Local tattoo artist and owner of Lucid Tattooing + Design, Brandon Fancie travelled to British Columbia recently where he made a stab at the Guinness World Record for longest tattoo session: team of two, alongside Vancouver based performance artist Josh Burns.
The previous record was set at 50 hours and 10 minutes with Fancie and Burns smashing the prior record, totaling 50 hours and 57 minutes of needle to skin.
Burns, who has always held a love for the occult, dragons, and fire, had been trying to orchestrate the event for nearly a year before coming into contact with Fancie.
He stated he had two previous tattooists back out of the record attempt and was thrilled to have come into contact with Fancie. Burns added he was determined to not only break the record but also continue his transformation into a dragon.
“I’ve always been interested in lizards, snakes, and dragons – when I was about 12 I started thinking about how cool it would be to be a dragon but at that time it wasn’t in terms of body modification, it was more about just how cool I thought dragons were,” said Burns. “Then the older I got, I started getting piercings and five years ago I started the transformation into a dragon.”
In that five years Burns had his tongue surgically split to resemble that of a dragon or lizard, horns implanted on his forehead, tattooed his eyes, and had his ears pointed. This led him to the idea of being tattooed head to toe as a dragon and the idea of attempting the Guinness record.
Following their introduction on Facebook the pair corresponded by email and eventually Fancie made the trip to Vancouver to meet Burns prior to the attempt.
The next time the pair met was the weekend of their attempt – a weekend that would test the pair both mentally and physically.
Burns is no stranger to pain but he admits even with his past experiences, he underestimated the amount of pain he would have to withstand.
“I’m used to pain through my line of work,I thought because it was on my back it wouldn’t be that bad, but I was wrong,” explained Burns. “After about five hours I wanted to stop – at that point all of the endorphins wore off and it just wasn’t pleasant at all. I think overall I went into shock three different times and it just steadily got more and more painful.”
Fancie said eventually Burns relaxed and had accepted the pain.
“It was pretty rough on him the first couple of hours and there were times I really didn’t think we were going to make it,” said Fancie. “There were times where it got pretty intense as far as the level of pain he was in. The way I was doing the tattoo was outlining and filling it in at the same time as we went along – at one point I went back in to fill in some colour and he didn’t like that very much and got pretty shaky.
“I really just slowed everything down and started completing it as we went because if I were to have gone back in and reworked any spots after it became extremely painful for him.”
He added there were a few pep talks involved from the many supporters who came to watch the record attempt, but neither Fancie nor Burns were willing to stop.
“Unless he physically passed out we weren’t stopping and that never happened so we just kept going. He never got to the point where he was passing out – there were a few times where he was shaking and you could tell his body was going into shock but he reeled it in and at no time did I feel there was a major risk to his health,” said Fancie.
Prior to the attempt Fancie held a 24 hour tattoo marathon at his shop in Sylvan, which was the longest he had personally tattooed straight for. Prior to the attempt, Burns longest session being tattoed was eight hours.
“The whole attempt was very mental for me – at times it was just about staying awake,” explained Fancie. “There were always people around laughing and joking with us, keeping us awake – that really helped – Redbull, coffee, lots of fruit – it all helped. In the end it was definitely mentally challenging for me just to keep going – at about 40 hours into the session my feet started swelling from sitting so long and afterwards I could barely walk.”
In order to break the record, the pair were only allowed a five minute break every hour, which the pair stated they spent walking, stretching, eating, and doing anything that wasn’t sitting. Currently the pair are awaiting confirmation from Guinness who must review witness records as well as view the full 50 hour and 57 minute video evidence they had to provide. They both wished to thank everyone for their continued support throughout the event as well as The Fall Tattooing and Artists Gallery for the use of their shop during the attempt.