I’ve posted a few of Viking Navaro’s polaroid pictures on the SD Tumblr, quick cellphone snapshots taken while I’m assigning catalog numbers and putting them in the scan queue but since I’ve been on a septum tusk kick lately, 019 skipped to the head of the line and got a full resolution scan. This is the original scan with no correction or restoration. Very few scuffs/scratches for a 35 year old print.
A small envelope of photographs I have from the Sailor Sid Diller collection suffered water damage back in the 1980s- I never heard the full story- and I usually try to crop out the damage before including them on the site. But sometimes I think it adds a well traveled bit of character to present them as scanned.
This photograph features Sid at a ‘T&P Party’ circa approximately 1983. Out of context it’s hard to tell if the gentleman laying down is about to get pierced or if it was just a bit of play, but luckily there were cameras present to document it all.
I love seeing Sid with his septum tusk flipped up like this.
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.
To: ****@***.com (shawn porter)
From: ***********@*****.com (RK)
Subject: thumb and big toe amputation. October 1997
Recently I heard of a fellow who decided to amputate his big toe. There have always been warnings. There is an artery there. You could end up in the emergency room of the hospital. It will affect your balance. You will join the school of funny walks from the Monty Python Flying Circus. Don’t do it!!! BE CAREFUL!!!!
Curiosity killed the cat and Satisfaction brought him/her back. Well, when one experiments with amputating a big toe or thumb, there is little room for experimentation OR if you are alone you could get in big trouble! I heard that fellow one did not end up in the ER and fellow two did. Fellow three ended up in the ER without even amputating a thumb or big toe. He only did a regular finger.
What is the problem. Foolhardy me- I decided to go the route and do my own experiment. My only minor goof was that I did not have the number of a car service in case I got into trouble. WHAT IS THE TROUBLE??? Excessive arterial blood that is probably the major problem. I was a boy scout and their motto is be prepared so that is what I did- I got prepared, at least that is what I was TRYING to do.
How can one cut off a portion of big toe and not bleed to death?? Here is a list of my preparations and what I was going to do:
The farther out on the thumb or big toe one amputates, the smaller the arteries get so I decided to only amputate to the first joint. The further back you go the bigger the artery. By allowing for that short stump I was allowing room for my next secret weapon of caution and preparedness. In case there really would be excessive bleeding I decided to have light rubber tourniquettes. I placed a wide rubber band on my thigh, two narror rubber bands (postal size) on the intep arch, and a wide rubber band on my two middle two stumps and the big toe back of the first joint.
I got all my bandages, and tools ready, and ate my yogurt 30 minutes before operation. I took my two pain killing pills 30 minutes before operation. I got a bucket of Ice Water ready, because I numb the big toe. Of course I scrubbed and used alcohol on me and my tools.
The moment of decision came, and I started to numb the big toe. It took longer than the smaller toes. Finally, I positioned my 25mm chisel, and hammer and discovered that I could have used a wider chisel, which I didn’t have. Thunk, thunk, thunk, it took a couple more but I did go through with it, but it did take gathering up some courage, after all, I have never dealt with an artery. Would all my preparations work??
At a certain point of going through with the chisel was a spray of blood a little like a little water pistol. Immediately after going through and lifting my foot and noticing that my big toe was now seperated, I started pressure with 75mmx75mm bandages. If I would have not used the rubber tourniquettes, I might have excessive bleeding, but I didn’t. The blood was about the same as my other toes. Eventually I rested, although I did not sleep well. There was more shock than other toes.
The next morning I went to work and while at work, after 12 hours since the amputation, I noticed that after all my bandage changing, the bleeding had stopped. I hardly limped when I came home from work. It will probably take 4 weeks to stop completely limping and 8 weeks to heal over the scab. It may take even longer due to the larger size of the big toe. Would I do the other big toe?? I probably would because I know that the bleeding can be controlled. I had been walking up to one mile, (1-1/2 km) not using the ball of the big toe and I don’t think I will be limping, but my gait will lose it’s spring.
In order to control the bleeding, I stopped taking aspirin and other anti-inflamatory medicines which thin the blood. I eat a lot of beets, tomatoes, and drink grape juice to aid the blood, so I did quickly coagulate.
If any of you have further questions, feel free to email me and I will answer any questions you have. Right now I just have three stumps on my left foot and the big toe and 3 stumps on the right foot.
Yours in more and better stumps,
This article ran in 1997 on the spcOnline site. Toecutter’s emails were always presented as-is, with the grammar/spelling errors intact. In 1998 he allowed BME’s Shannon Larratt to visit his NYC apartment and document a self-done fingertip amputation procedure. The video is wonderfully surreal, a perfect video portrait of Toecutter.
Tattoos aren’t just for Bad Girls and Bikers anymore.
Some version of that has been used as a headline when the mainstream media covers the tattoo community for years; a declaration that tattoos can be art and that we have the capability to be upstanding citizens and not just a bunch of reprobates and misfits up to no good. As you can imagine, that comes as a great comfort to us as tattooed people.
The media’s perception of tattoos has shifted over the last thirty years though. What was once a quirky fluff story (where celebrities and non bikers/badgirls were highlighted) that popped up once a year in most major newspapers is now front page ad-bait guaranteed to draw in both tattooed and untattooed readers; the quick blurb about tattooed musicians on Entertainment Tonight with a cheeky head-shake from John Tesh or Mary Hart has become a rock star co-opting tattoo culture and hosting a tattoo competition show watched primarily by people with very few tattoos/connection to the tattoo community.
The landscape has changed and despite missing the ‘old days’ I have to hesitantly admit that it’s mostly for the better.
One of the nodal points in that shift was the 1982 ‘Queen Mary’ Tattoo Convention (officially The Tattoo Expo: Long Beach) in Southern California. Put on by Triple-E Productions- Ed Hardy, Ed Nolte, and Ernie Carafa- the Queen Mary pushed the Tattoos As Art aesthetic in ways that previous conventions never dreamed of- including getting a proclamation from then Governor Brown that tattoos were the ‘primal parent of visual arts’. The lineup was spectacular; Michael “Rollo Banks” Malone, Don Nolan, Peter Poulos, Cliff Raven, Bob Roberts, Jack Rudy, Pinky Yun and Sacred Debris favorite Sailor Sid Diller (pictured above).
By the time I started going to tattoo conventions- some eight years after the Queen Mary- it’s effect on the tattoo culture were unmistakable.
Executive Department, State of California.
The Queen Mary, Long Beach California.
The tattoo is a primal parent to the visual arts. Beginning as abstract maps of spiritual visions, records of the “other” world, tattoos were icons of power and mystery designating realms beyond normal experience.
The extra-ordinary qualities of the tattoo’s magic-religious origin remain constant even today transferring to the bearer some sense of existing outside the conventions of normal society.
In decadent phases, the tattoo became associated with the criminal– literally the outlaw–and the power of the tattoo became intertwined with the power of those who live beyond the norms of society.
Today, the realm of the outlaw has been redefined: the wild places which excite the most profound thinks are conceptual. Tattooing is in a renaissance. It has reemerged as a fine art attracting highly trained and skilled practitioners. Current creative approaches are infusing this traditional discipline with new vigor and meaning.
At the time when these artists from around the world meet in California to share, teach and celebrate their skills, it seems appropriate to remind Californians that the tattoo is indeed one of the most ancient arts.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
November 12th, 1982
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.
Short video, short update.
Sailor Sid Diller tattooing a client at his Fort Lauderdale shop.
The machine Sid is using is called a rotary-
Rotary machines use an electric motor that moves the needle up and down versus the two coil machines which uses magnetism to move the needle bar.
Rotaries have no springs contact posts or armature bars to vibrate and operate much more silently than a standard tattoo machine. Some clients feel that the stroke from a rotary is less hard than a coil machine making getting tattooed with one considerably less painful. Others, like myself, feel that tattooing hurts no matter what and that’s part of it’s charm.
Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community in existence. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his Italian Greyhound, Bailey, and his pre’ance Julia.
When Doug Malloy’s “Adventures of a Piercing Freak” was published by Calston Industries 1 under the title “The Art of Pierced Penises and Decorative Tattoos” it had to, by extension, contain tattoo content. This chapter was most likely not written by Doug and contains ‘stock’ images of tattooed men, including photos of Mr. Sebastian, among others. One of the photos features a meatotomy, making it one of the earliest examples of western genital cutting I’ve seen in print.
TATTOOING AS AN ART
As readers of this book have no doubt noticed, most of the illustrations in this book show models who, in addition to being pierced, are also extensively tattooed. The art of tattooing is almost as old as piercing and the two seem to go naturally together. In modern days, tattooing has attained great popularity among both sexes with modern transistorized tattoo machines, not only is it almost painless, much more intricate designs can be achieved.
Many artists, who work also and other artistic mediums, have taken at the art of tattooing in recent years, which adds to the artistic designs that can be applied to the body. Not too many years ago, the only extensive tattoo designs that could be seen were on freaks in circus sideshows, many of whom often had their entire body is covered with tattoo designs .Today in addition to the type of tattoos seen in these page,s many people choose to have small tattoos placed on strategic or intimate parts of their bodies. Gay men have been known to have small ‘flying’ cocks for the back of thighs with the head pointed to the anus. Women often have small flowers or other more feminine designs placed on the breasts or near their vaginal openings.
Tattoos are no longer considered only for the butch men or masculine women. People from all walks of life now have tattoos as part of their permanent bodily adornment.
The only real problem with tattoos is that they are permanent. Only plastic surgery can remove them, and even that process leaves a visible scar. So if you decide, as so many others have to have a tattoo put on your body, think long and hard before you go ahead. It is something that will be with you for the rest of your life. Make sure that the design is one that will always please you, and as an added precaution have a placed somewhere on your body so that it will not always be visible.
A tattoo in an unexpected place can be both a surprise and a sexual turn-on to your selected partner. But a word of warning is also an order: tattoos can also be a turnoff to many people. The choice, of course, is yours and we suggest only that if you are considering a tattoo, that you think long and hard about it and choose not only the design but the tattoo artist carefully.
It can be an expensive decision as well as a lasting decision, depending on the intricacy of the design you choose and the number of colors that are needed.
Don’t, as many people have, make your decision on the spur the moment and head for the nearest tattoo parlor. Make your decision in the cold light of day and with a sober and clear mind shop around. Visit several tattoo artists, watch them at work if possible and ask your friends who they consider to be the best in the business.
- Calston Industries, Sherman Oaks ,California ↩
“Although Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary has no definition for “modern primitive,” I am one. The desire to be pierced, to stretch the piercings and to insert objects similar to those used in primitive cultures, has been with me for as long as I can remember. For years I considered myself “atavistic,” but now I much prefer the term, apparently coined by Fakir Musafar, of “modern primitive.” The accompanying pictures should prove my status as someone who fits the category!”- Bud “Viking Navaro” H, PFIQ #13 1981
This photograph of Viking Navaro survived a flood. It survived a house fire and the deaths of two different people who owned it. It was most likely taken between 1980-1982 and with the exception of photographs taken by Fakir Musafar (which were featured in the PFI Quarterly issue mentioned above) is one of the last few remaining photographs of Bud’s modifications that still exists. Had I not inherited it, it would have been placed in the trash for pickup and once it left the curb, would have ceased to be.
That’s the goal of the Sacred Debris project. To protect our history for future generations. Our early roots were shrouded in secrecy to protect the participants who couldn’t be ‘out’ with their interests. Photos were destroyed, lost or thrown away so what remains must be archived.
Bud was always a particular favorite of mine; a college professor who’s students likely had no idea that their teacher transformed himself at Doug Malloy’s infamous T&P parties into a ‘Modern Primitive’ with stretched piercings and large tattoos. There will be more of him in future updates.
Every person who reads these updates; right clicks and saves the images/videos, is one more person who can keep the contributions of people like Bud and his friends made last for years to come. Scanning your own photos and videos, sharing them online, keeps our past from fading away.