Tongue splitting to eye tattoos; the art of body modification


Omega Body Arts specializes in body modification, human suspension, scarification, eyeball tattooing, ear pointing, tongue splitting, and more. Photo courtesy of Omega Body Arts

Erik Acosta, Staff Reporter

Tongue splitting, ear reshaping and even culturally significant lip plates are all forms of body modification one can do to one’s body. Even though some people may find this form of art bizarre or out of the ordinary, many of these modifications are available for creative individuals willing to express themselves as tattoo artists and body piercers around the world, including here in El Paso.  

Engaging in a more dramatic form of body art, those who seek modifications are looking for a way to highlight their individuality or, in some circumstances, to enhance themselves to express their culture and heritage.  

Splitting a tongue in half to get that snake tongue figure or burning artistic designs into permanent flesh to honor certain tribes’ cultures, some of these body modifications people carry out have been done before, as some of these styles have been around for a long time.  

Since ancient times, many people, especially women, have participated in altering their bodies to tooth sharpening; common in China, lip plating; a common symbolic practice for many ancient cultures and many people went as far as to bind their feet together in the 12th century. 

While some of these modifications were to honor their culture or tribe traditions, one may ask themselves, why would anyone do this to their body? 

The answer to that question differs from person to person. Everyone who has had body modifications has personal and distinct reasoning for loving them. Alex Morales, who served in the military, found it tiresome to be told what was and was not appropriate for him to do with his body. 

Omega Body Arts specializes in body modification, human suspension, scarification, eyeball tattooing, ear pointing, tongue splitting, and more. Photo courtesy of Omega Body Arts

“I spent 10 years in the military being told what I could and couldn’t do, what was acceptable and unacceptable,” Morales said.  “So, once I was free to do whatever I wanted with my body I dove headfirst back into tattoos, piercings, and body modifications.” 

Morales has two body modifications, getting both eyes tattooed and splitting his tongue. He has hopes of getting more modifications on his chest and shoulders in the future. Getting his modifications at Omega Body Arts, Morales considers the modifications to be painless and ritualistic. 

“There’s always pain associated with these types of procedures, although the person performing the modification does their best not to cause more pain than necessary,” Morales said. “There’s almost a side to the pain that you could consider almost ritualistic a feeling that you’re alive.” 

The owner of Omega Body Arts, a professional body artist who decided to remain anonymous has worked for almost 30 years, was once and still is a tattoo artist who found opening his business difficult. 

“I started doing body modifications since 1993, and at the beginning I wasn’t thinking in starting a business it was just for the love of it,” Omega said. “At first, it was really hard for me just for the lack of information and because in those years, you didn’t have that much access to a lot of information like you can today, even to get material it was really hard.” 

Omega Body Arts offers various modifications to its clients such as eyeball tattoos, tongue splitting, scarification and many more. Having that interest in altering someone’s body comes from somewhere and Omega’s interest in modification started when he was a piercer. 

“My interest on body modifications was when I was a piercer and people started to ask me to stretch their ear lobes or when they asked me if I can remove a keloid on their ear lobe, so that intrigued me and made me get more deeper into body modification,” Omega said.  

Omega has also had body modifications and has been able to express himself through his work, which he considers very fulfilling as it has allowed him to channel that inner creativity that he has always had. 

“I’m able to express myself and my thoughts and feelings through my work,” Omega said. “I’m an artist just the only difference is that I chose another medium to express my art.”  

For any student or individual interested in expressing themselves in this diverse art form, Omega Body Arts has appointments are available for anyone interested. 

For more information they may be reached at their website website 

Erik Acosta is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]