Friday, January 22, 2010

Profile: Chloé Letchworth, suspension artist and masochist

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Volume 38 Issue 38 Profile  Predator, Mums FP, The Carnivores an

Chloe Letchworth started piercing herself with needles a couple of years ago “as an extension of my greater identity as a masochist.” She’s had more than 100 needles in her at once — and still wanted more.

At what age did you start piercing?

Well, I actually started piercing at a late age, only a couple years ago. Although I’ve always wanted to, I never had the resources before.

Do you pierce alone or with a group?

I have been more timid with lots of people. Even though it feels really neat, piercing to me is an extension of my greater identity as a masochist. I’m not really part of a scene. I have applied for piercing apprenticeships or to work at a shop to see if maybe I could get experience, but they wouldn’t have me because I look perfectly norma. This one chick said, “You’ve got nothing on your face, you don’t look like you pierce much.” And I was like, “Well, I’ve got a split tongue, see? I mean, I’ve had more than 100 needles in me at once, and I still wanted more.

When I was hanging out at my dungeon [with friends], we talked about this 60-year-old woman who was going up to suspend. It was her birthday, and it was her birthday present. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, you can always do it. Live the life you’ve imagined.

Describe the feeling you get when you stick a needle through yourself.

It’s like an icy hot little sip of golden sunshine. Very light and bright and happy. A lot of times, I will take a bunch of my needles and put them in the freezer before I use them. They are frozen and cold when they go in. Not very often am I content with only piercing. You can pierce a “ladder,” which is a row of piercings all the way up your chest or up your back or up your arm. Take a ribbon and snake it through. That’s a pretty common trick. It’s called the corset. You pull it tight and tie it tight. I would find as the night went by I would want to tighten it up more and more. I would go outside in the freezing cold and look up at the sky and the stars. It is so beautiful.

Talk about suspension.

It was funny, my friends thought that it was a horrible idea to do pulls and suspension. You know, you could get fucked up with stretch marks. I never had any stretch marks. I pulled from my chest and the skin pulled out far. I had my full weight hanging from it. I just stood up and I was normal again. It’s amazing the things you can do and not even leave a mark.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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