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Mod Artists in the Age of Irrelevance

By Adam Lopez

There are the myths and the assumptions that surround the thought. The way the curiosity is in eye of the client, when it's someone who doesn't modify themselves as much as enthusiasts. They ask the regular questions about what I do.

I've worked in many shops. In a few different places. There are so many things I've picked up on. Like the nature of the purity in the need to look your true self in a fake as fuck world. Not to sound bleak, but the synthetic is so real now its almost unbearable.

Like in past times, self-adornment is something we will always embrace in our own way. The beautiful ritual of it. Dad and son. Mom and daughter. Besties, the loving couple, or the soloist rebel. They come to me. For something different. I abide. Because it means something to me.

The act itself dates back to pharaohs, kings and queens, tribal passages in life -- to metal and punk scenes, even dark places you'd usually never be. Piercings can be found across the globe throughout oceans of time. The mechanics of it have been passed down from one installment artist to the next. They can be used as accessories to a look, or highlighting sensitivity in parts of a person. They take much longer to heal than a tattoo and can stand out as much, depending on placement. In a young person's life they can be a wonderful bonding moment between guests. I've always respected it. Never have I gauged it as a simplistic thing.

It's dismissed often, the act. The life of a body piercer as the years pass can make up the outline of a true outcast. Even in the fanciest of studios, piercers can find themselves in a one-person act. Typically, being the odd one of the odd ones you expect to see in any shop. Piercers are ones that count on walk-ins.

I consider myself an artist, period.

We lead a life of possibilities, like any other artist. I consider myself an artist, period. Piercing aside, I paint, write, and enjoy many facets of the arts. My favorite writers include Bukowski, Frost, King, Poe, and a number of others that draw me. Painters I admire include Mike Vax, Salvador Dali, Banksy, Szukalski (his sculpture work, too). My music tastes go from Tupac to George Strait, from Prince to Yo Yo Má, from Deadmou5 to Slipknot.

The life of an artist is one of letdowns to joys beyond words. It can be lonely, while satisfying in its own way. Artists are so goddamn important yet the world has taken them for granted. We cook your food, cut your hair, fix your websites, and even help you find the words when you can't. Artist loyalty has fallen by the wayside with the advent of commercialization to industry. We've lost touch with the concept of these artists being human, too. We live in a reality that has everything in your hand at all times, one of Google reviews and 30-second sound bites that people take to heart. Instant gratification has been in for decades now. There was a time where the only options were what you saw, what you knew of. These new options have leveled the playing field in art. But in far many ways made much of the art the same.

Good? Bad? Does it matter? The luxury of options is not one that comes without consequences. With experts behind every keyboard, it's made a bitterness out of many an artist. When the reality tattoo shows happened, people saw a glimpse of the glamor that can shine from doing this. But the reality of slow days and atmospheric trend in a studio can be wearing on someone that's done this a long time. I bid pity on the brave souls that dare love an artist. We are a complex bunch that reject common realities strewn across the social landscape.

So, "What's it like?" you ask.

It's like anything else you give yourself to: joyous, worrisome, triumphant, loving, painful, bubbling with hope. Even with the truth of it most times being relevant to the person in the mirror.

I can't think of a time when my art has ever been easy. Perhaps the challenge at the call of something you believe you've mastered is what makes the difference. Or perhaps I'm just full of it.

Either way, I'd have it no other way.

Because beautiful is never perfect; it's special.

Come one, come all.


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