, so most of the representation was (pleasantly celebrating) sex positive which made the older issues a lot more fun than the later ones in my opinion.