Although the cause of death is still being questioned, without a doubt Rick Genest, also known as Zombie Boy, made a mark upon the world that will be remembered and treasured for years to come. Perhaps best known as Thierry Mugler's muse and model, as well as his appearance in Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" music video, Rick Genest helped bring tattoos into the mainstream with his stand out look. Not only was he an integral part of the tattoo community, he was dedicated to supporting and uplifting the work of others consistently working with artists, musicians, designers and more.
If the ruling of suicide was indeed hasty, perhaps it's a reminder that those who are tattooed are not what they always may seem. Placing your perspective, judgements, and biases on others can be unfair, and in this case perhaps dangerous. Did the police see Rick's tattoos, all illustrative of death, and jump to conclusions? It will probably never be made clear, but those with tattoos and heavy body modifications have generally had to put up with being treated unkindly or with prejudice, and why? As Rick Genest said, "Everybody expresses themselves differently." And for those with tattoos it is often a love for art, and the body, that is the catalyst behind such empowering body mods. People like Rick pave the way for others who want to have the freedom of owning their body in a world where, often, the body is owned.
It disheartens me to write this so soon after the loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. If Rick Genest did indeed take his own life, then it is only more proof that the stigma surrounding mental health, and the bevy of options to regain peace and happiness in ones life, need to be communicated more. But regardless of how he died, whether horrible accident or a choice made in a very dark hour, Rick's passing should mostly be a reminder to fully appreciate and love those around you. In times of grief, and in times of bliss, make sure that your friends and family know you care, that you see them and that you would not be who you are without them. We at Tattoodo offer Rick's family and friends our deepest condolences. We thank Rick for his too short, but ultra powerful, presence in this world.