At last my left arm sleeve approaches completion. I started it in January 2017 and it feels like an age. When I began, in prospect, I thought I was just getting a half sleeve but the reality is that it was two thirds that needed doing. Then Jo Harrison had a baby in between - how inconvenient of her!
It's funny how you can lots of work done in an area and the visible impact can seem quite small, but suddenly in one session a huge change emerges and this is what happened this week.
Now I am confident if not certain that my session in May will see the finishing touches put to it.
While chatting to Jo we also began to plan getting my lower right leg started. This I will do in June at the Bristol Tattoo Convention. For half a day she will draw freehand a design of her choosing and then tattoo all of that in the second half of the day. Although that will still still leave an enormous amount to be competed and will take at least a year, come June 9th my right leg will look fully covered, just as my arm did in January 2017. I am very excited indeed at the prospect of all this, but also now at my age becoming increasingly inpatient to complete my body suit. Well in principle complete it. There will still be my armpits and taking the designs further closer to my neck. And then? Who knows if I will tackle my neck hands and feet. My feet definitely, the others probably not. But I am running ahead of myself.
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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