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Rites of passage

The Tattoo Artists Who Care More About Pain Than a Finished Product

The artists behind the Brutal Black Project hold excruciating, hours-long tattooing sessions for clients brave enough to get work they know is going to hurt.

For Valerio Cancellier and Cammy Stewart, tattooing is about pain: how much you can tolerate and what happens when you test that limit. They started the Brutal Black Project to push the boundaries of just how excruciating tattooing could be, offering free pieces to anyone brave enough to get them. On this episode of Rites of Passage, VICE met up with Cancellier and Stewart as they prepared for a session with Frankie, a client from the Netherlands. After hearing what motivates the artists' violent work—and talking to Frankie about why he decided to get a piece—we sat down for his grueling, three-hour session, seeing what it's really like to get inked by the most hardcore artists in the game.