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Seraph Wings - large scale scarification

So I had this plan to get wings tattooed on my back since I was 14 or something. Full back wings, and cliché or not, I was GOING to get them one day. But as I got older and had more piercings and tattoos done, and as I read more into body modification I decided that I really liked the idea of having the wings done as a scarification instead. It was a more recent idea, but one that really stuck in my mind. I preferred the look of scalpel work compared to brandings and wanted a more subtle scar than large hypertrophic scarring. So I researched more on cuttings online and looked at who was actually doing them. I contacted Wayde Dunn about a year ago... maybe longer, I can't quite remember. And there was some talk about planning this project. He had actually come by to Vancouver at one point, but for some reason or another we never ended up doing a scarification (I think I was broke or paying for a tattoo at the time...)

Fortunately for me his '08 tour came close enough by to Seattle, WA (Laughing Buddha Tattoo and Piercing). So I jumped on this opportunity and made sure to save up enough money and get this done! With more brainstorming on my wings design, I thought that I might as well go BIG. And instead of just two wings, I wanted six, positioned like seraphim. I had a general idea of how I wanted them to be, but I left most of it up to Wayde as an artist to figure it out and also draw it in an acceptable style for cutting. I got a preview online of one of the wings and it was excellent! I knew that the whole piece would be amazing (and I was right!)

I had convinced my brother to drive me down and luckily we didn't have any problems at the border getting in. It was a nice, easy trip down there with no issues. I won't bore you with the details of us wasting time until the appointment.

Onwards! So finally I got to see the finished piece drawn out. I loved it as soon as I saw it. (I was thinking that the two middle wings should take up more space and maybe overlap, but never actually mentioned it, so I think Wayde is a MIND READER now.) But because the piece was so large it took awhile to get the stencils on evenly. Eventually it worked out and all the while I was freaking nervous as hell. Took a quick pic and then it was time to get started...

Yeah... it hurt. A lot. Other people have said this too, but it feels EXACTLY like what it is - someone cutting you up slowly with a scalpel. I was especially tender on the sides and at the lowest parts. And the very top pinched a lot. I wiggled and squirmed and made stupid noises the whole time and took LOTS of really short breaks every few cuts because my whole body would tense up and I needed time to breathe properly. I totally tore up the covering on the arm rest that I was leaning forward on, haha. I dunno, maybe I'm a wuss, but I can assure you that I felt all of the outlining being done. I'm super glad that Wayde was totally nice about stopping to let me relax and that he is able to work on people who are moving around all over the place. Haha. It took about an hour and a half to do the initial cutting of the piece. He worked in sections and would rub that gel that has vasoconstrictors and anaesthetic in it after we finished an area.

I swear that gel is my favourite thing ever now. My sides didn't go numb as well as the rest of my back, so we had to reapply in some areas, but not feeling 95% of the cutting after was awesome. I would twitch a lot when I could sometimes feel the cuts because I wasn't expecting it. Fun little surprises... (If you're wondering why everyone doesn't use the gel right away, it's because it only works on open skin.)

He went through and made all the cuts wider and even and nice looking. My brother was probably bored as hell just sitting there reading through all the magazines lying around. Occasionally he took some pictures for me. And we all chatted and had music playing so it was a comfortable environment for me other than the scalpel in my back and my lower back muscles getting sore from sitting in the same position the whole time.

The process was basically like this:

-cleaning the area, placing the stencil or drawing the design

-cutting the whole outline in sections, rubbing the gel in afterwards

-going back over and "opening" the cuts, removing connective tissue to allow for the scarring

-cleaning as needed to keep the blood from congealing too much (just a wet paper towel)

-bandaging when done

The second time around took about the same about of time, so the whole thing took about three hours to finish. It was a lot more trauma than my body is used to and I was so tired soon into the process. Afterwards I was SICK. My body had been pumping a shit load of hormones and once my adrenal glands were done I felt the aftermath real bad. My stomach hurt, my legs were shaking, I was antsy and couldn't stay still. I had to leave right after the appointment to drive back to Canada, so I stumbled back to the car and put the seat down so I could sort of lie down. The road was bumpy (damn concrete roads!) and my back was burning! I couldn't bend my neck because it felt like I was suffocating. This huge piece was a real beating on me. But after an hour of feeling like I was dying the pain vanished and I felt totally fine! So luckily the majority of the car ride back I was feeling okay.

I got home a bit before 4am (the appointment was at 9pm) and put a towel down and crawled into bed. I wasn't bleeding too much, but the bandages had some blood pooling. No problem sleeping on my back. It did take me awhile to fall asleep though. Next morning I was fine, but feeling gross and wanting a shower. I resorted to a bath and a wet towel to very gently clean my back. It's really hard to do it on your own. I suppose I'll have to find someone to help me with that... There has been very little bleeding today though.

Now I just have to keep it clean and see how it heals! I'm UBER happy with the results thus far. <3 There is no pain right now, but it does feel sensitive and stretching it is uncomfortable.

It was an intense experience but it was definitely worth it for me. I'll have these wings forever.



submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Scarification

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Artist: Wayde+Dunn
Studio: Laughing+Buddha
Location: Seattle%2C+WA

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