interview with Russ Foxx | body modification | Vancouver  09/11/2009 

Q: When did you started your journey in this business?
A: I started body piercing around the year 2000, and over time have taken up many different forms of body art. I have been practicing body suspensions since 2003.

Q: What would you say to the people who look at this very skeptically?
A: All individuals are entitled to their own opinions and freedom of speech as far as I’m concerned. If a person chooses to modify their body or practice suspensions, this should not be hurting anyone else or infringing upon anyone else’s freedoms. To each; their own.

Q: What is the difference between tattooing and branding?
A: Tattooing and branding are two completely different forms of body art. Tattooing deals with needles repeatedly pushing ink and/or pigments into the dermis which can create all sorts of colorful artistic outcomes. Branding is a form of artistic scarification, most commonly practiced by strike or electro-cautery methods. This art form either burns or vaporizes the dermis to create an artistically planned scar.


Q: Which part of the body is most dangerous for branding?
A: Caution should be taken when branding any part of the body, as careless work has the potential to cause damage to muscle tissue and/or any number of other vital organs below the dermis.

Q: Would you say that your body modifications express your personality?
A: Some of my modifications are functional, but some simply serve aesthetic purposes. For example, my split tongue and apadravya piercing both serve sexual functions as well as aesthetics. My magnet implant simply serves a function. This implant has created a new sense of “magnetic vision” as a 6th sense I was not born with. My sub dermal horn implants serve the function of promoting and representing my art as well as having aesthetic value. Many of my tattoos also represent different changes in and aspects of my life.


Q: Is there any special aftercare treatment when it comes to tongue splits?
A: A fresh tongue split is an oral wound, so basically the same diligent care should be taken as with a fresh tongue piercing.

Q: Which is more painful scarification or tattooing?
A: Different people have different thresholds of how much pain that they can endure and how long they can endure it for. I have personally found that branding hurt me more than cutting did, and cutting was fairly close to tattooing in sensation. There were differences in sensation between tattooing and cutting, but overall the pain threshold was the same for me. I believe heavily in mind over matter and feel that if a person wants to achieve something badly enough, they will find the ability to endure exceptional amounts of pain to get to their desired destination.


Q: Are there any anesthetics allowed to use?
A: Some artists use various types of topical anesthetics prior to a number of different procedures including tattooing, scarification and body piercing. I personally do not use anesthetics with any of my body art. I feel that pain is a part of the experience that should be respected.

Q: What is the risk of HIV infection by scarification?
A: When scarification or any other form of body art is practiced in health board approved facilities by knowledgeable practitioners with blood-borne pathogens and infectious disease training, the risk of being infected by HIV or any other benchmark infectious disease is slim to none. My home studio ( takes every precaution in guaranteeing our clients’ as well as our artists’ safety and personal well being at all times. Due to the fact that scarification is often larger wounds, diligent care must be taken with aftercare to be proactive in avoiding any infections after leaving the studio the work was done in.

Q: Do you think is necessary to have any medical background to perform this procedure?
A: I feel that although a medical background would indeed be beneficial to a scarification artist, ethical boundaries that apply to medical licensing would hinder their ability to perform such art forms. We have a double-edged sword scenario here in North America.

Q: What do you think about the claim that body modification is right, and that employers should not be allowed to discriminate on it, be it for freedom of expression rights (as BME generally defends) or for freedom of religion rights (as the Church of Body Modification generally makes noise about)?
A: I feel that if practiced for spiritual reasons, body modification should definitely be considered a religious right. In my opinion, body modification should always be considered a constitutional right when practiced for positive reasons and/or outcomes. In my eyes, this is what differentiates body “modification” from “mutilation”. In regards to employment vs. body modification, I feel that employers should not have any right to discriminate against body modifications as long as said modifications do not pose a valid safety concern to the company itself, its employees or its clientele. I feel that if a company can prove that its employees’ body modifications directly cause the company to lose revenue, then body modification can be a valid discrepancy to employment in that case.


Q: In the past, people would keep most of their modifications private, and not start messing with public skin until they were retired. Nowadays, young people tend to start their sleeve tattoos at the wrist and work up, and pierce their faces long before piercing their genitals. Why do you think this change happened?
A: I see body modification slowly becoming more and more accepted in today’s society. Certain body modification trends are becoming socially accepted that were considered taboo in the past. I feel that this is great for our Western culture which has long forgotten its historic body modification practices and sense of healthy self expression.

Q: Obviously you guys travel a lot to body mod-related events around the world. How do you feel this has affected your own practices, and do you consider it reciprocal?
A: I feel that traveling is a necessity for a progressive artist. As an avid traveler, I feel that different cultures and countries of the world always inspire the furthering of my art. I take any opportunity I can to share my insight and experience to other artists around the world.

Q: How do you think the body modification world will evolve? What are the major tendencies coming up?
A: In the future I hope to see the body modification world continue to share information with one another and grow under healthy and positive light. I hope to see artists stand united in order to increase our strength against government invasions and violations of our industry and artistic practices. I hope to keep seeing our society’s skewed views of body modification and spiritual practices being fought and overpowered.

Thank you for the interview Iva.
You are welcome!