Elayne's Body Art
I have a total of approximately 40 piercings that I've collected since my first ear lobe piercings in 1967. I use the term "approximately" because some remain open and house jewelry periodically, but not daily. I'm known for my my 5 tongue piercings, which I have had for a very long time. My first one was (in the center) done by Jim Ward in the 1980s and is (as far as we know) the first permanent tongue piercing worn in the US. I performed the others on myself. The last (and furthest back in my mouth) I did in 1990 or '91.
In my right ear I've got a tragus piercing, Daith, and numerous lobe and cartilage piercings (10 at last count). If you're not sure which piercings are which, it is all explained in detail in my book, The Piercing Bible.
In my left ear I have a tragus piercing, ear head piercing, lobe and cartilage piercings, and a 2 gauge conch that was originally pierced at 10 gauge and stretched over time, which isn't easy, because cartilage is notoriously un-stretchy.
My cheeks are no longer pierced and there's a whole story to that. You can find it on page 119 of The Piercing Bible, and it is entitled "The Worst Piercing Story." If you skip the story, the upshot is that I don't perform cheek piercings (beyond the first molar), and I advise that other piercers not perform them either. If youre planning to pierce yours, read the story first!
I have had my Bindi piercing since the mid 1990s. I wear an 18 gauge curved bar in it. The purple ornament you see below it is a Swarovsky crystal that is simply glued on--the same way I glue on my dimple gems (all is explained in the story).
Additionally, I wear a navel piercing plus a considerable number of piercings not visible to passersby on the street. As such, we'll keep them where they are--largely unseen, and leave them up to your imagination.
My full-back black-work angel wings tattoo was done by Bob Roberts at Spotlight Tattoo in Los Angeles, in 1986. They have been photographed (and emulated) many times. The wings were done over four sessions within a month, totaling 18 hours of work. (Bob is fast!) The entire outline was laid on in the first 5 hour session. Shading was put in the top portion during the next 5 hour session, and in the bottom portion during the subsequent 5 hour session. The final three hour session finished it off.
And, yes, it hurt! Bob is fast, but he's also famously heavy-handed. That said, he did a beautiful job and my wings have weathered the years very well. Click here to read about the trademark on my wings tattoo.
I had the wings as my sole tattoo for a number of years and in 1991 my then-husband, British tattoo artist Alex Binnie applied the custom floral/scrollwork black and purple "gloves" to my arms. The arm work was also completed in four sessions, these totaling about 22 hours of tattoo work. Each outline was done in a single 4 1/2 hour session. Each arm had a 6 1/2 hour shading session to fill-in the color.
My most major work was done by Juli Moon in Seabrook, New Hampshire in 1992. I went to Juli's Bed and Breakfast tattoo studio and stayed there for a total of 11 days. I did three days of piercings in between the 8 tattoo sessions it took to complete the work. The colorful mermaid scales, fins and gills that completely cover (and transform) me from waist to toes took a total of 59 hours over those 8 sessions. Juli has an incredibly gentle touch, but, wow! There is no black ink whatsoever in my mermaid tail. The very darkest shade is a deep purple, which gives my legs a soft, shimmery look. People often mistake my tattoo for tights or stockings.
Cap Szumski of Timeless Tattoo in Atlanta, in January of 1998 tattooed my face, but you might not notice at first glance! He put miniature purple shadow-flames directly over my natural eyebrow configuration.
On the advice of my attorney, I had the encircled "R" tattooed on right buttock by Joey Galiger of American Electric Tattoo Company in Los Angeles, California. See related story about the Trademark on my wings.
Feeling guilty about asking an artist to perform such a miniscule tattoo, I opted to also have Joey add bilateral purple head flames that frame my ears. My addition of these flames was intended to add a little more fire to the overall theme of the four elements. I have have plenty of "water" from the mermaid tail, a lot of "air" from the wings, a great deal of "earth" from the flowers and vines, but had only a tad bit of "fire" with the purple eyebrow flames. Though, being a Leo, I already have quite a bit of "fire."
In early 2006 I got work in New Orleans by Walt Clark that covers both of my hands with a smaller version of the floral designs on my arms.
My most recent work was also done by Walt Clark. It is a set of sinuous snake-like designs from my hairline to the top of each shoulder. It is a Mayan sun ray design, to add a little more fire to my collection of the elements and to honor the heritage of the area where I live in Mexico.
People often ask me if I'm "done" or if I have more body art plans. I still have some blank space left, in case I do decide to get more. We'll just have to wait and see what new adornments the future may hold.
I also have an "etching" on each shoulder cap. It is a form of scarification I invented and it is done using a tattoo machine without ink, in a specific way to create a scar. They're hard to photograph, but for what it's worth, here's an image or two. The Fleur de Lis on my right arm was done several times using a number of different techniques. Once we got the method figured out, the palmette design on the left side was done once. I've had them since the turn of the century.