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A group of South Floridians are pushing the boundaries of what you can do your body. A few body piercings and tattoos, though, don't seem to be enough. A UM psychiatrist speaks to NBC 6 about extreme body modification procedures.
At the Fade Shop in Miami Lakes, the barbers might all dress the same, but there’s one who easily stands out and causes people to stare.
“I think I’m probably worth more than 25 to $30,000,” said Daze. “I’m like a BMW maybe.”
Daze is covered from head to toe in tattoos, and even sports the ink on his tongue. He considers himself a walking piece of art, but said his mother thinks he’s “crazy.”
His body art, which took years to create, also led to a second source of income for him. He gets hired around the country for TV, film and music video shoots.
But unlike Daze, a few tattoos and piercings weren’t enough for Coco Stabs, a body piercer at Tattoos by Lou in North Miami Beach. Stabs has two implants under his skin, including a heart on his forearm and another on the back of his hand.
“It’s a silicone mold of a brass knuckle,” Stabs described the implant. “It’s more of a mold but it is still soft.”
The pair love pushing their bodies to the limit, which is one of the reasons they were drawn to another extreme form of art known as suspension.
Suspension involves hanging a human body from metal hooks pierced through the skin of a person’s back, legs or chest.
A recent short film called “Sentient” documents suspension groups across the country. Producers Stu Modifies and Andy Lombardo spent a year documenting what drives people to the act. Several South Floridians were featured in the film.
“It’s painful to get pierced but it only lasts a few seconds,” said Eric Madrid, a Miami resident. “It’s over before you have time to complain. It’s very much mental. When you are pulled up and you start to come off the ground, that’s where you see if you are a fight or flight person. It’s not something you choose. It’s something you are.”
Madrid says suspending is a spiritual experience. For Daze and Stabs, suspension is about the challenge and the shock value.
“I always wanted to push myself to the limit of what I can do,” Daze said. “It’s like something I can knock off my bucket list. Sky diving? Check. A lot of people would say it’s pain just because we are doing this to our bodies, but when you think about it, when girls do their plastic surgery, there’s pain involved in that too and that’s for their looks.”
The “suspensionists” recommend everyone try to suspend at least once because the endorphin rush is unlike any other.
“It’s a very euphoric feeling,” said Daze. “Once you’re up there, nothing can bother you.”
They also hope people won’t be quick to judge them based on their hobbies and appearances.
“I just don’t want it to seem like what we do is a freak or weirdo because we are all the same,” said Stabs. “We just have different backgrounds and what we do in life. The guys that I run around, they might look like freaks, but they are sweethearts.”
Whether it’s their ink, piercings or suspending, Daze and Stabs insist it’s art.
To see the entire short film about suspension groups, click here.