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My cutting at Pure Body Arts

My cutting at Pure Body Arts, performed December 1, 2007.

I decided to get this cutting done in order to reclaim a tattoo I got when I was sixteen. The tattoo was a bit of flash that struck my fancy, a barbed wire rose with a banner featuring the name of my current girlfriend. This turned out to be a horrible mistake. Quickly.

I tossed around the idea of getting it lasered enough to tattoo over, and I had some planned to that effect. Nothing ever really materialized and eighteen years got behind me.

So now I'm 34 with this horrible piece of flash still looking back at me and pissing me off. By this time the tattoo had been a part of me longer than it hadn't, and I really wasn't ready to just let it go anymore. I wanted to reclaim it, and obliterate it, especially the banner. But I still wanted to remember it. Not only as a long standing part of me, but as a reminder to not be an idiot and try to think things through. Or something.

So I came up with the idea of partially cutting it out. My first thought was that I would cut claw marks through it, especially through the banner. I planned it out and drew it a bit. Then I say on it for awhile, and came to the conclusion that it really didn't fit with my plan for a chest piece, and that I really didn't like it. So I'm glad that I sat on it. Eventually I came up with a different idea, involving a crescent moon. I liked this idea, and over a period of months, I developed it to include a full cutting on the lower part of the moon, fading into a suggestion of the same in the upper part. This would enable me to keep some of the tattoo as the reminder I wanted.

I mad an appointment with Pure Arts. I printed out a couple pics of the half finished death star from star wars to illustrate my idea of half finished for the top of the moon. Once I got in, Brian and I quickly realized that my idea for the scale of the moon was all off. OK, Brian mostly realized it, and pointed it out to me. Do I have to be honest here???

Anyhow, Brian worked a bit with drawing up the crescent moon. He managed to work through me saying one thing and wanting another and eventually same up with something that would work. The moon ended up being about 6-7" tall. He had to work with the curves quite a bit to get it to hit the areas of the tattoo where it needed to, but still achieve the overall effect I desired.

He also said that he couldn't do the lower field as a cutting the way I wanted. He said he would be removing too much skin, and that it would turn out not how I wanted it. He suggested instead doing a thin 1/8-3/16" skin removal around the outline, and then strike branding in the field at the bottom. With a scalpel cut mutilation for the partial part on top.

I came in fully prepared for cutting. Cutting is something I understand, and have performed on myself before. This branding thing scared the crap out of me. We talked a bit about the sensations compared to cutting. We also talked about the results, and Brian showed me some branding he had done on himself. So I decided to go forward.

Although the two happened consecutively, I won't discuss the branding much more in this write up, it really was a different experience and deserves its own piece.

The cutting went along nicely. It hurt pretty good, but nothing that I couldn't handle. The sensation of skin removal was intense, but pretty much how I expected it to be. The mutilation part at the top was much more painful than I expected. It consisted of cutting shallow lines crosshatched across the area. Brian described it as having to do a lot of work to cover a little area. It was definitely the effect I wanted. Perhaps it was so unpleasant because of what I had already gone through in the outline. I don't know. It wasn't TOO bad, though, but I was glad when it was over and time to move on to the branding.

As mentioned before, I'll write up the branding separately. Once the branding was complete we went over some of the mutilation part again, as I feared that it really wasn't going to have the effect I desired. That was rather unpleasant, since it was just getting used to being left alone. Oh well.

The healing was totally different than anything I've done before. I've done a LOT of cutting over the years, but I never healed anything before with the intent to have it scar. I scrubbed it twice a day with antibacterial soap. This was VERY unpleasant on the fresh cutting for the first half week or so, then it became more tolerable. All other times it was covered with plastic wrap.

After about twelve days, I unwrapped it and left it alone. I was very happy with the skin removal parts, although the line at the top ended up a bit uneven. I am considering having that gone over again. The mutilated part disappointed me at first, but over a period of weeks it seems to have scarred up to the point where I may just leave it as is. It definitely darkened over time.

All in all, it was a great experience, and the piece turned out very close to what I envisioned.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 Feb. 2008
in Scarification

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Artist: brian+decker
Studio: pure+body+arts
Location: brooklyn%2C+ny

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