Vox Body Mods: A Map to Scot Porter's Cosmic Tattoo Universe

Between the 300 million year-old Cascadian ammonite and "hyperbolic brain token," Vox Mod's got a lot going on on that terrestrial body of his.

Vox Mod was voted Best Electronic Artist in the 2015 Best of Seattle Reader Poll. To view the other winners, go here.

Yes, Vox Mod, also known as Scot Porter, won our Reader Poll for Best Electronic Artist, but the musician’s art is just as visual as it is auditory. Porter’s morphing, hallucinogenic music videos and live backing visuals are animated by the man himself, and his album covers are all self-drawn and designed. The same extends to his array of stunning tattoos—bio-mechanical-looking creatures (or devices?) live all across Vox Mod’s body, each entirely or partially self-drawn and designed based on Porter’s various artistic inspirations or personal interdimensional visions. “They almost become three-dimensional sculptures once they’re on the body,” Porter says. “Even though your skin is flat and you can have a two-dimensional thing drawn on it, it becomes three-dimensional once it’s on your body. It becomes something else.” We asked Vox Mod to guide us through the cosmic landscape of his terrestrial form and clue us in on the origins of these inked obelisks.

1. Vox Mod calls this central piece his “cartouche,” an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph denoting a royal name. “Because it’s got eyes on it—the evil eyes, keeping bad spirits at bay—it’s kind of a buffer zone for my chakra, my heart chakra,” Porter says. The eye resting at the top of the piece is an adaptation of the logo for Geinoh Yamashirogumi, the group who did the soundtrack for Akira, one of Porter’s chief inspirations.

2. In 2009, Vox Mod saw a Burke Museum exhibit entitled “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway,” which featured the findings of a paleontologist rendered by a fanciful illustrator. Porter was enraptured by one image of a 250–300 million-year-old Cascadian ammonite with a spiraling fractal shell. “It helped me remember who I was and what my origins were. I was on the bus, riding back from the exhibit, and I was so taken that I drew this on the ride home. As soon as I was done with it, I was like, ‘I wanna get that tattooed.’ ”

3. After playing a show in Myanmar that resulted in a number of personal revelations, Porter found a tattoo artist in the southeast Asian country to tattoo this abstract reminder of the experience. “I like to think of this thing, and what I took away from the experience, as a hyperbaric brain token. Something that’s a mind upgrade.”

4. Vox Mod conceived these pieces in an intense bout of hallucinatory daydreaming he called a “Flight of Fancy,” a title he also used for a track on his 2014 album The Great Oscillator. “I had this strange idea in my head about these things—one of them could potentially be an element, and that the other one was maybe a device of some kind.”

5. “They could be veins, or filaments, or weird tendrils of energy matter.”

6. “I like to call this one a ‘microcosm.’ This was actually one of my very first illustrations like this—something that has become my style, these strange three-dimensional things that a lot of people say kind of look like french fries.The thing that I was really intrigued about was that there was no shade or light source—that these things are strange shapes floating in a lightless sky.”

7. Vox Mod’s personal logo, colored in CMYK, born out of his interest in design. He also got a matching CMYK color registration tattoo—the two are conceptually linked in his mind.

8. This complex piece is one of Vox Mod’s favorites—an ode to a number of his inspirations. The far left panel, which consists of sheet music full of odd shapes and forms instead of notes, is a tribute to musique concrète and experimental composers John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, and Edgard Varèse. The two panels on the right are an ode to SIXSTATION, an illustrator and early Flash animator that inspired Vox Mod’s visual work.

9. This spiraling piece is an homage to street artists 123 Clan and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as to Salvador Dalí.

10. Vox Mod’s very first tattoo. “This design has been with me for so long... It was originally a drawing, it was used in print and posters and digital design. It was on my website. I tried to do some Flash stuff with it. It became a woodcut carving that I did.”


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