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.
I’ve almost completed archiving the 1978 Sailor Sid London album; some of the highlights have been posted here on Sacred with others in queue for future updates- but this one caught my eye so I bumped it to the head of the line. Sid (left), unknown (middle) and Alan Oversby (right) standing under a sign reading ‘where the action is’ connected via nipple and genital piercings.
Take note of the pubic wing tattoos on Alan and client- In ancient Roman culture the fascinus (winged phallus) was an avatar of the divine penis. it was no wonder that the early T&P Community, which was primarily (but not exclusively) made up of gay males, adopted the symbol as a popular tattoo design. Visually it exoticized the pubic area, and when designed correctly made the wearers penis to appear longer. Typically it was brightly colored bird wings, but as the wings got more popular variations such as bat and dragon wings would occasionally show up. Alan was a driving force in the upswing in Fascinus tattoos.
Things have been fairly quiet on the front end of Sacred Debris lately, but behind the scenes archival and preservation have been clicking along quietly with the final few piercings in the Safe Guide series digitized and edited. I was really happy with the quality of the footage on that tape and my attempts at color and contrast correction to remove the yellowing have been promising; I’ve kept two versions of every piercing procedure from the VHS Cassette- original and altered- so I’m free to move on to the next archival project, which will either be a castration procedure labeled ‘Jim loses his manhood’ or footage from the 1991 Paris Tattoo Convention. The former may end up in the Sandbox, and the latter on Occult Vibrations. Depends on how usable the footage ends up being.
As a palate cleanser between video updates, the above is a photo of the incredible Hans of Denmark, who made frequent appearances in the 1980s body modification periodical circuit with his enlarged piercings and full body tattooing. This photo dates back to 1978 and was taken by Sailor Sid Diller on his first London visit and features Hans’s pubic tattoo outline by Alan ‘Mr. Sebastian’ Oversby.
In the 70s I became interested in tattooing and piercing. I began by having a small design placed on a discrete part of my body by Svend, a tattooist working in Nyhavn. It was then difficult to get your ear pierced so I decided to do it myself. Actually I’d been experimenting with needles when I was young and discovered that I liked the sensation of inserting pins and so on into my skin. However I couldn’t discuss this with anyone as they’d simply think that I was a crazy kid so went to the libraries and read as much as I could on African scarification rites and anthropological studies on body deformation….Later I went over to London and met a tattooist, Dennis Cockle, who tattooed my torso with large colorful designs and another man, Mr. Sebastian, pierced my penis. Now this was something else altogether, when the anesthetic wore off I could hardly walk. 1
Hans went on to be almost fully tattooed from neck to toes and was famous for his enlarged piercings which included an 1″+ apadravya piercing. I have photos in my scanning queue of his finished pubic tattoo, those will be included in future updates.
Body Art # 7, Interview with Chris Wroblewski. 1989 Publications Ltd. ↩