An interview with Sharkhands Joe, a real BODYMODS lover.
MasterMarc: Hi Joe. How are things going? If I would ask an illustrator to draw me a picture of a young and cool punk musician i would get a pic on which we could recognize you. How many piercings and tattoos are adorn your body and can you tell us, how have you started with it?
Joe: Hey MasterMarc, things are really great right now thanks, and thank you for the compliment!. Right now I only have 3 piercings actually, my ears and tongue, but over the years have worn pretty much all of the common places you see on people like lip, nostrils, septum, eyebrow, navel and so on. On the Tattoo front, wow, I guess I haven’t counted in a very long time, I tend to give my answer to this question in how much of my body is covered or how many hours Tattooing I have experienced – which would be upwards of 100 hours tattooing at the moment, which has led me to have both of my arms covered, my chest and stomach, neck (all round) my right leg, and the lower part of my left leg and foot which I have just started. I guess this whole transition started in 2001 when I was 10 years old and asked my Mum if I could get my ears pierced, and she let me. My ears were my only piercings until I was 16 and the week that I finished school I got my lip pierced, and it went on from there until I reached 18 and got my first Tattoo – legally and by a great artist! which wasn’t common amongst my friends at the time.
MasterMarc: I see you’ve already been picky with 18 years. 🙂 Can you tell us, why you have removed the piercings you’ve had?
Joe: Haha, I have been picky yes. To the point of my actually having the same piercing 3 times! after I kept deciding I did not like it then changing my mind. The reason I removed most happened around 3 years ago, I developed a hernia in my groin and had to get surgery to correct it, this meant that, for the operation I was going to have to remove all body jewellery. Which I did. After I woke up from the anaesthetic my first though was not to get my piercings back in, and as a result my nostril piercings on both sides, my ‘Smiley’ and septum holes all healed themselves over the 4 days I had them out for afterwards. I thought about getting them re pierced but at the time I was in a mind set, and a ‘way of life’ due to my relationship at the time where it faded from my mind. I did however after that incident still have my 2 snakebite lip piercings, my tongue bar, my stretched ears and the outer rim of my left ear, the rim piercing went not too long afterwards due to it causing me discomfort using large studio headphones, and I removed my lip rings when I received a promotion at work – I wasn’t asked to, I just felt I would look more ‘grown up’ and ‘Professional’ without them, despite me already having a very noticeable throat tattoo at this point, but it made sense in my head at the time! As for other piercings, when stretching my ears the other stud piercings I had above the holes I was stretching slowly became 1 larger hole as I got into the bigger sizes – which sounds painful but it really wasn’t! My eyebrow was pierced by a questionable studio, but when you’re 16 you don’t really think about those things and it ended up rejecting and has left my with a noticeable scar on my right eyebrow – which I can make up cool stories of other ways i got it to impress people! And my navel piercing that didn’t heal well, due to myself not taking the best care of it and eventually getting fed up and taking it out myself.
MasterMarc: Taking piercings out to look more “grown up” …. are you a philistine? 😉 What was your motivation to do the piercings? Why do you like it?
Joe: Well, a lot of the bands I listened to back then had a certain look, with piercings, Tattoos, certain hairstyles – and lets face it, we all wanted to look like the bands we loved when we were 15! It was also a way of making myself different, because I was too young for tattoos I latched on to piercings as a way of standing out, not for the purpose of people to pay attention to me, just so I was different. I never wanted to be just another person, and I know i’m not the only guy with stretched ears, or piercings or tattoos, but with every single one that I got it made me a little bit more unique. I always imagine it like viewing the population of the world through computer spreadsheet, where you can filter it out – people with stretched ears 5%, people with stretched ears and a tattoo sleeve 3%, people with stretched ears, a tattoo sleeve and a neck tattoo 0.5% and so on if you know what I mean. I’m slowly trying to get that metaphorical percentage down to just me.
MasterMarc: Has it something to do with self confidance?
Joe: Of course, I didn’t realise it at the time that’s for sure. I was a skinny teenager who suffered from acne and had braces and glasses. So I was looking for any reason to have better qualities than that. The only thing that has changed since then is the braces part! But I am far more confident now, half down to life making its mark and the other half is the ‘shield’ that my tattoos give me.
MasterMarc: Nowadays your piercings and tattoos are very visible. How has life changed with it? How are the reactions you get?
Joe: Well despite it becoming more and more common place for people to have visible tattoos and piercings, I still, on a daily basis, turn heads in the street and have people stare. I don’t mind people asking questions as long as they arnt stupid ones, like ‘did that hurt’, but people don’t do that, and a lot of now friends say they saw me as quite intimidating before they knew me. I wish it wasn’t this way, but I have come to accept that it is, and it makes me look at the world in a negative way, that people still have these wrong opinions about mods.
MasterMarc: Did that hurt? :… 🙂 Of course did it, but my question is, if the pain is also part of the things you like? To suffer first to get rewarded with the result?
Joe: At first I did enjoy the pain. It was all part of the experience – a rite of passage if you will. But now after having a fair few it’s safe to say I am no longer a fan of the pain! And I feel like I’ve already given my share of blood and tears.
MasterMarc: I’m sure you look good in tears. Do you hany piercings in your mind you haven’t done till now but you would really like to try?
Joe: I’ve always been curious of a Prince Albert piercing, and nipple bars – purely for the aesthetics though. But after working at a tattoo and piercing shop and seeing them be done, and the expressions that the customers had on their face and the screams they let out! I’ve been almost entirely put off both. I’ve also wanted a dermal anchor for awhile but wouldn’t know where to have it.
MasterMarc: Now you’re exaggerating. Prince Alberts aren’t so hard to do …. and at the end it is the piercing you have least troubles with, because your desinfecting it allways you’re peeing. What have you done at the pericing studio?
Joe: I was training to be a tattoo artist, and attempted to try and pick up piercing on the way through. I was there for 2 years and gained a lot of confidence and became the person I am today, even if it didn’t really go anywhere career wise.
MasterMarc: Out of your experiences at the piercing and tattoo studio: What is the biggest mistake newbies can do with their first tattoo?
Joe: a personal pet peeve of mine, was people coming into the shop and asking a sleeve – then asking what they should get. They simply wanted the look of a tattoo sleeve and not actually care about the design or any meaning behind it, the style was usually what was popular at the time which mainly was the black and grey religious style made popular by David Beckham, and they would usually show no sign of being religious either. That is a mistake worth missing.
MasterMarc: I am sure it is a mistake you haven’t done. Do you have an overall plan for your tattoos? Can you tell us, what do you want to express with your tattoos?
Joe: I don’t really have any grand plan for my body. When I started I only really wanted the 1 tattoo, and then a few months later I wanted another, and it kept going from there. I never planned to end up covered in tattoos, it’s just slowly happening. As to what I’m trying to express. Me. My ups, my downs, my personality, my beliefs, my likes, my loves. Anything that makes me, me! Not all of my tattoos have a deep wel of meaning, but they don’t need it. Each has its own meaning, big or small, regardless of wether or not people know or even understand it. I know, and that’s why I have them.
MasterMarc: Can you show us your first tattoo, the current one and two of your favourits and tell us the story behind?
Joe: My first tattoo was script across my chest – probably not the best place to start, it was certainly painful. It reads ‘With Eyes Wide Open’ and that is a reminder for me to live my life with eyes wide open, not to be ignorant or anything and try and see the beautiful things we have. The tattoo that I have recently started is at the bottom of my left leg, it’s clearly unfinished but the concept is rough waters, and it’s going to be pretty much this all the way up to my hip, a lot of people think it’s a terrible idea and a ‘waste’ of room, but I can’t think of anything that would be more beautiful that simplistic crashing waves covering a quarter of my body. A couple of favourites of mine are my rooster, which is a dedication to my favourite band of all time – and it’s how band tattoos should be done in my opinion, not obvious and no logo! And another would be the tattoo that started my Internet personality career off, my shark. It’s on my right hand, I am right handed and it shows that I can act violent and strong without thinking, and on my left hand is an eagle, a very different animal to the shark, it’s precise and clever.
MasterMarc: I see, your body is like a photo album sharing moments and telling stories. But can you explain us, what you mean if you’re talking about your internet personality career?
Joe: Well after coming up with the name Sharkhands as a band name whilst drunk with friends, I found tumblr shortly afterwards. And started using social media and getting my image out there, it ha led me to a large following on tumblr and Instagram. And got me modelling jobs, and very recently the opportunity to start a YouTube channel.
MasterMarc: I think you should tell us, what your projects are and were we can see more of you, Joe.
Joe: Well, you can see my main outlet at the moment which is Tumblr. You can find me on Instagram / Twitter / YouTube where I am Joe Sharkhands, and my snapchat is JJ-Rekka.
I plan on releasing my first video on YouTube in the next 4-6 weeks, for anyone that’s a fan of music or dry comedy and anyone that wants to learn more about me.
MasterMarc: Last but not least, what will be the next bodymods and what is the most crazy bodymod you’re interested in … but probably you’re still not ready for it?
Joe: I will definitely be getting more tattoos that’s pretty much a guarantee! Maybe a piercing in the future, although there’s nothing planned. As for more extreme mods, I’ve always been interested in under skin silicone implants, like a heart shaped implant to go underneath where I have a heart tattoo on my arm, though this is very uncommon in England, I’ve never seen one in person and I’m not aware of anyone that performs such a procedure.
MasterMarc: Hey Joe, it was great to talk to you. I wish you all the best for your future and please inform us, when your first video will be published. And of course we will be happy to know, how your body art will look in several months. 🙂