Lifestyle

Scarification: World’s most shocking and extreme body art

The scar this leaves will depend on how the person takes care of it.
The scar this leaves will depend on how the person takes care of it. News Corp Australia

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

IMAGINE having a stranger cut or burn your skin with the hope to leave a permanent disfigurement that will remain visible on your body for the rest of your natural life.

It might sound like a horrid act of vengeance carried out by members of an outlaw motorcycle gang, but it's actually a voluntary body modification procedure known as scarification.

With one in five Australians now tattooed, the art form is no longer considered a form of rebellion, leaving people looking for new ways to push the boundaries of what is acceptable.

Enter scarification - the art of branding or cutting custom designs, pictures or words into the skin with the hope they will leave a detailed scar.

Traditionally used by tribes around the world to mark important life events, scarification has slowly been becoming an accepted form of body modification across the globe.

Not to be confused with self harm, the process of "cutting" uses sterile surgical scalpels to slice single lines into the skin to produce relatively thin scars of a certain design.

For those wanting larger area of scar tissue, a removal technique is used to peel large strips of skin from the body, although this method can result in an inconsistent texture.

In terms of branding, artists either press a piece of heated metal onto the skin like what is done with livestock or a thermal cautery tool with a heated wire tip can be used to cause the burns.

And while this might sound like they have to be carried out in a dodgy back alley, there are no laws stopping people from offering the extreme procedures - artists are only required to follow local governments skin penetration guidelines.

Tina Seiferling branded this skull onto her own leg.Source:Facebook
Tina Seiferling branded this skull onto her own leg.Source:Facebook

As a body piercer, Tina Seiferling used to perform cautery branding on herself and others.

"The process is performed using a cautery pen - a medical instrument used to burn off skin cancers and perform vasectomies," she told news.com.au.

"The tip of the pen heats up to 1200 degrees and burns through the flesh quickly and easily.

It is not very painful - sort of like using your fingernail to scratch over bad sunburn."

Ms Seiferling said she had always enjoyed body modifications and with several piercings, branding was the next logical step for someone looking for an alternative for tattoos.

"The appeal of something like this is that it's different, it's not ink on skin and heals leaving a white to light pink scar which people sometimes find more appealing than traditional tattoos," she said.

"I did a skull on myself and people have mixed reactions when I tell them it's a brand. Most think it's a white tattoo or a tattoo removal."

An example of strike branding. Source:Supplied
An example of strike branding. Source:Supplied

"Should you wish the scar to be raised and prominent you irritate the burn, pick at the scab and apply some sort of irritant like shaving cream to really aggravate it," she explained.

"For more simplistic results just leave it and the scab will eventually fall off leaving a more subtle appearance."

As one of only a small number of artists in Australia offering a scarification, Peter Sheringham has been offering his cutting services to clients for over 15 years.

"I practised on fruit before I started to work out how to do the procedure on human skin," he said.

"It's an interesting form of body art that is much more a commitment because it can't be lasered off or covered up like a traditional tattoo.

"Similar to tattooing, we make sure people are very serious and genuine about wanting the procedure. We are not going to just carve your girlfriends name into your arm."

A fresh cut artwork and the healed finished product.Source:Supplied
A fresh cut artwork and the healed finished product.Source:Supplied

"It looks more uncomfortable than it really is and will only be painful when washing under the shower for the first few days," he said.

"It's more susceptible to infection than a tattoo, but if you do proper after care and don't go on a trip to Bali immediately following a session, you should be fine.

"It'll generally heal within two to four weeks, but over a period of many the scar will develop and change in appearance."

Mr Sheringham said he is one of maybe half a dozen artists in Australia offering scarification at a commercial level, which often means people fly from all over the country for his services.

"The clientele looking for cutting is quite bizarre. I have done mothers from the country, young boys and girls, and gentleman well into their 50s," he said.

"While I do think it will always be a niche art form, I have had many repeat customers because after they get their first piece done, they think of new ideas and come back for more."

While you might not be able to get the same detail as a tattoo, scarification can be intricate. Source:Supplied
While you might not be able to get the same detail as a tattoo, scarification can be intricate. Source:Supplied

"Because you don't know how the client will sit, I generally charge on the work the client wants done instead of an hourly rate," he said.

"And it might be expensive, but this is something you want to get done in a professional studio not a backyard job.

"Make sure you do your research and look at the artists' portfolio before committing."

News Corp Australia

Topics:  body art branding editors picks scarification tattoo



Is there a doctor in the valley?

COUNTRY LIFE: Beautiful vistas, fresh air and great community spirit, all that's missing is a GP.

Ulong community in search of 'County Practice'

Coffs' CitySmarts safeguard communities through CCTV

SECURITY SOLUTION: The security cameras that have been installed in the main street of Inverell.

From the GM's desk with Steve McGrath

Run in for early bird specials

NEVER TOO OLD: 81-year-old Tom Hulbert crosses the line in last year's Bendigo Bank Coffs Harbour Running Festival 10km event.

Reduced entry prices for Running Festival end on Monday.

Local Partners

Pulse is rising for Jesse on organ donation list

At the age of 18 Jesse Vincent should be in his prime, but he is instead staring at the end of his life unless he receives a heart transplant.


Challenge for cyclists of all levels and ages

This year's C.ex McDonald's Cycle Challenge is being held on Sunday, August 6. You can ride in the the 10km family ride, 20km, 40km, 60km, or the 100km challenge.

This year's cycle challenge is being held on Sunday, August 6.

New developments announced for Curryfest

TASTE TREATS: New developments for Curryfest 2017.

Fresh ideas and developments show no sign of slowing down.

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

BREAKING: Cartoonist wins Archibald Prize

CARTOONIST Mitch Cairns has claimed this year’s Archibald Prize for his portrait of partner and fellow artist Agatha Gothe-Snape.

Princess Diana: How an Aussie's story made her cry

‘A tear rolled down her cheek’ ... Phil Williams tells his story to Princess Diana.

Phil Williams met Princess Diana on his 18th birthday.

Jonathan LaPaglia takes you inside Australian Survivor s2

Jonathan LaPaglia in a scene from season two of Australian Survivor.

Strategy plays key role as castaways seek to make savvy moves.

Bachelor Recap: Matty’s stunning public rejection

Chic.

Last night we saw humiliation at its best

NZ anchor drops F-bomb live on air

Veteran news anchor Eric Young has been caught uttering an expletive.

Veteran NZ newsreader swears on live television

The Block's family home rescue mission

Scott Cam hosts the TV series The Block.

Reno show's new concept proves its biggest challenge to date.

Angelina Jolie 4.0: Is anyone buying this?

Angelina Jolie, master media manipulator, is back.

An opportunity for lifestyle and income

The Real Estate Property Guide is online now

Hearty food for cold nights

Boneless lamb shoulder roast with crushed kipflers.

RECIPES: Two tasty lamb dishes to try this winter

How one man made more than $20m in a land deal

Varsity Lakes

Sale, with GST added, shows as a $26.4 million transaction

Holiday home crackdown

HOLIDAY: Short-term holiday letting is being scrutinised by the state government.

A holiday life-saver for some, neighbourhood headache for others