Profile photo of Russ Foxx by Andrew Gerrard
VIEWER DISCRETION – The above video shows a professionally conducted human body piercing session. Please do not attempt to replicate in any way and seek the advice of a trained and fully qualified practitioner in any instance of body piercing or modification.
We have built up quite the reputation for bringing exclusive insight into varied aspects of human behaviours and often extreme lifestyles and interests from around the world. We believe that it is some of the most unique expressionists of the world who are also part of the global conversation of now and who provide an insight into the direction of human experience on planet earth.
Introducing new record breakers Russ Foxx and Matthew Menczyk and their team from Vancouver in Canada. Both are certainly originals when it comes to perspective and expression… Russ’s distinctively modified exterior is quite tame in comparison to some of the other body mod enthusiasts we have showcased in 2014 such as Caim from Colombia and his partner Amy from Italy… or even Maria Cisterna in Mexico. But then Russ is more engrossed on the creative side of things in that he is the go-to practitioner with a reputation for delivering some incredible aesthetic results on others. Matthew is the real-life human canvas, or more aptly in this case the man who gets pinned!
You could call Russ a master of his trade, and in the world of body modifications where reputation counts for much, he is someone well respected and revered. Modifications of the human body as a culture can be traced far back in history and interestingly the culture is growing worldwide at quite a rate and is connecting communities of enthusiasts via the wonders of the worldwide web.
The very nature of modifying ones body must surely go hand in hand with aspects of human behaviour such as vanity, exhibitionism, and maybe narcissism to an extent. Directly in sync with social media culture on many levels where individuals and groups are striving to stand out from the crowds as opposed to simply getting lost in and amongst much noise. The very reasons the trends in modifications are getting more and more extreme, in order to differentiate the more extreme and unique looking aesthetics over the less so… and the boundaries are certainly being pushed and as in this case, also getting quite competitive. The body has become almost a human canvas and the practitioner has become the artist creating and expressing onto the canvas.
In this case, the competitive element is certainly there… previously a world record was set at 3900 piercings on an individual in one sitting. This was the target Russ and his human canvas set themselves to beat… and Matthew Menczyk who was being pierced endured way beyond this.
As Russ reached many round figures during the attempt, and in between breaks following having passed 500 needles… 1000 needles… and then 2500… and then the target of 3900! A new target had been set for others to strive for one day and the timeframe within which the total amount of piercings was to be achieved was set at 8 hours. The results… within this time an incredibly enduring grand total of 4550 needles were fixed into the skin and body of Matthew.
Russ told us:
“It was a very long day, but we managed to achieve a current world record.”
Matthew Menczyk also known as ‘Can Can’ when talking about his side said:
“I just wanted to cry from the pain. I was biting things, punching things but I endured and it was all for a good cause!”
Then came the most painful part, removing the needles, during which two people pulled them out at once to try to speed up the process, he said.
“We were removing them by the handful,” said Foxx. “Five to 10 at time and just yanking them out like that.”
Is this Brave? Or is it Crazy? Or is this some kind of extreme human gift of both Russ and Matthew to both conduct and bear such a painful session of piercings in one sitting… that we will leave to the perspectives of the beholders, a group of whom were witnessing this enduring pain-fest on the day in Vancouver as per requirements of an official world record, and others who will be watching the above video and reading these words, alongside seeing the photos from the day.
One thing that certainly adds another factor to this attempt is that it was a showcase of extreme human endurance with a positive purpose also attached and this certainly fits our remit of coverage at Newsivity. Russ and Matthew were raising awareness and funds for Vancouver based ‘Directions Youth Services‘ – whose provision is to deliver much needed help and support to a growing community of young people locally. Interestingly it also happened to be the first time Matthew was pierced at all… what a gruelling way to start that journey!
In the climate of adversity and where grass roots services such as this are in difficult positions to be able to deliver and with minimal funds, this was certainly an extreme strategy to get the attention of not only local adult communities and stake holders but also supporters, and also doing it in a credible manner that got the attention of the teens too. Far from glamourising the body mod culture, the purpose was to educate and share information about a range of issues and services as being provided by ‘Directions Services’ and also highlighting the harm minimisation and after-care aspects of piercing in general.
Today, Directions Youth Services, a division of Family Services of Greater Vancouver, provides integrated services included a 24 hour drop-in centre in downtown Vancouver, a Safehouse and the only Youth exclusive Detox program in BC.
Family Services of Greater Vancouver has been providing support to Vancouver’s at-risk youth since 1987. Today, Directions Youth Services, a division of Family Services of Greater Vancouver, provides integrated services included a 24 hour drop-in centre in downtown Vancouver, a Safehouse and the only Youth exclusive Detox program in BC.
This year during the holiday season, the services saw more youth than they’d ever seen before at the centre– a round-the-clock resource for homeless youth. Their supplies of the basic hygiene necessities were at record lows and they were looking for donations of any personal hygiene products, especially items such as toothpaste , toothbrushes , razors , shampoo, soap and socks which are always in demand.
The results from the day are clear to see and hear and this also adds another bow in Russ Foxx’s body modification achievements.
In our opinion, an equal amount of credit is due to both Russ and Matthew, the practitioner and his muse, the piercer and the piercee… on the one hand Matthew endured the pain thresholds and showed that in the name of vanity and superlatives, maybe humans can endure more than we perceive as being capable on ourselves. In many ways he proves that when inflicted with an enduring amount of pain, challenge and adversity, maybe the human capabilities are stretched and this could in fact be quite metaphoric for things in many peoples lives throughout 2014 and into 2015.
And Russ from his side endured absolute responsibility and concentration levels with a great deal of stamina to continue piercing in accordance with all health and safety precautions adhered to whilst achieving something we are sure even he may have once felt was impossible.
For us, we continue to be fascinated by the non conformists of the world who often spark our attention because it is often those who do not follow the conventions who address aspects of human interest like no other. Body Modification is one of many growing, global sub-cultures that leaves much to reflect on for the observer, as it does for those participating. One thing is for sure, there is about to be a generation of pensioners in the near future who will be seeing a lot of scars, punctures and sagging patterns on their bodies.
But as they say, beauty shall always remain in the eyes of the beholder and maybe in that same future, the exterior aesthetics of human beings may in fact become secondary to the actions and real character-traits of the individuals and groups.
PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RECREATE ANY OF WHAT IS DEPICTED IN THIS NEWS ARTICLE AS IT INVOLVED PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED PRACTITIONERS WITH ALL NECESSARY HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES FOLLOWED PRIOR TO, DURING AND AT AFTER-CARE STAGES.
For more about Russ Foxx visit: russfoxx.com
To support the work of Direction Youth Services in Canada.
Media Enquiries: [email protected]
Special thanks to Russ Foxx and his team.