|20 February 1933
|8 May 1996
|piercer, art teacher
Mr. Sebastian (February 20, 1933 - May 8, 1996) was the pseudonym and professional name of Alan Oversby. Mr. Sebastian was one of the primary figures in the development of contemporary body piercing in Europe.
Originally an art teacher, Alan Oversby left this profession to pursue his interests in tattooing and piercing. His first introduction to the world of body piercing was while working in British Guiana when he saw a couple of workers in the fields with gold rings in their nipples. His initial thought upon seeing them was, "That's what I want," so he got to know the workers, and they took him along to see someone who could perform the piercing for him. After that, he was hooked, and performed many more piercings on himself to perfect his technique before starting to work on others.
From his studio in London, he promoted both tattooing and body piercing, especially within the gay leather community. He was a correspondent of both Doug Malloy and Jim Ward. Sponsored by Malloy, he visited Los Angeles. Malloy also sponsored trips to London to visit him, bringing along Ward and Sailor Sid Diller. These exchanges were critical to the early spread of the techniques and technology used in contemporary body piercing.
Alan Oversby was also responsible for the adoption of the use of topical and local anesthetic in piercing procedure in Europe. Although they are used less often now, it was once standard practice to use anesthetics when performing piercings in England; in North America, this practice is almost unknown.
Alan, like the other men, was charged with assault with actual bodily harm for performing a genital piercing on a client. He was also charged with using anesthetic without a license and for sending obscene material through the post (photographs of piercings).
As the judge was not willing to take the consensuality of the participants into account, Alan pleaded guilty along with the other 15 men. He received a sentence of 15 months, which was suspended for two years.
- Alan was interviewed in the first issues of both Piercing Fans International Quarterly and Body Art Magazine.
- He did much of the tattooing and piercing on Psychic TV's Genesis P-Orridge and Paula P-Orridge. His vocals were used in the Psychic TV track "Message from The Temple" which appeared on their first album Force the Hand of Chance.
- Modern Primitives. Re/Search Publications. ISBN: 0965046931.
- The Beginnings of the Modern Body Piercing Movement BME article
- A Visit to London BME article