FinalNerveMagazine

maddie.z

May 2023│Volume 6│Issue 10

WOMEN¤TATTOOS¤CULTURE

INK FOR

INDEPENDENCE

Filipino tribal tattooist

Whang-od Oggay has

built an economy on the

back of skin art. 24


7 History

The Feminist

History of Women

19

and Tattoos

Style

High Dive

Apparel//Our Story

31 Gear

Meet the Artists

Combining

Tattoos and Tech

45 Art

What are The

Different Types of

Tattoo Art-styles

TATTOOED

MODELS ARE

PEOPLE TOO

A DAY WITH TATTOO MODEL

MONAMI FROST

58 Culture

A Tattoo Won’t hurt

Your Job Prospects

79 Infographic

Differences Between

Rotary and Coil

104

Machines

Controversy

How to Design a

Tattoo That Works

With Your Scars

136 Groundbreakers

Watching Tattoos

Go From Rebellious

to Mainstream

INK FOR

INDEPENDENCE

A 101 YEAR-OLD TATTOO ARTIST

IS TEACHING GIRLS

HER ANCIENT TRADE

SELF-LOVE

THE NEW AGE OF TATTOOS

IS ALL ABOUT IT,

AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO

BLOOD, INK,

AND TEARS

WOMEN AND MINORITIES

MAKING THEIR MARK IN

A MALE DOMINATED WORLS

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EDITOR

Madeline Zeman

LITERARY EDITOR

Lexie Koch

Lauren Pilaar

ART DIRECTORS

Holly Tienken

COVER DESIGN

The Field Museum

CONTENT MANAGER

Nicholas Houtz

TECH MANAGER

Luke Gerard

CONTRIBUTORS

Caroline Fletcher

Gabriella Picariello

PHOTOGRAPHER

Mark Fullman

DISTRIBUTOR

Carissa Loser

editor`s

Dear Reader,

With modern technology surfacing and renewed beliefs on social issues, the world of

tattooing remains a traditionally male dominated industry, and one that ridicules women and

their perceived “femininity.” Each issue of Nerve strives to put a spotlight on women within

the tattooed world. Whether you are an alternative model, a tattoo artist, or simply a tattoo

enthusiast, you will find something to empower you and spread enlightenment in this newly

changing time. Let’s break boundaries and show the world how beautiful the artwork on your

skin is. Not only is it an aesthetic choice for some, it can be the essence of what makes you you.

Being tattooed doesn’t have to mean you can’t have the job you have always dreamed of,

or that you aren’t feminine enough. Each and every person is unique in their own way.

Uniqueness is where beauty comes from. In the past, tattoos have been associated with

crime, gangs, and prison, so there is reason for doubt among older generations. But there has

never been a better time for change, and that can start with liberating yourself from societal,

confines, and inspiring others to do the same. This issue will delve into specific stories

and experiences from women all around the world and how they can rise above

discrimination to find empowerment.

Sincerely,

Madeline Zeman

Editor in Chief

777 Tallwood St.

New York, NY 10034

www.nervemagazine.com

follow @NerveMag

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Feature

Option 1

BY: LYNZY BILLING

Filipino tribal tattooist Whang-od Oggay has

built an economy on the back of skin art.

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After a grueling hike through the jungle, traversing

valleys and vibrant rice terraces to the top

of the mountain where the teetering village

awaits, visitors, tourists, and fans arrive sweaty

and gleeful at Buscalan village, Kalinga, in the

Philippines’ far north. Buscalan, which has

narrow dirt walkways, limited electricity, and no

cell phone service, is the most popular destination

in Kalinga Province. Tourism to the village has

increased significantly from an estimated 30,000

in 2010 to 170,000 in 2016.

Whang-od Oggay emerges from her wooden hut in the distance,

and there is a literal rush towards her. Everyone wants a glimpse

of this quirky, fastidious centenarian. She is known worldwide as

a living legend and the last tribal tattoo artist to hold the title of

Mambabatok—the name given to traditional tattooists by the Kalinga

ethnic group for thousands of years. “When you die, a tattoo is the

only thing that will remain on your body, so it is a treasure, a treasure

that lasts,” says Oggay.

For over eight decades, Oggay has been single-handedly keeping

the traditions of the Butbut tribe alive through a unique method

of hand-tap tattooing. It is an archaic procedure in which Oggay

uses citrus thorns to prick the skin—either from calamansi, a cross

between citrus and a kumquat, or pomelo tree branch. The thorns

are threaded into a bamb oo reed. Oggay marks the tattoo design on

the skin with a delicate piece of straw. Charcoal and water are mixed

together to make the tribal tattoo ink, which is wiped onto the thorn

and hand tapped into the skin using a 12-inch bamboo hammer.

I travelled to the remote Philippine Cordillera Mountains to learn

about Kalinga tattooing culture from Whang-od Oggay herself.

Kalinga means “outlaw,” which is highly appropriate.During 400

years of occupation by Spain and the U.S., the Kalinga were one of

the few tribes to not come under foreign rule, due to their fighting

skills and contempt for outsiders. Thousands of years ago the

tribe was involved in bloodthirsty battles for land and honor with

neighboring villages. At night, their victorious battles were celebrated

with rice liqueur, drunk out of the skulls of enemies, and dancing to

the beat of gongs made out of human jaw bones.

Triumphant Butbut head-hunters and male warriors of the

indigenous tribe would go to the mambabatok in Buscalan, Kalinga

to get the batok (a hand-tapped tattoo), a symbol of their bravery

and courage for protecting their village against enemies, to the extent

of killing them. And the number of tattoos on a warrior was directly

related to the number of heads they took. This tradition has

long since ceased.

Anyone wanting to learn and practice the art

of tattooing has to know what it feels like,

says the Kalinga. They have to experience

the pain in their bodies. For men, a Kalinga

tattoo was traditionally a sign of strength,

wealth and power. But there is also a

romanticism around Filipino tribal tattoos.

Tattoos here represent beauty. A tattoo turns

a girl into a woman, and the more tattoos

you have, the more beautiful you are, says

the Kalinga. “We were tattooed because

we wanted to have sex appeal and to be

attractive to men,” says Oggay. “Many of the

elders here have the same tattoos as their

husbands. It’s a Kalinga tradition for the

wives of warriors to match their tattoos

with their husbands.”

WHEN YOU DIE,

A TATTOO IS

THE ONLY THING

THAT WILL REMAIN

ON YOUR BODY,

SO IT IS A TREASURE, A

TREASURE THAT LASTS.

-Oggay

There are 20 female elders in Buscalan with

full-body tattoos, many of whom received

their first tattoo at just 13. And these women

and their daughters and granddaughters

place a major role in the village.“They are

the breadwinners,” says Oggay. “They work

in the fields and rice terraces. Women are

hardworking and strong, we can carry

heavy loads and do labor work.

If a man can, why not

a woman.

We want to support our families and village,

it is the Kalinga way.” And it is also the

women who carry on the indigenous inking

of the batok.

Oggay was the first female tattoo artist

in Kalinga. But she may not be the last

Mambabatok. Over time there has been

a shift, with young women taking up the

ancient tradition. Through tattooing, they

are economically supporting the whole

village. “The women have more interest and

passion in carrying on this millenniumold

technique,” says Oggay, “And they are

patient. Men cannot be as still and precise

for long periods of time as a woman can.”

Oggay may have spent her whole life

tattooing head-hunters, but these days her

time-honored folk art is practiced on the

countless tourists that visit Buscalan

village each year.

At 101 years of age she moves freely,

indifferent to the public adoration, feeding

her ducks and pounding rice. Visitors sit next

to her posing for pictures with their thumbs

up and sidle up to her to kiss her cheek. Her

fame is undeniable. But no one seems to

really get her attention, which she saves for

her tattooing. “When I was young my friends

and I were always tattooing each other but

my tattoos were always the better ones,” says

Oggay. “Whagay, the Mambabatok from the

neighboring village of Ngibat, tattooed me

when I was 15 years old, he took three days

to tattoo my full body,” says Oggay. “He then

went on to teach me the art of

Kalinga tattooing.”

Oggay never married and has no children.

She does everything on her own in absolute

independence. “I have boyfriends but when

I was 25 years old the man I loved died

during the Japanese occupation, so instead

of marrying another I choose to dedicate

my life to tattooing,” she says. ”Through it

I support myself and my village. In fact, the

proudest moment in my life was when

I started tattooing.”

Thousands of hopeful tourists from all

corners of the earth make the journey

to Buscalan each year to get a “Whangod

tattoo,” having read about her on the

internet. And one must wonder how the

stardom around Oggay, in the Philippines

and globally, affects her and her craft. In

October 2017 Oggay traveled to Manila to

appear at the Manila FAME trade show, an

international showcase for the country’s

artisans. Her appearance received global

criticism globally after a photograph surfaced

on social media showing Oggay sleeping at

the tattoo show after tattooing an estimated

300 trade show attendees in two days. There

was debate over whether Oggay should have

traveled from her remote tribal environment

at her age, and whether she was being

exploited. “It takes years to perfect Kalinga

tattooing,” says Oggay. “It was an honor to be

invited and I wanted to see what Manila was

like,” she says. “The organizers said I should

stop and rest, but I didn’t want to waste the

continued on page 85

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culture

A Tattoo Won’t Hurt

Your Job Prospects

by: Alison Beard

Michael T. French of the University of Miami and

colleagues surveyed more than 2,000 people

in the United States and found that those with

tattoos were no less likely to be employed than

their uninked counterparts, and that average

earnings were the same for both groups.

In fact, tattooed men were slightly more likely

to have jobs than other men.

PROFESSOR FRENCH, DEFEND YOUR RESEARCH.

French: We went in expecting to find a negative relationship

between tattoos and success in the labor market. My

coauthors, and I thought we might see a wage penalty or

employment difficulties. But in this analysis we found no

significant correlation between body art and employment.

Regardless of size, number, visibility, or offensiveness, tattoos

don’t seem to stop people from finding jobs or bringing in as

much pay as everyone else. We even saw two small positive

correlations: Men who had tattoos were 7% more likely to be

employed than men who didn’t have them, and both men and

women with tattoos worked more hours per week.

WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED?

There’s been a lot of research on the career effects of other

personal characteristics—race, age, beauty, health, height,

weight, and disabilities—and of behaviors such as drinking,

smoking, and drug use. But nothing much had been done

on tattoos. We thought we might get different results by

asking about tattoos you could see or that were especially

large or considered offensive. Our initial hypothesis was also

informed by studies suggesting that tattoos are taboo in the

workplace. One showed that tattooed people were perceived

to be less honest, motivated, and intelligent; in another, 80%

of HR managers and recruiters expressed negative feelings

about visible ink on prospective employees. Until recently,

tattoos may have been associated with rebellion, criminal

activity, or gang membership—nothing you’re looking for in

an employee.

BUT TIMES HAVE CHANGED?

Yes, some of those studies are more than a decade old. Since

then, body art has gained much more acceptance as a form

of personal expression, just like your clothing, jewelry, or

hairstyle. Among our survey respondents, 23% of men and

37% of women had tattoos. Some estimates suggest that there

is a tattooed person in 40% of U.S. households, up from

21% in 1999. I’d also note that, as economists have shown

in other contexts, stated preferences don’t always match

revealed preferences. You might say you’d hire someone

without tattoos over someone with them for a particular job.

But when it comes right down to it, you’ll choose the most

qualified person, body art or not. Even the U.S. Marines now

allow recruits to have visible tattoos anywhere but the face,

because when tattoos were banned, the organization found

it was losing out on good candidates.

BLUE-COLLAR VS. WHITE-COLLAR?

That’s something I wish we’d asked about. A 2010 study

did show that consumers perceived visible tattoos to be

inappropriate in white-collar professions but not in bluecollar

ones. And it’s possible that the people we surveyed

were mostly in lower-paying jobs, since they’d volunteered

to answer our questions for a small fee on Mechanical

Turk. Their average annual salary was $36,485 for men and

$25,930 for women. In some types of jobs body art might be

seen as less of a negative or even a positive. But I suspect that

nowadays most people think it’s OK for even doctors,

lawyers, and accountants to have tattoos.

WOMEN, TOO?

Yep. Women accounted for two-thirds of our sample,

but we found no employment or wage penalty for

those with body art.

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