sugar & spikes tattoo feature, halloween edition: “zombie boy” rick genest

October 24, 2012

The hauntingly alluring “Zombie Boy”, Rick Genest, redefines the face of beauty with his head to toe body art that has turned him into the Living Dead. To Rick, he is simply exhibiting his true self through skin art and it is that honesty that allows him to feel more alive…looking like a zombie. When he speaks he is surprisingly soft spoken, charming, engaging and very real. Just like with any other art form, if you are genuine about your work, people will see your true spirit through your creation. Zombie Boy’s vibrant character truly transcends through his tattooed shades of decay.
Rick grew up in Canada and at age 15 found himself staring at his own mortality. Doctors had discovered a brain tumor and told him that he was not going to live.  Fortunately, he pulled through the surgery but times got sour soon thereafter when Rick became a homeless teen.  His friends on the street called him Zombie because to he was walking around alive when he was supposed to be dead. It was a tough time for Rick but he discovered getting tattoos had given him a way to release his frustrations and express himself.  When he turned 21 years old, he really fleshed out the process of becoming a walking corpse with tattoo artist, Frank Lewis, who is responsible for the majority of the designs on his body. While the idea of embodying a zombie may seem morbid, Rick found the zombie art to be much more of a celebration of all things that did bring joy to his life; horror films and books and walking out alive from a terminally ill situation.

Two years ago, famous fashion director, Nicola Formichetti, found Rick on Facebook and invited him to model in Thierry Mugler’s fashion show.  He became so enamored with Rick that he personally paid off the debt Rick accrued while being homeless and flew him out to Paris.  The power of social media is amazing, isn’t it?  It was at this fashion show that Lady Gaga discovered him and later featured him in her music video, “Born This Way”.  His career skyrocketed in the modeling industry since then and he currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most tattooed bugs at 176 and human bones at 139.
There will be those who will not understand Zombie Boy and pass judgement. To those people, I say this; there are those of us who chooses to hide our skeletons in the closet and those of us who like to wear them.

By Mika Kenyah CEO of Sugar & Spikes