Tonight on Viceland, new series Needles and Pins heads to South Korea, a place where altering one’s appearance is common via plastic surgery, but certainly not with ink or body art.
In the premiere episode, host Grace Neutral horrifies an older Korean man.
The London tattoo artist — the Anthony Bourdain of body modification — is an eyeful, with carved cheeks and forehead (she ate that skin, by the way), tattooed eyeballs, no bellybutton and more ink than can be believed.
In Korea the tattoo inking and piercing businesses are considered illegal. Artists, if they do any tattooing, are required to have a doctor’s license.
But there is an underground of young people who fly in the face of their deeply rooted traditions.
The premiere of the series, which uses some footage from I-D (Vice) Beyond Beauty online series, Grace at one point has an encounter with an older Korean man.
He cannot hide his disgust towards her appearance and tells her straight up she has messed up her life by doing all the crazy things she has done to herself.
Koreans are deeply against people having tattoos, and view them as a shameful adornment of gangsters.
But Neutral also takes us on an exploration of the underground scene; to what looks to be a psychedelic party with alcohol, drugs, and music — well hidden for fear of legal reprisal.
Watch a preview for the series, where Grace travels the world exploring the history of tattoo art, below…
Needles and Pins “Underground Tattoos in South Korea” airs on Viceland, tonight, February 21, at 11pm.