The first-annual “all-ages” Fairbanks Tattoo Arts Festival featured an old pagan practice of jabbing massive flesh hooks into a young woman’s torso as she hung and swiveled from ropes attached to the rafters of the Carlson Center.

Sponsored by Villain Arts, the May 26-28 event included tattoo artists from all over the country, along with special guests, burlesque entertainment and the hooked performance by Veronica Fink.

A video of the incident shows spectators watching as the scantily clad and heavily tattooed Fink strikes erotic poses while precariously dangling from two large hooks that pull and strain against the skin of her upper abdomen. Fink travels the country performing with Villain Arts. Her shows also regularly include inserting long metal nails into her nostrils.

The popularity of Villain Art shows comes at a time when alterations of the human body have become increasingly popular. In addition to full-body tattooing, other practices include inserts under the skin, vampire fang implants and the lodging or piercing of myriad other objects into the body.

Suspending the human body with large hooks is an old pagan practice that dates back thousands of years. Introducing this into contemporary traveling shows is influenced by the so-called “modern primitive” movement. This consists of bodily manipulations and rituals that can include tattoos, piercings, permanent skin and eyeball dying, intentional scarring and branding. Often this is associated with a desire to alter one’s personal identity or appearance, engage in rites of passage, reject religious or cultural norms or connect to ancient pagan spiritualities.

The growth of these practices coincides with a marked rise in cross-sex hormones, removal or mutilation of bodily organs and puberty blockers for children – all aimed at altering the bodily appearance to achieve a perceived notion of personal identity.

While the Fairbanks Tattoo Arts Festival was largely focused on adult tattooing, it also included booths where young children could get their faces painted or receive temporary tattoos. Children under age 12 were given free admittance.

The same show swung through Anchorage last month, and there are plans to have it return in 2024.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

All-ages Fairbanks tattoo fest features woman pierced and hung by meat hooks

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.