Piercing Beneath the Mask

Dear Ms. Angel, 

 

Do you think it is OK to do nostril piercings right now if their mask stays over their mouth, and I am off to the side? (Today’s headline was “U.S. reports record single-day spike of 60,000 new coronavirus cases, and we just passed 3 million confirmed.) I was thinking that septum and oral piercings might be more risky because of where I stand and the direction the client breathesI don’t know how to decide what is safe and my health department is nowhere to be found. Thanks! C. 

 

Hi C., 

 

There is debate within the industry about the safety and appropriateness of doing “below-the-mask” piercings during the Coronavirus pandemic. In many areas, oral and nasal piercings (and jewelry changes) have been suspended due to regulations intended to control the spread of COVID-19. And in others—like yours—no guidance has been provided. The number of cases varies considerably by region and over time, so your particular circumstances must be taken into account when making decisions if no restrictions have been imposed. 

 

Experts say distancing plays the primary role in reducing the spread of COVID-19, but of course, it is not possible to maintain physical separation while piercing. Fortunately, piercers are already familiar with using personal protective equipment (PPE) and taking measures to ensure the health and safety of ourselves and our clientele. Sowe should be capable of carrying out any changes needed to make our practices as safe as possible. 

 

Cases are currently rising in many localitiesand massively exploding in others. If you’re in a zone with large or increasing COVID-positive population, it would be wise to decline to pierce the nose or mouth and require every client to remain fully masked while on your premises. It is safest for you to wear a mask whenever people (patrons or coworkers) are in the building, even if it is not mandatory in your location.   

 

I would also encourage piercers to wear a face shield or goggles—especially if you’re working on the nose or mouth. An international research team that analyzed 44 studies from 26 countries reported that eye protection could reduce the risk of infection from 16% to 6% compared to those not using the safeguard.i  

 

Research has also shown that the virus can linger in the air for longer than was previously believed. A widely disseminated open letter to the W.H.O. was signed by 239 scientists. It states: “Studies by the signatories and other scientists have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in air and pose a risk of exposure at distances beyond 1 to 2 m[eters] from an infected individual.” The researchers also noted that the problem of virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets in the air is especially acute in indoor and enclosed environments, particularly if ventilation is inadequate or exposure periods are extended. When a viable virus is suspended in droplets smaller than five microns, they are termed aerosols. For perspective, a human hair is about 50 microns wide. 

 

Since air quality is critical, every piercer should have a HEPA filter in the piercing room. Depending on local circumstances and the quality of your facility’s HVAC systemit may also be appropriate to place a HEPA filter in the retail area.  

I discussed the matter of below-the-mask piercings with over 50 colleagues. I found that even in locations where no prohibitions exist, many practitioners are not working on those parts of the body at this time. Others who are not forbidden will pierce the nostril but not the septum, or the nose, but not the mouth.  

Like you, a number of piercers believe that the direction in which clients breathe relative to their own position makes certain procedures safer than others. There’s obviously no specific research on this, but it seems relevant to know that aerosols floatmove with air currentsand can stay suspended for hours.ii 

 

Most who are performing nostril piercings believe that they are safer than oral piercings, which they’re declining. Given that swabs are commonly placed in the nose to test for the virusit is unclear if this is accurate. The coronavirus is spread from the mouth and nose when infected individuals talk, cough, or breathe.iii Yes, normal breathing—including from the nose—can release the virus into the air. Piercers commonly guide clients to take slow, deep breaths during the procedure. While this practice is helpful to calm and relax the piercee, it is now potentially dangerous if their mouth and/or nose is unmasked.  

If the client wears a mask except for the marking, cleaning, and piercing, then puts the covering back in place after you complete the procedure, there’s still a risk of releasing virions (infectious viral particles) into the studio environment. Evidence shows that face coverings are better at preventing others from catching an infection from the wearer,iv so allowing masks to be removed in the shop elevates potential risks.  

 

Extended contact is another factor for COVID-19 transmission. So, to diminish the amount of in-person time you spend interacting with patrons, provide access to an aftercare video with all of the information you routinely impart during your in-studio speech. It is also helpful to use an online release form that clients can fill out in advance.v 

 

An additional concern is the prevalence of “silent infections.” Pre-symptomatic carriers (who are sick but have yet to develop signs of illness) can be exceptionally infectious.vi Asymptomatic individuals who test positive but never feel ill also represent some risk of transmission. The most conscientious pre-screening and temperature-taking still can not eliminate these individuals from your client pool. We must assume that every piercee can transmit the virus and behave accordingly. 

  

Yet another consideration is whether frequent (or constant) maskwearing over a fresh piercing will cause irritation and healing complications.   

 

Our understanding of the SARS Cov-2 virus remains limited, and research is ongoing. As more is discovered, it will likely become easier to make sound decisions. Meanwhile, contemplate the information above, your own situational factors, and use your best judgment. (Be safe!) 

 

Three Producers Who are Redefining Cider

PAINful Drinking:

Three Producers Who are Redefining Cider

Austin L. Ray

For too many Americans drinkers, cider has been relegated to the unfortunate territory somewhere between “cloyingly sweet” and “embarrassing to drink.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, much like the craft beer and small-batch spirit worlds, cider is seeing a revolution of sorts. “Today’s drinkers are becoming more and more interested in trying new things, and cider gives them something a little different from your classic beer or wine options,” Angry Orchard’s Ryan Burk says. “When it’s done well, it’s made with high-quality ingredients and intention, and I think that is what drinkers are looking for. It’s our goal to continue to innovate in the cider world, whether that’s with trying different yeast strains, uncommon ingredients, or new techniques. We’re also seeing drinkers start to experiment with hard cider much like they did with craft beer years ago, using cider as an ingredient in cooking, pairing cider with foods and even in mixology, creating some pretty interesting cider cocktails.” Part of the work might be in the hands of makers around the country whose product will help define the future. While acquisitions occur and terminology gets argued, there’s plenty of delicious cider being made all over. Below, we highlight three of the United States’ most exciting producers. Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard Hard Cider Who: Burk grew up in New York, but made his way to Chicago for law school, where the local beer scene convinced him he was pursuing the wrong career. After helping Michigan’s Virtue Cider start up, he left for Angry Orchard where he now leads “innovation efforts and small batch experimentation at a new R&D facility on a historic 60-acre orchard in the Hudson Valley.” Where: Hudson Valley, N.Y. Why his ciders are special: “It really comes down to the high quality ingredients and unique apple blend we use for each of our ciders. For example, our flagship cider, Crisp Apple, took the team nearly 20 years of tinkering and experimenting with recipes until arriving at the perfect pairing. We use a blend of culinary apples and French bittersweet apples from Normandy and Brittany regions of France. They’re bred expressly for cider making and have roots in orchards that have been growing cider apples for centuries. We think it’s an incredibly balanced cider, and gives just the right amount of sweetness and tartness.” Steve Wood, Farnum Hill Ciders Who: Wood started working on his orchard in 1965, started managing it in 1973, and bought it in 1984. “This is where I grew up,” he says. “I’ve pretty much been doing this my whole life.” Where: Lebanon, N.H. Why his ciders are special: “We know how little we know. We’ve been making cider pretty much as long as anybody on a commercial scale. And we feel like neophytes. We live in a constant state of something resembling fear and eager expectation and uncertainty. We know quite a lot of stuff, but we don’t think we know nearly enough. We’re not confident in anything. We don’t feel expert. And in a way, I think our ciders reflect that. Beyond that, they’re chiefly good because we’re growers and we’ve been paying very, very close attention to the fruit we grow, and how it’s grown… When you start getting confident that you’re an expert at something, you’re probably starting to lose your expertise. We still feel like we’re muddling around in a dark closet.” Kevin Zielinkski, E.Z. Orchards Who: “I am from Oregon, and have always lived here,” Zielinkski says. “I live with my wife Vicki on the farm where I was raised, so this may lead you to the conclusion of what I have done for the last 54 years.” Where: Salem, Ore. Why his ciders are special: “The experiences I had of drinking cider before I began my explorations are few, and I did not have an epiphany that caused me to crave cider. I did find in cider a fruit I understand, that is what pulled me toward the method I use, and the stubborn adherence to pre-prohibition and European production history. I have the intention to allow the fruit it’s truest voice in my cider. And attempting this is often thrilling and challenging.”

Buck Wayne 

Name?     Buck Wayne    Shop?    Co-owner at Tattoo Underground    Location?    1231 NW Broad Street Suite 104 Murfreesboro, Tn.    Specialty?    I love tattooing horror and dot work the most . . . but I don’t specialize in one style.    Years Tattooing?   Do you mean years tattooing professionally? If so, about six years. But I really got my start when I was 14, tattooing other kids in foster homes and group homes.   What tattoo artists have influenced your work the most?    Big Paul Clark, first and foremost. He’s the reason I got my start. I have a lot of other guys I look up to, but Josh Herman, Timmy B, Bob Tyrell and Ghost 6 are the ones that come to mind.    You have an incredibly wide range of style in your output. What, in your opinion, led you to bring such diversity to your portfolio?     I choose to tattoo any style because Big Paul always told me my goal should to master all of it. I love making something from nothing, something permanent that I DID! Seeing my client happy is what makes my day.    What are the advantages of a private studio?    I prefer working at a private shop because I dont like someone making money off of my work and my name. I could care less about the traditional ways that old bikers and scum bags where loyal to. Im my own man. I make my money. You aint getting shit!!! LOL  Let’s get back to how you got your start for a moment. There’s obviously more to this story. How did you get into tattooing at such a young age?   I grew up between Murfreesboro and Nashville most my life. My parents were killed when I was 4 years old and I was sent to live with my grandparents until my grandma passed away when I was in the 2nd grade. After that my grandpa got bad off on drugs like heroin and Oxycontin. We were homeless and lived anywhere we could. I was eventually taken into state custody. But through that time, had a man that was like a father to me named Big Paul Clark. He tattooed in prison and out of his house. All the other kids would be playing games or outside playing ball and Id be hanging with him, tracing his stencils and making his set ups.     615-624-3999 Buckwaynetattoos@outlook.com IG: tattoosbybuckwayne FB: Buck Wayne       
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Bad Apple Tattoo: Bad to the Core, But Not Rotten

  How One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Whole Crew    Edd Word1 didn’t plan on becoming a tattoo artist. The owner of Bad Apple Tattoo in Las Vegas, Nevada did love to draw and by all accounts, was pretty damn good at it, but he was initially more interested in just hanging out at a tattoo shop than actually learning the trade.     “I was always nervous about tattooing,” he readily admits. “I mean, I didn’t want to fuck up someone’s skin. It’s permanent, you know?” Life, however, has a peculiar habit of being unpredictable.     Let’s bring it back to the beginning, circa 1998. Edd was just another SoCal kid stumbling his way into a semblance of adulthood.     “I just started hanging out a tattoo shops because I thought they were cool,” he offers with a shrug. “I was going to this old biker shop in Mission Beach, getting tattooed, getting pierced, whatever. And then one day, the owner’s wife had to step out. She was like, ‘You want to watch the front desk for me?’ and I was like, ‘Sure, I’m down.’ So I worked the front for a few hours and she came back and asked me if I wanted to start doing it more often. That’s how I got my foot in the door. I worked the front, I managed the shop, I even started piercing just to keep my foothold.”    Still, the actual tattoo portion of his career wouldn’t come into play for another six years, and when it did, it kind of happened by accident. Well, not accident exactly. Happenstance, maybe. Basically, it happened because Edd was running his mouth off.     “I was just talking shit to one of the guys cause he had just done a tattoo that wasn’t so great,” Edd recalls. “And he was like, ‘So you think you could do better? Let’s see it.’ So, I set up my station and tattooed myself. It was a purple, Sailor Jerry style rose. The color is actually still holding up.” The boss was impressed. Within a couple weeks, he was on the scheduletaking clients.     Don’t call him a scratcher, though. He had an apprenticeship. He just didn’t realize it was an apprenticeship at the time he was going through it.     “I was scrubbing brushes and making needles for the guys for years just as part of my job running the front. I just didn’t have to wear a fucking dress or wash people’s cars or any of that shit.”     It was only four years later that he found himself at the helm of Bad Apple Tattoo in Las Vegas. The shop was first opened by the original owner in 2002, but by 2008, he was ready for a break from Sin City and thus, sold the business to Edd.      “I only have two rules for my artists,” he says. “Do rad tattoos and treat your customers with respect. That’s it.” He pauses and takes a breath. “Actually, I have three rules. Number three: you have to be a better tattooer than me.”    If there’s any aspect of him that oozes through the entire conversation, it’s his humility. It’s clear that he actively shirks the typical ego that often comes with owning a shop. He doesn’t want to be top dog. Hell, he doesn’t even like telling people he owns the place.    “When people ask me what I do, I always just tell them I work at Bad Apple,” he says with a shrug“And then someone always has to be like, ‘No, he OWNS it!’” You can hear his eyes roll as the words come out. The position doesn’t matter to him. What does matter is building his shop’s clientele and taking care of his artists, whom he swears by.     “We’ve got some killer artists here,” he says proudly. “Like, everyone that works here. They’re all at the top of their game—just amazing.”     For the 12 years, the hybrid custom/street shop has run under Ed’s guidance, they’ve consistently remained a formidable force in the Las Vegas tattoo scene. That’s saying a lot, considering the city has somewhere in the ballpark of 150 shops and he’s never advertised. In fact, they’ve done so well, that not even the pandemic could keep them down. After two months of being shut down completely, they’re back with barely a hiccup, books as full as they’ve ever been. For some reason, though, he doesn’t take the credit.     I don’t consider myself a good businessman at all,” he says candidly. Like, I could honestly make way more money on the shop if I just made better decisions. I just focus on spoiling my guys. They’re all at 70% at least and I still supply a lot of the stuff, which is unheard of . . . I’ve got a great crew. My guys really don’t leave. DJ’s been here 12 years, Willy’s been here 10 and I have another guy who’s been here eight. My guy’s stick around, probably because I treat them well . . . I’m a big believer in karma and I’ve always tried to be a good person. I think it just worked out for me.”    Maybe, though, that’s really all you need.     702-259-5580 IG @bad_apple_tattoo FB @badappletattoolv            1We can neither confirm, nor deny that “Edd Word” is truly his given name. We can only tell you that this is how he prefers to be identified and we respected his wishes.  
Brody Figueras
Brody Figueras
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DJ Tambe
DJ Tambe
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Edd Word
Edd Word
Edd Word
Edd Word
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James Ferreira
James Ferreira
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Jason Paxman
Nico Roussin
Nico Roussin
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Stevie Randallyn
Tom Vincent
Tom Vincent
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Willy Cutlip
Willy Cutlip
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Permanent Change

Cincinnati Tattoo Artist Proves Racial Issues Are More Than Skin Deep 

 By Darin Burt 

Jamison Walker loves lettering and was using his talents to create a window mural outside Black Fern Tattoo memorializing the names of fellow African-Americans across the country killed in confrontations with police. It was Walker’s way to support those in his Cincinnati community — and throughout the country, affected by systemic racism and police brutality. Little was he aware that he was about to be caught up in the issue.  

 

A peaceful protest had earlier taken place a few blocks away at the Hamilton County Courthouse. Officers had closed off the street, and protesters were making their way home ahead of the city’s nightly curfew. Walker was almost finished with his project when he was confronted by police about what he was doing. Walker tried to explain that he worked at the shop and had the permission of other officers to be out on the sidewalk past curfew. But this new group of officers would have none of it.  

 

“They just wouldn’t listen. They were already enraged and I guess they took my explanation as a sign of disrespect,” Walker says.  

 

In a video of the May 31 incident, officers can be heard telling Walker’s coworkers to go inside. Walker started to follow, when he said another officer blocked his path.  

 

“When I did turn around, they pushed me up against the glass and then pulled out the taser,” Walker told WCPO news.  

 

“It happened so fast — they were twisting my arms and zip-tied my hands,” Walker continued.  “I’m not one to fear people, but in that moment, I was so fearful because I knew I couldn’t fight back.” 

 

Walker, 27, was charged with misconduct at an emergency for breaking curfew and spent the night in the Hamilton County Justice Center. But he wasn’t alone. In all, police made more than 200 arrests.  

 

“I heard they had already written out the arrest papers before any of the protesting even started,” Walker said. “Many of the people were just trying to return to their cars, but it didn’t seem to matter — people were getting stopped, and even pulled out of their vehicles, and arrested.” 

 

Walker was bailed out by the owner of Black Fern and is determined to contest the charges. Ironically, before becoming a tattoo artist three years ago, Walker, who grew up in Long Beach, California, had thoughts of putting on a badge. Maybe now, not so much. In tattooing, he’s found a likeminded and supportive family. 

 

“The tattoo community, at least in our city, is completely accepting of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Walker said. “Anyone that gets tattooed is marked in society, so I think they have an understanding of what it feels like to be perceived negatively.” 

 

That’s not to say Walker hasn’t felt prejudice inside the tattoo studio. He recalls once where a customer looked at portfolios without knowing who the artists were. When she saw he was black, she requested that another artist do the tattoo from his book. Then there’s just the opposite. After hearing of Walker’s arrest, a white man came in to apologize for how he’d been treated and to let him know that everything that was happening had opened his eyes about racism. Soon the man, whose negative beliefs were ingrained by his own upbringing, will be expressing his newly found solidarity with a half-sleeve designed and tattooed by Walker depicting pivotal moments in the civil rights movement.  

 

Walker has also witnessed discrimination against black people who want to get tattooed, but are turned away by artists who don’t think dark skin is a suitable canvas. “As artists, we’ve hindered ourselves by thinking that color tattoos especially aren’t going to look good. What we need to do is mold the design to work on darker skin. If I do a portrait, my contrast is higher and I treat the skin as the lightest tone, and work from there,” Walker pointed out, adding that Eternal Maxx Black and Empire’s graywash series are two of his favorites for inking people of color. 

 

Oftentimes, art can speak louder than words, and Walker makes a conscience effort to promote the work of other black tattooists. “They don’t get the recognition that they should,” he said. “It took me meeting another black artist who I respected to learn about other black artists, like Miya Bailey and Boneface, who are really amazing. Black artists are really starting to break through in the tattoo industry.” 

 

Walker also encourages artists to avoid tattooing symbols, such as the swastika, iron cross and Confederate flag, which can be viewed as hateful and oppressive. “Simply as a human, I don’t want to glorify anything negative,” he said. “I wouldn’t want a person to have to carry that symbol because you never know if they might have a life experience that would change their perception.” 

 

“I feel like we’re on the right path,” Walker said. “All of these issues have blown away the smoke and left a clear picture for everybody to see that we have an unjust system and that systematic racism has affected people of color.” 

 

Photo Credit 

Dubs
-IG @ohthatsdubs
-website: www.shotsbydubs.com