We’ve all seen the video with Lady Gaga prancing around the place half-naked (as usual) screaming out the lyrics that indeed she was “Born This Way.” Shocking. Not. So I’m sure you’ve seen the bit in the video when she’s pulling around the jaw of poor bloke and skeleton-man appropriately named Zombie Boy.
For those of you who don’t know who Zombie Boy is, here’s a little run down. Twenty-Six year old Rick Genest grew up in a working class family in Chateguay Quebec, and is the oldest of two siblings. Enough of the fairy tale story. Fact of the matter is… Rick is turning himself into a zombie. So far, more than 24 hours of tattoos – costing over £4,075 Canadian – have got him halfway there and made him a minor celebrity on the internet, where people can’t decide if he’s a body modification visionary or mentally ill sicko. I’m not sure which to go for either. His tattoos have equally intrigued and inspired a cult following—more than 30,000 followers on Twitter and 65 groups/ pages to him on Facebook. He has sparked a revolution with fans who see beyond the visceral and want to know everything they can about the mysterious performer, model and muse known as ‘Zombie Boy.’
Apparently his influence for his tattoos is none other than his love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He wanted to be like one and live in sewers. Don’t think he got the memo-Turtles don’t look like that. “As I got older I fell in love with zombies and wanted to become one. Oh, and I love George A Romero’s Living Dead movies. ” There we go. Explains it. If you love something THAT much you’ll go to the extreme. Right? “The closest thing I could get to becoming a zombie was to get tattooed like one. I see my tattoos as celebrating the art of obscenity and the macabre.” Right..
Zombie Boy got his first tattoo at 16 on his left shoulder, sparking a fascination so deep that it’s passed on to other parts of his body. By 19 he was committed to his full body tattoo project and stayed loyal to Montreal artist Frank Lewis, who designed the majority of his body over the next six years. Eighty percent of his body is covered, including intricate designs of an entire skeleton (skull included) and is thematically, the depiction of a body decomposing—complete with flesh eating insects. To date Genest has spent over $17,000.00 on tattooing his body and will continue until his tapestry is finished.
Zombie Boy plans to get more tattoos. In his frank interview with tattoo magazine Bizarre, he says “I still want to get my brain shaded in. I want to get it all nice and grey like hamburger meat. And then I want to get Frankenstein bolts sticking out of my head around the rim of where my scalp’s ‘cut off’. And I’ve thought about getting my eyes blacked in. I’m thinking that in five years from now, if no one’s gone blind from it by then I’ll go and get my eyes tattooed black, so there’d just be big holes in my face. As for tattoos, I’ve still got to get under my arms done, then I’ve got to finish the intestines and get a contour added to the demon on my chest. I’m going to get bones sticking out of my knees, my toes done in skeleton print, and have patches of muscle scattered around – with worms coming out of the wounds.” Gross! That’s not all. He plans to do some other rather gross things too which for you guys be thankful I’m not writing up here.
Since becoming an international hit, he’s appeared in catwalks and shows with his new best pal Lady Gaga and in the Spring 2011 he was awarded the Guinness World Book of Records for the most insects tattooed on a human body (178) as well as the most bones inked on a human body (138), and he then returned to his local Tattoo artist Lewis to additions to his live walking art project. Most recently Genest is unrecognisable in the new DermaBlend advert in which he promotes the brands concealer and make-up remover. He’s seen in the video being totally tattoo free. If you haven’t seen the video check it out here:
The video called “How do you judge a book?” shows Genest un-tattooed and bared all in the buff. The Canadian model is covered in skeletal tattoos that make his body resemble a decomposing corpse, and all is revealed as he begins to wipe away the DermaBlend concealer with the brand’s make-up remover. Named as the number one dermatologist recommended coverage brand, DermaBlend’s product certainly does what it says on the tin as at the beginning of the short clip, there is not a trace of Genest’s permanent body ink. The unusual video, which is almost three minutes long, is sped up to show a team of make-up artists removing the product from his arms, face and body to finally reveal the full extent of his Zombie body art.
I don’t know about you boys and girls but the whole over-the-top tattoo thing is a tad freaky! What do you think? Body art or body scare?