JC Sheitan Tenet is a southpaw tattoo artist, not because he's left-handed but because he lost his right one 22 years ago so has no choice. Until now. A collaboration with visual artist JL Gonzal has resulted in a custom-designed "biomechanical prosthesis" that has a built-in rotary inker.
Sheitan Tenet and Gonzal met at a tattoo convention, where the Lyon, France-based tattoo artist shared a desire to try and use his right arm for tattooing. Gonzal was subsequently given an existing prosthesis, and work began.
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The project started with a basic mounting system, onto which a customized version of a Nicks rotary tattoo machine (which Sheitan Tenet was accustomed to using) was attached. A plug at the elbow ensures that the arm can be moved without getting snagged up in cables and the needles, griptube, nipple and rubber are disposable. The prosthesis was then treated to some steampunking courtesy of an old mechanical typewriter, a gramophone and manometer, and finished with a rusted metal paint job.
Gonzal told us that prior to the project Sheitan Tenet had never used his right arm for tattooing, so is now having to learn his craft again. As such, the first prototype is currently being used for fills and he's still using his left hand for lines and details.
It's not something that the tattoo artist will be using as his go-to machine, it has limited functionality and takes a long time to clean. But that could change with a planned second iteration, which will include ease of use improvements.
You can see the prosthesis being used for the first time in the video below.