Tattoo Artist Gets World’s First Tattoo Machine Prosthesis

After French tattoo artist JC Sheitan Tenet lost his right hand 22 years ago, he never thought he would ever be able to use it again. He trained himself to use his left hand to do tattoos, but after recently receiving the world’s first tattoo machine prosthesis, he can proudly call himself ambidextrous.

Tenet got the idea for the unique steampunk-inspired prosthesis after seeing the work of Jean Louis Gonzales, a.k.a. Gonzal, an artist and engineer known for his mechanised taxidermies and skulls. After meeting Gonzal at various tattoo conventions, Tenet asked him if he could somehow mechanise an old prosthesis he had lying around the house, and the two started working on a prototype.


Photo: Chriz Yvac aka Lady C/JC Sheitan Tenet

The first thing Gonzal did was enhance the prosthesis by attaching a tattoo machine to it. While attaching all the metallic bits, the artist had to make sure it remained light enough to be lifted and maneuvered with ease, and that the machine’s electric cord didn’t interfere with his tattooing. “Tenet wanted to draw tattoos with an arm that he’d never used for that before, and I thought it was a great idea to mechanise a prosthetic,” Gonzal told VICE Motherboard. “The aim was to fix the tattoo machine to an aesthetic version of his prosthetic arm.”

The artistic duo unveiled the world’s first tattoo machine prosthesis at the recent Tattoo Motor Show 8, a convention in Devézieux, France, and it blew everyone away. “At the convention, people said ‘What the f*ck is that!? That’s fu*king cool!’” Tenet remembers. At first, they just said is was a kinetic sculpture, but as he got to demonstrating its true purpose, everyone realized it was a very efficient tool that could rival a tattoo artist’s arm.


Photo: Chriz Yvac aka Lady C/JC Sheitan Tenet

“What started out as a sculpture is now something that I can use,” Tenet said. “[Gonzal and I] understood that we didn’t have to recreate a hand as a prosthetic; we just had to create a tool that is better than a hand.”

For now, Tenet has to move his shoulder to use the mechanised tattoo prosthesis, but he hopes to enhance its functionality by incorporating wrist-like movements, and eventually finger movements.


via VICE Motherboard