22nd February 2024 1:20 pm
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An interview with JC Sheitan Tenet – the man with a tattoo gun for an arm

French artist JC Sheitan Tenet has been drawing since he was three. When he lost his right hand at ten he had to relearn to draw and how to work with a prosthetic arm. Now, as an adult, he’s even turned his appendage into a piece of artwork, because his right arm is a tattoo gun.

Tenet did the rounds on the internet earlier this month when a gif created from the video below did the rounds. In it, he uses the arm to work on a tattoo.

We were suitably impressed by that, so we contacted Tenet to find out about his life and how the machine came to be.

htxt.africa: What is the history of your tattoo gun prosthesis? How did you come to need a prosthesis at all and how did that evolve into this machine?

JC Sheitan Tenet: I met JL Gonzal, [a] sculptor, and [asked] him for a kinetic sculpture based on an old prosthesis I didn’t used anymore; a steampunk tattoo arm just for the fun ’cause I [have been tattooing] without [a] prosthesis [for the last eight years]. He created the biomechanical arm and [I] decided to try it. I tried it on a friend during a few minutes of shading. It was very fun but very difficult due to the weight and size, so I immediately decided to work with JL Gonzal on a more efficient prototype 2 that will come soon, I hope.

Do any of your customers have any reservations about you using it?

Yes, but they will have to wait until prototype 2.

It seems like the prosthesis is being powered by an external air compressor. Aside from that is the unit self-contained?

No, it’s powered with an ordinary electrical tattoo device [plug] on the elbow.

How the device is cleaned.

Does the machine offer any specific advantages or disadvantages compared to using a more traditional gun?

No, this first arm was just designed as a steampunk sculpture, but the prototype 2 will be more efficient so I may work on new designs with a tattoo gun [that uses both hands].

What is your favourite tattoo created so far?

I don’t have a favourite one , it depends [on] my mood of the moment.

The original video of you working, as well as gifs created from it, have been circulating on the internet. Has your life changed at all with this newfound celebrity?

No, [there’s] just more people seeing my work , that is pretty cool.

What other prosthetics do you use aside from this one?

[A] surfing prosthetic.


[Images on this page used with the express permission from  JC Sheitan Tenet]


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