"I put shit on my body that means something to me…"

36 Tattoos: “As the start of hoops season nears, well over 50 percent of NBAers are sporting tattoos. David Shields deciphers what’s written on the body:”

According to one more arbiter of hip, Rolling Stone, Paul Booth is “the tattoo artist of choice for rock stars who love death, perversion, and torture.” His “black-and-gray tattoos of blasphemous violence echo the same nihilist madness of the metalheads he inks,” musicians from Slipknot, Mudvayne, Slayer, Pantera, and Soulfly. His East Village shop features cobwebs, rusty meat hooks, a mummified cat, medieval torture devices, a gynecologist’s black leather chair with silver stirrups, a human skull given to him by a Swedish gravedigger, and a note from a customer written in blood. His arms are covered in tattoos, his face is studded with silver loops, and he’s enormously fat. Some of his most popular tattoos are “weeping demons, decapitated Christ figures, transvestite nuns severing their own genitals, cascading waves of melting skulls, muscled werewolves raping bare-chested women.” His clients come to him “because they share his frustration and rage, his feelings of anger and alienation. He understands those emotions and brings them to the surface with his needle. His gift lies in transforming the dark side of his clients�their hurt, their torments�into flesh.” Evan Seinfeld, the bassist for Biohazard, said, “We’re all trying to release our negative energy, our frustration with the world. Through our art and our music, we’re getting it all out.” Shawn Crahan of Slipknot said, “I have a lot of dark ideas in my head. Paul develops those same emotions in very powerful pieces.” Booth said, “If I woke up one day and became happy, I probably wouldn’t tattoo anymore, because I wouldn’t see a need to do it. I would lose my art if I became happy.” Village Voice