Good Thinking

Amputee's prosthetic arm transformed into awesome inking machine

Amputee's prosthetic arm trans...
JC Sheitan Tenet is currently using the inking prosthesis for fills, with details and lines still being done using his left hand
JC Sheitan Tenet is currently using the inking prosthesis for fills, with details and lines still being done using his left hand
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JC Sheitan Tenet is currently using the inking prosthesis for fills, with details and lines still being done using his left hand
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JC Sheitan Tenet is currently using the inking prosthesis for fills, with details and lines still being done using his left hand
The rusty look is of course just a paint job
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The rusty look is of course just a paint job
The tattoo machine prosthesis can be used just like any other inker, but takes longer to clean
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The tattoo machine prosthesis can be used just like any other inker, but takes longer to clean
The prosthesis was treated to some steampunking courtesy of an old mechanical typewriter, a gramophone and manometer
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The prosthesis was treated to some steampunking courtesy of an old mechanical typewriter, a gramophone and manometer
The prosthesis was treated to some steampunking courtesy of an old mechanical typewriter, a gramophone and manometer
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The prosthesis was treated to some steampunking courtesy of an old mechanical typewriter, a gramophone and manometer

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.

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.

The tattoo machine prosthesis can be used just like any other inker, but takes longer to clean
The tattoo machine prosthesis can be used just like any other inker, but takes longer to clean

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.

Sources: JC Sheitan Tenet, JL Gonzal

1 comment
David A Galler
This is truly ingenious.