These Cyborgs Redesign Their Own Bodies and Minds


By treating their bodies as art, self-designed cyborgs reimagine human potential but also raise ethical questions. At the frontiers of technology and art, more and more individuals are modifying their bodies with cybernetics. Some of these people have cybernetic augmentations as replacements for limbs, organs or senses, while others modify their bodies to explore how cybernetic technology alters human perception. For two artists, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas, both groups of people can be classified as cyborgs. Self-identified cyborgs, Harbisson and Ribas created the Cyborg Foundation in 2010. Their goals were to promote awareness of cyborgs, help people gain cybernetic modifications and support those who already have modifications. Their catchphrase is “design yourself.” Cyborgs, they feel, are those who have self-designed, meaning they’ve conceived of their bodies as art. According to Harbisson, there are at least three, often-intersecting types of cyborgs, and he laid them out in the TED Talk        …read more

The Beautiful Restorative Art of Mastectomy Tattoos

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here’s how artists are using ink to heal souls with mastectomy tattoos. Have you ever stood in the cosmetics aisle staring at the rows upon rows of bottles, jars, compacts and powders with names like “buff beige” and “sienna,” wondering whether you’re more of an olive or if the light in here is just weird? This was going to be the time you remembered to write down the number on the last bottle you bought and used even though it was off by a shade, so that you would remember to buy the one just a step darker / lighter / warmer / cooler. But you forgot again, and now you’re wondering what color you even are. Now ask yourself: what color are my areolas? Yes, seriously. Like foundation, temporary areola tattoos are sold in shades from peachy “cream” to a deep-brown “mahogany.” Actually,        …read more

The Sacred Art of Maori Tattoos

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Maori tattoos connect the indigenous people of New Zealand to their sacred heritage and attract the world to their ancient artistic expression. Maori, indigenous people of New Zealand, exhibit a sacred Polynesian form of body art known as tā moko, commonly referred to as Maori tattoos. Because Maori perceive the head as the most sacred part of the body, the facial tattoo is the most common. Arch shapes and coil-like patterns cover the whole face as “a form of identification, rank, genealogy, tribal history, eligibility to marry, and marks of beauty or ferocity and much more,” according to Tahaa: Ta Moko Studio and Maori Arts Gallery. Most Maori tattoos are made up of repeating patterns and symbols, commonly used as background decoration. Superficially, these patterns seem to be merely geometric designs, but most have a specific meaning. While tā moko most recognizably appear on the face, other parts of the        …read more

The Hustle and the Hierarchy of Prison Tattoos

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In a walled, self-contained city, the artist creating prison tattoos is highly respected. The cost of housing an inmate is a matter of debate in our corrections system, but while locked up, the inmate must also pay for their stay with their own ingenuity. With money and/or manpower, every inmate has to hustle to survive prison. Just as in the military, law enforcement and all cultures and subgroups, in prison there is an order and a hierarchy, from a low-level enforcer to a lieutenant or captain. While some members are more expendable than others, an artist creating prison tattoos can find himself needed, protected and prosperous. Due to the increased risk of disease or infection and the creation of banned weapons or items that can be used as weapons, prison tattoos aren’t permitted. But through innovation and the cooperation and protection of fellow inmates, artists of prison tattoos find a        …read more

31 Best Star Wars Tattoos in the Galaxy

Looking for inkspiration? These are the Star Wars tattoos you’re looking for. Nearly 40 years after the first Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, fans have proven Director George Lucas wrong: “I didn’t think the film was going to be a success,” he said at a Tribeca Film Festival panel. Fans of Star Wars show their support in various ways, and some immortalize its iconic characters on their bodies with tattoos. What drives fans to get Star Wars tattoos? To answer that question, I reached out to Lucasfilm-licensed Star Wars tattoo artist Mike Bianco at the Ink-Fusion Tattoo Empire. “Much like myself, most fans have an emotional connection to the films or their themes in one way or another, so getting a tattoo related to Star Wars often keeps them in touch with whatever that connection may be,” he said. When a fan comes to Bianco, sometimes they        …read more

Kay Pike, Cosplay Body Paint Artist / Superhero

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Kay Pike was a cosplayer until congenital arthritis in her hips made it impossible to sit for hours to sew costumes. Then she discovered body painting. Now, in addition to displaying cosplay body paint techniques at conventions, she cospaints live on Twitch every Wednesday and Saturday. With lots of paint, patience and charm, she captures her devoted and growing audience while transforming into superheroes and villains, such as Colossal Titan, Iron Man, Thanos, Captain Marvel, Cheetara and many more. Watch her transformations on YouTube!        …read more

Meet Jody Steel, Master of Body Paint Art


With body paint art and a camera, she draws in millions of views. Every time Jody Steel doodles, she creates a time-lapse video of her work and pops it onto Facebook. She typically gets about 20,000 likes from her 2.7 million Facebook fans. These aren’t your typical doodles. The 22-year-old artist hailing from Hollywood, Florida, who now resides in Hollywood, California, draws on people, though she’s not a tattoo artist. Steel has hundreds of markers and hundreds of pens, and she uses these plus body paint art (the body paint is reserved for faces) — to create 3D pictures of anything from Thor to an ice queen, using the human body as her canvas. The average drawing takes Steel 40 minutes to do but can take as short as 20 minutes or, for a detailed drawing like the one she did of the Sistine Chapel, as long as 80 minutes. Steel has become an internet sensation,        …read more