Jason Barnum The sentencing of a convicted criminal with an eyeball tattoo in an Alaskan court has drawn attention to an unusual form of facial decoration – one that is less than a decade old, but winning new converts all the time.
Jason Barnum, 39, who pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a policeman, has ornate tattoos on his head and part of his face – teeth on his cheek, an eyeball in middle of his forehead. But even more dramatically, the white of his right eye has been tattooed jet black.
Arguing for the prosecution, Anchorage Police Department Chief Mark Mew urged the judge to take a look at Barnum’s face which, he said, showed the convicted criminal had "decided a long time ago that his life was about being hostile to people".
But, in tattooing his eyeball, was Barnum really expressing hostility to the rest of society? And if our eyes really are the window to our soul what else might a tattooed eyeball say about its owner?
The man who first experimented with injecting ink into an eyeball is a US tattoo artist who goes by the name of Luna Cobra. Far from wanting to look evil, the original goal was to look like the blue-eyed characters from the cult science fiction film, Dune. “Start Quote
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"There used to be a private body modification convention that happened every few years in Canada," Luna Cobra says.
"That year, an old friend had Photoshopped a picture of his eyes to look blue like in Dune. I told him, ‘I think I can do that for real.’"
The next day, Luna Cobra took a syringe and practised on three brave volunteers."I’m aware of how insane that sounds, but I’ve been doing this type of thing for my whole life so I wasn’t coming from nowhere with […]