Who has made the biggest impact or been most inspiring person in the body modification community/industry in the past couple of years and how?
Voice your opinion on the Round Table topic in the Reader's Response section.

Dustin Sharrow--former staff member of BME's QOD, moderator of the BME mailing list, apprentice at Stainless Studios in Toronto. Interviewed on Modified Times.

Put simply, I cannot choose just one person who fits this bill. There are four people who I wish to acknowledge specifically (I don't like rules very much, sorry!).

In chronological order, the first would be Shannon Larratt. I don't need to say much about him... you all know who he is, or you may even be friends with him. His personality and influence aside, he put together a pretty good website, something that I think we should all admire. Would YOU be where you are today without him? For most of us, the answer is no.

Secondly is my boss, mentor and friend, Tom Brazda. As one customer put it today, "he's the man!." While he may be a bit chatty at times, piercing would probably not be where it is today without him. From the early days of BME, to the multiple "inventions" he's created that have enabled some truly great piercings to become very popular, Tom is the ultimate Piercing Geek. This man knows more shit about the art than you could ever hope to fathom. I thank my lucky stars every day for him giving me the chance to learn under him.

The third is also a great friend and very much a mentor: our very own Blair. Words can't express how much I am grateful for his talent, and most of all his friendship and understanding. The world needs more Blairs - people willing to push the modification envelope without getting a swelled head about it. He also stays out of all the political crap, which I admire greatly.

And last but not least is Steve Haworth. This man has done more to the true modification world than all others combined, and does it well. While some people may have some less-than-endearing things to say about him, when I had the opportunity to meet him he was the most humble person... As for my vision of body modification, Steve comes closest to matching it, at least in the technical aspects.

On another note, I have to thank all the people simply willing to BE modified. Its truly not an easy thing. Every time I pick up that needle, explain a piercing, give recommendations for aftercare, or even just chat with someone, I am affecting them, just as much as they are affecting me. I am truly humbled that people are willing to put themselves in my power, and I am very thankful for that. Just the fact that someone THINKS they may want to get pierced means that there's hope yet for the future...

I apologize that this was not very exciting... I feel somewhat uncomfortable being asked a question like this. Not only because one of them is probably reading this right now, but because I feel that this is what I am supposed to do: alter people on every level. I cannot explain how I have become friends or acquaintances with the industry's best... I am a very shy person indeed. But it just feels right, you know?

Jason Sand--retired staff member of BME's QOD. Interviewed on Modified Times, BME, & BMERadio.

I really couldn't say a specific person. In the past 5-10 years there has been a large amount of boundaries crossed by various artists. Since then those artists have been continuing to excel in what they have been specialized in. Jon Cobb for example with his Uvula piercing, and accomplishments with Pocketing. Tom Brazda has continued to refine his piercing abilities. Lucas Zpira with his cutting and implanting has been furthering his abilities and gotten more experience in the surgical aspect. Steve Haworth with the combined efforts of Jesse Jarrell and assistance with Beki, has taken implants to a new and more interesting height with the advancements of implant designs. Blair himself has gained further experience in various areas of branding, implanting, scalpeling and other areas. There are many artists out there, and now with a lot of "ground-breakers", you are seeing them all continuing in what they all do best and furthering their knowledge. I think now a lot of these people that have made large impacts on the modification community are at a point where they can just continue to refine, learn and try to expound on what they have done and know. It's nice seeing all of them going forward with their efforts. I feel we have a lot more to look forward to in the next decade or more and from what I see, of the larger names out there, these ones now will continue to be in the lead of it all.

Greg Morgan--moderator of the BME mailing list, photographer for Modified Mind. Featured in BME/Art.

Jon Cobb. Since first seeing an interview with this guy in Tattoo Savage I have always been very interested in the man and his methods. This was backed up when I began to track down information regarding both him and his work. First I was lead to his piece in the BME Interview section, which I found both enlightening as well as informative. I then managed to get a hold of a back issue of PFIQ magazine, which did a feature piece on him. Yet again I was impressed. Here was a man with a passion for the art that I have not seen mirrored anywhere else. His research, his techniques and his philosophy are something that I truly admire. With the advent of BMERadio I was finally able to hear 'straight from the horses mouth' so to speak. Jon came across as both eloquent, knowledgeable, and a downright nice guy. If I had to choose one person, I would certainly be pointing the finger in the direction of Jon. But, as I stated earlier, I cannot narrow the question down to but one person.

Shannon Larratt. What is there to say? The man who created the phenomenon that is BME. The Body Modification E-Zine. Shannon's work in bringing together the body modification scene worldwide, is nothing short of miraculous. I am sure that you are familiar with how BME began, so I will not go into that. I first discovered BME when I was searching the web for articles referring to Jon Cobb, and piercing in general. This was back in late 1996. I began to spend a lot of time there when I got into uni, in 1997. I finally had access to a computer on a regular basis, as well as access to a T1 internet connection. It soon became a daily ritual of logging in to see what was going on. I have seen many changes to the site, all of which have been very slick, and very shrewd decisions by Shannon. Today BME has to be the biggest, and the best, online resource for the Body Modification that exists. With the advent of IAM, it has gone from strength to strength. Where will it end?

Steve Haworth: What can I say here? The master of 3D Body Art. It was due to BME that I first became aware of Steve's work. First through seeing pictures of his implants, etc... and then by reading his interview in the BME Interviews section. I was stunned. Here was a man, from a medical background, well medical supply to be truthful, who had seen an opening in the industry, done his research, and basically created an artform. Then came the BME Radio interview. Again I was stunned. I listened to this over and over. Here was a man that had such a great approach to what he does, that it would be hard to find fault with anything he does, work wise. I have no idea if the radio interviews are edited, or what we hear is straight taping, but what I heard impressed me no end.

Finally I have decided to mention 2 people that I am privileged to call friends. We have not yet met in person, but I consider both of them as part of my extended family. When I first started talking to Jason and Frances, I was like a dumbstruck kid. Here were 2 people that I have read about, seen many pictures of, and have held up on a sort of pedestal as almost ambassadors of the community. When we got chatting, I found that I had a lot to say to them, and instead of being brushed off (as I feared I might be) my questions were answered, and a friendship grew. I have to say that being able to communicate via a keyboard has helped me to get over terminal shyness, and therefore meet people I would normally just stare at from a distance, hoping that 'they' would talk to me. From the time when I read Jason's piece for the original Modified Times, I was pretty freaked out. He was a person that has lived a life that I could not even begin to comprehend. What he has been through, what he has chosen, and what he is today is an amazing tale. When speaking to Frances, I find myself constantly wishing I had the financial means to fly over and spend some time with her. She is probably one of the funniest people that I know. That, and her use of slang terms is much the same as over here in Australia (so I kinds know what the fuk she is saying!). When I finally got to hear both their voices via the BME radio interview everything came full circle. Yes, I did giggle when I first heard Jason speak(:P), but what I heard was them. With both Frances and Jason what you see/read is what you get, 2 of the most genuine human beings around, both with a complete and absolute love for each other and the art art we all have in common.

As I stated at the start of this longwinded rambling, I couldn't narrow it down to 1 person in particular. If I did not stop myself now, I could continue to add people for any number of very worthwhile and meaningful reasons. But here I shall stop, and hope that some of my fellow 'Round Table' combatants will cover that for me.

P7--mod enthusiast, assisted in Loco interview for Modified Mind.

There are a bunch:

Shannon Larratt. He created BME: a massive megasite dedicated to mods. Within the site you can see what different mods people have done as well as learn from their experiences. Words could not relay how much this site has made mods public- and how helpful this site is.

Shawn Porter. ( The Co-hort of BME :) ) A different approach to the Bod Mod Experience:)

Steve Haworth. Need I say more? One word: Implantation.

Frances & Jason Sand. I have to say that I regard them very highly. Both of them have stood fast to their beliefs and in turn, found each other:) They show that mods are an extention of a person's "inner self" and that when you believe in yourself and your mods, anything is possible.

Helen Lewis--young mod enthusiast, staff member of Modified Mind.

After much umm-ing and aah-ing, I have finally plumped for Steve Haworth. I could of course name many other people who have widened the scope of the body modification community: Shannon Larratt, Shawn Porter and Allen Falkner for example. However, I picked Steve in the end, because of the way in which he has pushed the limits of modification, and made it truly an artform. If modification is about proving the dominance of will over nature, he seems the only choice. I think he comes from a perfect background for an artist, medical supplies, and this is vitally important for his work. Steve Haworth has created a new artform, different to anything that has gone before, and so i have chosen him as the most inspiring person.

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