November 2020 Eternal Ink



Colombian reggaeton singer has not only delivered for McDonald’s, but will keep doing so now thanks to the QSR’s launch of its J Balvin Drop Limited-Edition Merch Collection, inspired by the music star’s favored McDonald’s menu choices.

McDonald’s launched its “J Balvin Meal” promotion last week nationally to great response. The meal is a reiteration of what the singer most often orders when he takes a run-thru the Golden Arches, including a pickle-free Big Mac sandwich, medium fries and Oreo McFlurry, which the brand is making available as a special order through Nov. 1.

In fact, the current piggyback promotional line includes an actual tattoo that customers can purchase with that check-out receipt, listing the elements of Balvin’s favorite meal. That offering is augmented by a line of apparel including a reggae-fied bucket hat, Big Mac slippers and the aforementioned body art, all available while supplies last.

“It’s been incredible to see all the excitement from fans over the past week,” Balvin said in the release. “Not only did I want to bring my personality to the McDonald’s menu, I also wanted to share my energy and creativity in a way that elevates our partnership through an exclusive merch collection that we created with my team. Now people can collect a piece of this collaboration and have it forever … lego!”

Those ordering that J Balvin Meal between now and Nov. 1 on the McDonald’s App will also receive the requisite McFlurry at no cost.


Tattooing WITHOUT Needles?

It might sound crazy — even blasphemous — but Dutch researchers have developed a micro-injection tattoo machine that doesn’t require any needles at all.

Instead of a traditional needle, an ultrafast liquid jet the thickness of a human hair is used to penetrate the skin. In a new paper, David Fernández Rivas and his colleagues compare this new approach with classic needle technology, using high-speed imagery.

The technique starts with a laser that rapidly heats a fluid inside a microchannel on a glass chip. This fluid is heated above its boiling point, causing a vapor bubble to forms and grows, pushing the liquid out at speeds of up to 100 meters per second. The jet is capable of going through the human skin, and yet it produces almost no pain.

The researchers worked with a number of commercially available inks, finding that their method minimizes skin damage. The device also uses less energy than conventional needles, and produced less waste, as there is no loss of fluids. The risk of contaminated needles is also eliminated.

If you were getting a car tattoo, which ride would it be? 

A recent study conducted by the research experts over at found that the Chevrolet Impala was the most common car tattoo, ahead of the DMC DeLorean in second place and the Chevrolet Corvette in third. 


The study analyzed the number of Instagram posts that were tagged with a specific car model followed by the word tattoo to determine the most popular car tattoos. Researchers found 823 separate posts showing tattoos of various different Chevrolet Impala models on users’ bodies, making it the most popular vehicle to get inked. The DMC DeLorean, made famous by its starring role in the 1980s film Back to the Future, was second at 800 Instagram posts. The Corvette was far behind first and second with only 180 Instagram posts. 


The same study also analyzed the most popular car brand tattoos. Volkswagen was by far the most common car brand tattoo at 5,507 Instagram posts, followed by Jeep in second with 2,139 posts and Cadillac in third with 1,775 posts. 



October Welcome

Happy Halloween, dear painters of the flesh canvas. Finally, we are approaching a day where everyone will wear a mask without bitching. Swoon.   


It’s been a rough go for this industry in particular, what with the Covid-19 epidemic forcing months-long closures around the country and deterring would-be customers from showing up to get new work done. We know that a significant number of you have been significantly impacted and we know it’s not easy to surmount that level of adversity on the business level.  


We also know that we’ve said this repeatedly now, but if you’re one of the lucky ones who have continued to thrive, we hope and pray you’ll consider your fellow artists and see if there isn’t a way you can help some of them make it through. We’re all in this together.    


Meanwhile, we’re doing what we can to make things just a bit easier for you. Since we’re all trying to avoid unnecessary physical interaction as much as possible, we’ve put together SHOP PAIN Magazine for your convenience. Shop PAIN Magazine is a brand-new platform that enables tattoo and piercing artists to purchase all of the supplies they need in one place without having touch or breathe anyone else’s covids. No mask required! 


Meanwhile, enjoy this, the latest issue of your favorite magazine for the body modification industry. We’ll see you in November.  

Communication and Consent 

Dear Ms. Angel, 

I feel totally horrible about something that happened and I need your help: A lady had a VCH piercing and she couldn’t get the jewelry back in after an MRI. She wanted a reinsertion, and if it wasn’t open, to get repiercedSomehow, it accidentally ended up being both.  


I couldn’t get a taper in from the top, but it went in partway from the undersideAnd when I pushed (not even that hard), it came all the way through and somehow made a new hole on the top, higher up than the old one!!! I figured I might as well finish the jobI had to get a bigger taper and stretch it up more to get jewelry in. The client said that this hurt way worse and took a lot longer than her first piercing, which is not surprisingThis so embarrassing but I didn’t actually tell her what happened. It looked great and she left with pretty gemstone jewelry in a VCH piercing, so I figured it was all good. 


Then she called because it was still really painful and swollen more than a week later. She sent me a photo and it is noticeable that the jewelry is sitting in a new spot on top and not in the original placeNow the old hole looks swollen and like there’s a pimple inside it. I feeso bad about the whole situation, but I just didn’t know what to sayShe is supposed to come back in. Did I do the wrong thing? What should I do now? 

Much appreciated! 

  1. E.


Dear E., 

That sounds fairly traumatic for both parties. I understand your reluctance to disclose what occurred, especially since the client left with a VCH piercing, which was her intention when she came to see you. However, it is essential to have the skills (and the fortitude) to communicate effectively and truthfully with clients when something goes wrong. If you do enough volume, an unplanned incident is bound to transpire eventually.  

If something doesn’t go as smoothly as usual during a procedure but everything comes out fine, there may be no need to have a discussion. But if you end up missing your markbadly fumbling a jewelry transfer, or having some other piercing-room glitch—or disasteryou need the ability to be informativeapologeticand reassuring. Being straightforward is best, while avoiding any statements that are likely to induce panic or alarm. 


The time to fess up would have been when you initially realized that the taper had penetrated the tissue and that you’d accidentally forged a new channel. That way, the client would have had the opportunity to make a choice about her preferred course of action. You would have allowed her the benefit of informed consentIt is defined as “agreement or permission to do something from someone who has been given full information about the possible effects or results.i Lacking thisyou made a unilateral decision for her body. In situation that involves such a delicate area, a woundand something unexpectedinformed consent truly is necessary. 


You could have said something like this:

“Are you doing okay? That might have felt pretty tender. Soyou do have a VCH piercing, but something rather unusual has taken place. I was able to use a thin insertion taper to enter your piercing channel from the underside, as it was partially open. However, when I exerted some pressure to advance the taper, it suddenly popped up through the top. Unfortunately, it exited slightly higher than your original piercing. I did not exert much force, but the tissue there is very fine. I apologize if that was uncomfortable. 


Now, I’d like to go over some possibilities with you, and will hand you a mirror so you can see what’s going onOne option is to use a thicker taper now to stretch this channel so that we can insert your jewelry. It will be a lot of pressure and probably quite uncomfortable. But then you will have your VCH done. You should be aware that sometimes piercing near an old hole causes it to become inflamedAlternatively, if you prefer, I can just back out this taper, we’ll let the area heal, and I can repierce you in a few weeks using the usual technique. So, you’d need to wait to get your piercing. The decision is up to you. I’m very sorry this didn’t go as planned. Do you have any questions? 


This way, the client knows what has occurred and is provided with the opportunity to request more information and make her own choice. You will have express consent for your actions going forward. I realize that you found yourself in an unexpected and startling situation and that it was hard to know what to do. It is fine to take a minute to collect your thoughtsbut then you have to get it togetherspeak up, and acknowledge your error. 


It is important to find an equitable way to make it up to the piercee if you cause undue discomfort or pain, or if the piercing comes out improperly placed. That could mean offering a redo, a refund for the piercing fee, discount on jewelry, and/or a free future piercing, for example.  


Since she is planning to return, you have the opportunity to come clean. I think an earnest and humble apology is in order. Explain what happened and admit that it surprised you so much you didn’t simply know what to say at the time. Based on the description, you should encourage her to try warm, moist compresses to resolve the issue with the prior piercing. Instructions are available on my website.ii 


Though it can be challenging, being truthful when we make a mistake is the ethical path. Your failure to address this situation watantamount to lying. That is particularly inappropriate when a choice must be made that has potential consequences. Informed consent gives your clients agency over their own bodies, which is always appropriate when it comes to piercing, and it is especially vital in unexpected circumstances. 

The Fiery Furnaces


Rehearsing My Choir (2005) It’s the opposite of a Christmas present. Today’s indie-rock scene sports some incredible and varied experimental music. Deerhoof’s frenzied squall, Animal Collective’s hippie folk and Lightning Bolt’s noisy, well, noise are a few reasons why rock lovers should realize they’re living in a golden era. And even the straight-ahead rock bands are embracing a special kind of chaos. Did you see Future Islands’ recent performance on Letterman? If not, do yourself a favor, put this magazine down (sorry, editors!), and pull it up on YouTube. Seriously, I’ll wait. It’s thrilling, right? To see someone put themselves out there like that? Experimentation is great. Now is a time when CBGB’s should be embracing these exciting new sounds instead of going broke by letting derivative pop-punkers headline the same stage David Byrne and Joey Ramone stood on at the onset of their careers. Instead of turning the thing into a forgotten museum of a once-special age. Weird rock is a good thing, and the Fiery Furnaces are card-carrying members of this miscreant club. From the oddball pop of Gallowsbird’s Bark (2003) to the space-prog of Blueberry Boat (2004) to EP (2005), Matt and Eleanor Friedberger have to this point gotten better with each release while shoving the proverbial envelope right off the table. More than that, it’s connected with people, clearly a sign that these strange sounds are something we’ve needed, even if we didn’t necessarily have the vocabulary to ask for them previously. And it’s often brash to make an umbrella statement such as “sometimes experimentation goes too far,” but that’s exactly what happened with the Friedberger siblings’ third full-length, Rehearsing My Choir. A theme album of sorts, Rehearsing My Choir is based around the mid-20th century memories of the Friedbergers’ eighty-three-year-old grandmother, Olga Sarantos. Pushing it a step further, Sarantos, in her world-weary speaking voice, handles many of the album’s vocals. Meanwhile, the Friedbergers do their usual – Eleanor even plays her vocals off of her grandmother’s. On paper, it’s a fascinating thought, and no doubt an endearing, delightful familial document that will be cherished and revisited by various Friedbergers for generations to come. Thrilling prospect though it may be, the choice to commercially release this piece is dubious at best. Many of the lyrics are intriguing, almost poetic, but even the most complicated and beautiful poetry wouldn’t stand up over a background of seemingly random and ever-changing music. At times, the accompaniment shows brilliant flourishes of the Furnaces’ back catalogue, but much of it is musical mush with little-to-no vocal melody. Think awkward high school play put to music written for a different awkward high school play. Or, perhaps better yet, grandma talking about her life while the grandkids beat out a rudimentary tune on pots, pans, you know, whatever just lying around the living room. If you’ve listened to “Last Call,” the final, lengthy track off Kanye West’s The College Dropout (or if you’re familiar with hip-hop-album skits in general), you know how this album wears on the ears. The first time through, it’s creative, interesting, even funny. But on repeated listens, each track becomes something to skip through as the longing for the good stuff becomes stronger. Unfortunately for this album, the problem isn’t a skit that can be skipped. It’s not a batch of kids entertaining granny (and vice versa) from which you can escape, into the kitchen, for another beer and a few moments of silence. Matt and Eleanor’s output slowed considerably in the wake of Rehearsing My Choir, which seems telltale of something bigger. Hard to say what that might be, but their recent solo careers seem to suggest that the Fiery Furnaces are on hold for some good time. Who knows, though? Maybe they’ll again strike experimental gold. Until then, we’re left with this ambitious, unlistenable, admirable disappointment.


No More Tears (or Tattoos) for Ozzy 


The Prince of Darkness is going soft on tattoos — or maybe he’s just getting more sensitive with age. At 71, Ozzy Osbourne — whose tattoos include “OZZY” on his knuckles, a Chinese dragon and vampiric skull on his chest, “Sharon” on his right arm — still hasn’t inked his face and never plans on doing so.
“Anything above the collar should be stopped.  To be honest it makes you look dirty,” the Black Sabath frontman said on his Sirius XM Radio show Ozzy’s Boneyard. 

“They reckon that as you get older it hurts more,” he continued. “When I started getting this fucking sleeve I was like, ‘I am too old, stop’. I was 50 something and I was like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ When he got my elbows I was like, ‘What are you doing? What are you paying this fucking asshole to do?'” 


Covid Creating New Mindset About Tattoos 


While some tattoo studios may still be closed due to pandemic restrictions, there’s actually a silver lining to the dark cloud. According to an MSN Lifestyle story, people are ready to show the world that they are virus survivors. Searches for “tattoos” are up 48% according to Google Trends, and in some cities where tattooing is allowed, bookings have doubled and even quadrupled.  

Shawn Brown, owner of Whistlestop Tattoo in Hyattsville, Maryland said in an interview with WIJA that he attributes the boost in business to a pandemic mindset, people wanting to take advantage of something they’ve always wanted to do but never did, and are capitalizing on the moment, not knowing what tomorrow might bring. 

This nagging itch to get inked isn’t something that surprises Dr. Vinita Mehta, a DC-based psychologist who specializes in treating depression, anxiety, and life transitions. “I think we would expect some kind of spike in tattooing just because so many people are going through something stressful right now,” she told MSN. 


What Did We Just Say? 


After spending months in isolation during the pandemic, when 103-year-old Dorothy Pollack was allowed to leave her nursing home she had a few things on her to-do list.She got her first tattoo, a frog, to celebrate her birthday. After being in isolation for so long, she said out of nowhere she decided she wanted a tattoo. 

Why a frog? Pollack says it’s the one thing she loves more than beer and burgers. 


Opening a Studio Near Campus is a Smart Move  


Looking to open a new tattoo studio? You might think about going back to school. According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 69% of college students polled obtain a tattoo and/or body piercing between the ages of 18 and 22. Opening a tattoo studio in close proximity to campus will expose the business to college students and ensure a steady stream of walk-in traffic. Locating the studio near bus or tram lines is also important to make sure students without vehicles have convenient access to the location. 


Should Athletes Sweat Tattoos? 


Tattoos are almost part of the uniform for athletes, and to some represent an expression of strength and power. To a physiologist, however, that tattoo might represent an impediment to the sweat glands working properly. 

Researchers at Alma College in Michigan applied reactive patches to tattooed and untattooed skin and found that the tattooed area sweats half as much as the untattooed side. The composition of the sweat was also different, with perspiration from the tattooed skin containing nearly twice as much sodium as sweat from the un-inked side. 

In med-speak, researchers said, “Lingering inflammatory cells [from the initial tattoo itself change the chemical environment within that area of the skin, in ways that slow the response of the glands and affect how much sodium is incorporated from nearby cells into the sweat.” 

The study concluded it is “unlikely” that small tattoos would impede perspiration enough to contribute to overheating. But the case may be different for heavily tattooed athletes, and may be a reason that various studies have shown that players suffer a 3-5% loss in performance after getting tattooed.