Rolf Buchholz loves tattoos and piercings. They have been around for centuries.
The Indian tribes of Indonesia and Polynesia, where the practice has been handed down from generation to generation have provided the best anthropological evidence of tattooing. It has even been found on Egyptian mummies dating back over 3000 years ago.
From the moment you are born, we are bombarded with images of what society wants us to look like. With a subculture of people who have various tattoos or piercings, they are essentially taking back power from a culture. A culture that doesn’t want them to stand out or be different.
In contemporary western society, limited body piercings, especially of women’s ears, for decorative purposes, seems to be a conventional norm.
The majority of women have their ears pierced. The nose, lips, nipples and other piercings of any kind are viewed with disfavour. Thereby making it a form of body alteration that diverts away from the mainstream values within society.
“People still associate tattoos and piercings with thugs and prisoners but today it is so much more than that. Today it’s an art.” – Full Sail Tattoos.
This is what Rolf Buchholz envisioned when he got his first tattoo and piercing 20 years ago. When he was 40. Now he holds the Guinness World Record for being the most pierced man in the world.
Since then, he has never stopped changing his body.
Rolf works in information technology for a telecoms company in Germany and stated that “the body modifications have changed only the outside”.
In 2012, Rolf Buchholz had 516 body modifications. Since then he has increased his body modifications to include sub-dermal horn implants. This includes 37 piercings across his eyebrows, scarification across the skin on his face, 90% tattoo coverage.
He also has 18 piercings in his left ear, and 15 in his right. 16 subdermal implants in his wrist, magnetic implants in his hand and even a tattoo on his entire palm.
Since then, the number of piercings on his body has gone up. He currently has 96 around his mouth and lips.
Buchholz says he is very comfortable with his look. The only issue he has to deal with is airport security.
The reasons why people undergo body modification vary from person to person. In a society that puts ever greater value on conformity, being tattooed is a way of declaring your difference.
Many choose to do it because they feel it is a good way to mark a life-changing occasion. To identify themselves, honour loved ones, for fashion or style purposes. This is also based on symbolism or to heal especially when they want to cover up deformities’ or natural scarring.
While the reasons people get tattooed vary, piercings are known to be a cosmetic fashion statement.