On the 28th July 2011 I wrote about Jacqui Moore from Oxford, following a big article about her in the Daily Mail. Since then she has had even more ink, completing her legs and I think adding some to her face. Her partner, Curly is a well known tattoo artist in Oxford. Here is a rather striking photo of them somewhat in the style of Norman Rockwell, the famous American artist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Rockwell. Truly a 21st century image of a couple. The photos are by Mark Leaver, http://www.mdleaver.com/ except the image of Jacqui being tattooed on her face, which belongs to an earlier period..
Ever since I wrote about Jacqui my curiosity has been unsated. Finally after visiting Curly's tattoo website http://www.tattoocurly.com/home.htm a few days ago I saw some new photos of Jacqui, where the work on her legs is now complete. I decided to phone them.
Curly was the first I got hold of. Firstly I had to ask for confirmation that my reaction to the Daily Mail story that she covered 85% of her body as a revenge on her ex-husband was a nonsense. This was quickly confirmed. The enormous publicity given to this storyline was upsetting to Jacqui and her children. It seems Jacqui had commented that she went to Curly's studio after the break up of her marriage and may have said she got some work to celebrate her freedom. But nothing more. No one gets a body suit out of revenge. It takes a serious long term commitment. It's something you do for yourself. Curly said that Jacqui possibly now had all the ink she would ever have. She didn't want to shave her hair off permanently so there was no point in tattooing her scalp if the work would never be seen.
Later the same day I got hold of Jacqui after she had finished work. She is employed at an upmarket florist in Oxford. She says having visible tattoos has proved little of a problem to her. In the early days was hard to deal with some people making loud comments about her tattoos in public. But now she's used to it and it doesn't bother her. When she meets people their first reaction may be surprise but that very quickly disappears and they accept her for who she is as a whole person.
There was a never a moment when she said to herself that she wanted a full tattoo bodysuit. Once she started being tattooed by Curly one tattoo just led to another. She had already got some tattoos during her first marriage. She had long wanted tattoos. It was not Curly's idea. Being with Curly enabled her to become extensively tattooed and on and on they went. Jacqui came up with ideas and Curly completed and then inked the results. Curly thinks his work on her legs is the best he had given her and with hindsight wished they had done that style all over. Curly says everyone who has a lot of ink would have done things differently had they had the experience they later gather, when fully covered.
Is that it then? Curly said yes, but Jacqui said no. She wants some over-tattooing on her arms and is toying with the idea of tattooing her chin. They have even tried some ideas out. But then she backs off the idea. She is not yet sure because it's a big step.
I asked if she is someone who is sure about who she is and mostly untroubled by what others think she should do and she said she thought that was true. Both Curly and Jacqui are articulate, calm and quietly assertive. I loved talking to them and hope to meet them both when they come to the Bristol tattoo convention in June. http://www.bristoltattooconvention.com/home.html
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My mind is focussed on just one kind of extreme body modification - heavy tattooing. My body appearance has changed drastically in the past five years. But what are other people's body modifications of choice? One is a practice known as "tight lacing", in which the users of corsets embark on reducing their waist sizes to as small at 17 or 18 inches, if they can. It's not something that grabs me but Lacie here ( www.staylace.com ) has dedicated herself to the practice. There are others like her who take it very seriously. It's a fetish and not necessarily permanent. If you give up regularly wearing this special kind of corset then you will eventually revert to normal. I have no plans to embark on this myself, but before I pass any judgement must reflect that what I am doing to myself is even more extreme. The images here are truly eye catching. I have never knowingly met anyone who is into tight lacing yet there is a big community out there who do it.
The work in my groin and pubic area has been completed. Years ago Louis Molloy did the central figure in this picture but avoided going all the way. Now Ben has tattooed a circle of clouds all around the image that goes as far as it can without inking my genitalia. This completes the work on my torso. Added to that Ben has worked some hair detail on a much older art nouveau image originally tattooed in the nineties. Months ago Ben covered the black hair with brown. Today he gave the hair some texture. To mark the end of this phase Ben took some pictures of my whole body.
I went to the Newport, South Wales convention yesterday. Before getting there, I spent two and half hours with a face painter who gave me fake face and neck tattoos. It was painstaking but very pleasant and enjoyable. Sam Fisher, the face painter from Longwell in Bristol, did a wonderful job and the reaction I got at Newport was quite electric. All tattooists spotted the fakery immediately and most heavily tattooed people didn't take long either. But many were unsure. One way or another I caught the eye and it led to many conversations with those attending the convention. It was an opportunity to talk about face tattoos and how far people were willing to go. I was struck that a significant proportion of those there with some face tattoos were women. I'm not sure, but maybe more than half. One young woman I photographed, but unfortunately can't name check, has at her tender age advanced very far on neck and face. She said she may well take it furt