Going Deep with Skin Deep

In this first installment of the Interview with an Editor series, head honcho of Skin Deep, Sion Smith, offers advice for writers, photographers, and tattooists looking get published, while discussing life at the helm of the UK's best selling tattoo magazine.

"For writers, be original, spell things correctly (I have better things to do than watch your back), be on time, be nice to work with and don’t be a dick."

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Persian Ink: The Underground Tattooists of The Islamic Republic (Dictatorship) of Iran

(INKED magazine, issue 35) 'Tattooing in the Islamic Republic (dictatorship) of Iran' is the culmination of furtive correspondence with four brave Iranian tattooists who risk imprisonment and torture on a daily basis all for the sake of their art.

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(NSFW) Is that Saline in Your Balls or Are You Just Happy to See Me? *full version

(Things & Ink, issue 12, abridged on VICE online) What began as an intellectual interest in body modification within the context of BDSM ended with 250mls of saline infused into my scrotum and 500mls infused into my girlfriend's breasts.

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Trash Drag Aesthetic

(Things & Ink, issue 11) "I think it’s a real big kick and liberation once you’ve put on a face and the costume and you go out in public. You become a character, a different person, and so people respond to you differently, and so I can take it on and enjoy whatever it is that could potentially serve me, which is completely different every time."

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Anthropomorphic Curiosities

(Things & Ink, issue 10, republished in INKED magazine, issue 31) "Most people understand that taxidermy is done with the leftover skins, and so it is separate from the live-animal debate, and the leather/fur debate, which uses farming. Animals are not objects, but taxidermy pieces are objects. If taxidermy is made into art for art’s sake, there is still the beauty and appreciation of the animal and the art, so it really isn’t for nothing."

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Flesh Eating Body Modifiers

(Things & Ink, issue 9. Republished in Melbourne Permanent, issue 1) ‘Since putting the photo on Instagram, I was like, “Wow; I didn’t realise it would become such a thing”. Someone put it on Facebook, and it turned into this big thing with over 200 comments, and everyone was thinking I was a total freak. I guess I took it a bit lightly and didn’t explain myself, it was just like “RAAAAAHHH; I’m eating my own head!”

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Initiation: An Ancient Ritual in a Modern World

(Things & Ink, issue 8. Republished in INKED, issue 27) ‘The first hit, your mind is full of so many thoughts; mostly you’re thinking, “Shit, what have I done; what am I doing; I can’t do this”. After a few days, I couldn’t feel my body: the pain had reached a different level. I was in another world; I was literally looking over my own body. I was simply not there.’

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Golly Golly Gosh!

(Things & Ink, issue 7. Republished in INKED, issue 28) In April of 1990, an Australian toddler had just finished unwrapping his birthday gift.  Ecstatically, he began shouting ‘Lollilog! Lollilog!’  Clutched between his two white hands was his first Golliwogg doll.  Twenty-four years later, that same little boy sits before me in a cluster of Golliwoggs, discussing the red lipped, bow-tied, black-skinned doll tattoo on his leg.

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Hanging with Badsville: hook, line, and body modifications

(Things & Ink, issue 6. Republished in Melbourne Permanent, issue 1) "When you’re getting them pierced, it feels pretty brutal. So you can understand the heightened response your body and mind are having to the pain. This automatically triggers a reaction within your brain, and it compensates by flooding your body with adrenaline and all kinds of delicious endorphins. At this point I’m very happy, welcoming the old feeling of this incredible buzz within my system..."

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O-inked: Is Tattooing a Pig Art?

(Modern Farmer, 01/05/2014. Republished in Melbourne Permanent, issue 1) "Suffering through a tattooing is humiliating enough, but having the operation photographed and videotaped is outright overkill. The slippery plastic flooring compounded Little Minnesota’s embarrassment as he tried in vain to maintain his footing at Saturday night’s debut…Maybe it was Little Minnesota, the Texas Tattooed Pig, who finally made the most sincere statement of the night when he urinated in his plastic pigsty."

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Ink & Pink: The politics of tattoos in pornography

(Things & Ink, issue 6) "I wanted a truer representation of the broadness and diversity of female bodies, such as older women or tattooed women being visible as ‘girl next door’ and not stereotyped as painted harlots or bad girls. Tattoos have become a niche in porn. Porn tends to do that to humans. Well, humans generally do that to themselves."

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Posthumous Conversations: My Transcendental Experience Taking Ayahuasca with a Shaman

(The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, 09/09/14) I became synesthetic—inhaling my visions, exhaling what was heard, psychoacoustics gone awry. It was as though I had inhaled the canvas, yet the painting still stood before me—inside my body lay the very foundation of existence, a manifestation of the whole rather than an isolated organism. The shaman’s throat singing tasted like centuries of atavistic dance, movement, and gyration. 

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Home-made Tattoos: Unregulated, Unprofessional, Unstoppable

(Things & Ink, issue 3) "The motor wasn’t fast enough so I really had to stab it into the skin hard, I didn’t even have proper ink, I think I was using Balinese stamp pad ink.  Anyway, we were all getting pissed and I said to them all, ‘look, this isn’t the right ink, I don’t want you all getting infected from it,’ but they were all like UGHRAAAAA, TATTOO US TATTOO US WE DON’T CARE.  I had like seven people lined up."

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