eyeball tattooing has been effectively legalised in nsw
But don't expect swathes of blue-eyed aliens to swan around Sydney just yet.
Eyeball tattooing has been made legal in NSW, after an amendment to the New South Wales Public Health Regulation passed this week. If you didn't think there was a market for the procedure here, you're be right. The legislation didn't pass because fans pushed for legalisation—it was more a matter of misplaced language.
Part of the amendment stated that "eyeball tattooing, tongue piercing and tongue tattooing are skin penetration procedures", which essentially puts eyeball tattooing into the same category as other practices already governed by existing legislation around tattoo parlours. Now people are worried the delicate procedure falls under the wrong legislation—it's lumped in with cosmetic procedures, not medical ones. Labor politician Walt Secord told the Guardian he wasn't happy with he procedure slipping through the fine print, calling the move a "major stuff up."
While physicians had been performing the procedure for medical reasons—generally to improve sensitive eyesight—for years, eyeball tattooing has only taken off aesthetically in the past decade. Accordingly, there are not many people out there who can get it right. Body modification artist Luna Cobra claims to have pioneered the cosmetic process 2007, though even he warns the procedure has serious risks if not performed by someone who really knows what they're doing. Luna stresses demand is Australia is very low, so you won't see anyone at the pub with blue cornea soon. He reckons he's tattooed "less then 10 people across Australia" over the past nine years.
Across the pond, it's a different story: the procedure really is gaining popularity. i-D met one such tattooed beauty, Grace Nautral, last year. We spoke about getting her optic ink from Luna Cobra along with her other body-mods, like a forked-tongue and elf ears. Watch the Alien Princess below.
Photography Douglas Irvine