Suspended In Time: The Phoenix Remembers Adam Aries

Adam Aries

The Boston music scene lost a favorite son this week. The same goes for the local arts community, the body modification world, and the Cambridge anti-establishment. Adam Aries, an activist and animal lover who was renowned as the leading piercing guru in the region, was as prolific in his creative endeavors as he was hard-working for rent money. When not stretching ears at Pino Bros Ink in Inman Square, Adam was heading the security team at the Middle East; and when he wasn't ejecting unruly dipshits from rock and hip-hop shows, he was tweaking cuts and videos at clubs around town as VDJ ZiD.

Adam, who passed in his sleep Tuesday for reasons that have not yet been determined, was a New Hampshire native who brought his craft and ambition to Boston six years ago, when he came to work at Darkwave Tattoo in Roxbury. Remembering his days as an ace swimmer and Granite State Ballet dancer in Nashua, his family describes a perpetually motivated young man who was intent on pushing all and any boundaries. At age 10, Adam's mom promised he could get his first earring if he won a swim competition. A driven and agile athlete, he did just that, and continued to explore his passion for ink and piercing over the following two decades (Adam was 28 at the time of his death).

A member of the Rites of Passage East Coast suspension group, Adam reveled in extreme acrobatics, dancing through the sky strung from metal hooks and custom riggings. As was always the case when he applied himself, Adam earned incredible respect in the suspension world, and was prominently featured in “Suspended in Time,” a masterful 2007 ambrotype project by New York photographer Matthew Larkin. Adam's intrepid mid-air swings toward higher consciousness exemplify a work ethic that both his friends and family emphasize as his defining attribute. “He never did anything the easy way,” says Frank Pino, a co-owner of Pino Bros. Adds Dave Norton, a Pino buddy who also hired Adam at the Middle East six years ago: “He wouldn't microwave popcorn if he could put it over a fire.”

Along with an eclectic group of friends to rival Andy Warhol's crew, Adam's family will remember a compassionate risk-taker who, as his mother, Susan, puts it: “was always looking for something different – something more.” He is survived by his parents, four younger siblings, his two adopted Boston terriers, and, any moment now, several dozen tribute tattoos – some of which, no doubt, will pay homage to the elaborate locust stretched across his windpipe. Even his brother Paul, 23, who until now has kept his canvas clean, is prepared to mark the memory. “I never really thought about getting any ink,” he says, “but in the past day it hasn't been a question of whether I plan to get a tattoo, but what I plan to get and where.”

A Celebration of Adam’s Life will be held, 1-3 and 5-8pm, Saturday, March 26, 2011 at Davis Funeral Home, One Lock St. in Nashua, NH. Family and friends are invited to attend. Also, there will be a party at ZuZu (Middle East), 474 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, MA, on Saturday April 2, 2011 from 12 to 4pm, to Honor and Celebrate Adam’s Life.

Those who wish may make a memorial contribution to the Humane Society for Greater Nashua, 24 Ferry Road, Nashua, NH 03064-8109 or your local branch of the Humane Society.

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