Brandon works at Fillmore Tattoo & Piercing, California, as a freehand body piercer, which means he works without skin clamps (fans of the method say they prefer the more direct feel). He learned his many skills from boss and friend Shawn O’Hare – the expert who rid him of his brow.
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“Shawn’s performed many controversial mods but even he was shocked at my request,” says Brandon. “He refused at first, but I managed to convince him I’d put a lot of thought into the matter and I was certain that I was ready to commit to this dramatic facial alteration.”
“I’ve disliked the natural appearance of my eyebrows for as long as I can remember,” Brandon tells me. “I thought about tattooing the skin under them, but I didn’t want the hassle of plucking or shaving to keep the ink visible. I considered a scarification design running through them, but I’d still have to trim and tweezer the hairs growing round the scar tissue. I settled on removing my brows completely, leaving eyebrow-shaped scars.”
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To my knowledge, Brandon’s the first guy to have undergone this extremely hardcore procedure. Shawn knew he had to proceed with caution, and called his mentor, Steve Haworth, the mods legend who invented the ‘Metal Mohawk’ – rows of transdermal scalp implants, as sported by Samppa von Cyborg – and who’s known for his surgical precision.
After a long conversation, Steve and Shawn agreed that skin peeling was the way to go; this is a form of scarification in which areas of skin are completely scalpelled away, rather than just sliced into. The mod was especially complicated, though, as the skin around the eye moves around a lot, making it hard for Shawn to cut out an accurate shape. Eyebrow hair follicles are also very deeply rooted.
Brandon has had extensive amounts of scarification work done elsewhere on his body, yet he had to treat his eyebrow removal differently. “You can purposefully irritate scarification wounds to make the resulting scar more raised, but I chose not to do that on my face,” he reports. “Instead, I kept my ex-brow bandaged for the first few days to stop it bleeding and draining into my eye. As soon as it scabbed over, I left it open and kept it clean with gentle anti-bacterial soap.”
DON’T HAVE A BROW, MAN
Brandon’s planning the removal of his left eyebrow – as soon as he’s forgotten how much the right one hurt. “It’s the most painful mod I’ve experienced,” he admits. “I’m really happy with it, though. Public reaction’s been surprising; weirdly, my missing brow tends to be one of the last things people notice about me. But perhaps that’s not so odd considering I have a large star-shaped sub-dermal forehead implant!”
If Brandon’s mods are striking, his self-image philosophy is as stark: “If you dream of changing your body, you can make it happen. You can appear however the fuck you want. No creature on earth has the capacity to change their looks as much as humans: take advantage of your superior powers!”
Words by Adam:
Manhattanite Adam founded modification site BodyMod.org in 2003, where inked, pierced and altered people can share their projects. His tattoos include a huge backpiece of HR Giger’s Alien.