The piercing industry is benefiting from a growing social acceptance of body art and other forms of self-expression. Recent estimates suggest that around 12% of American men have some form of piercing. For women, the number is thought to be at least 72%. In a notable difference from many other forms of body art such as tattoos, the popularity of piercing crosses boundaries of class, culture, and education. According to expert piercer Johnny Pearce, this is part of what makes piercing special. “I see all kinds of people from all walks of life coming into my studio,” he says. “Maybe that’s part of what’s so beautiful about piercing. It doesn’t matter what your gender is, your job, whether you have a house or a college degree. It’s a form of self-expression that all kinds of Americans (and many other cultures across the world) can share.”
Finding Success as a Professional Piercer
Originally born Jonathan Lawrence Pearce of North Carolina, Johnny Pearce began his piercing career in 2010. His recognizable piercing style and comprehension for photography eventually gained him notoriety among the international piercing community and became a key foundation for his success. He’s an active member and passionate advocate of The Association of Professional Piercers, a non-profit international health and safety organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about safe body piercing. Johnny Pearce attends and teaches at the APP’s educational conference in Las Vegas each year, where thousands gather to freely share information to help fellow members, piercers, healthcare professionals, legislators, health inspectors, and the general public get the best and most up-to-date information about body piercing.
Featured on The Today Show and even as a special guest on Impractical Jokers, his client list includes recognizable names such as Cardi B, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Savannah Guthrie. After settling into a permanent role at Manhattan’s very own Nine Moons Piercing in 2019, he remains a New York City resident, actively piercing in SoHo.
Pearce on the Value of Persistence
According to Johnny, working in piercing is like anything else in life. “There are always challenges,” he says. Though there are (and have always been) challenges in almost every aspect of body piercing and the industry, the important thing is that you don’t give up. “You can’t let yourself be defeated by the hurdles that life puts in your way,” he advises. “Even if something doesn’t work out the way you planned, you can’t be deterred. If you fall, you pick yourself up and try again.”
Living Your Vision of Success
Johnny believes that success is entirely relative to the perspective of the viewer. “For some people, success is being the head of a prosperous Fortune 500 company. For others, success is making it through another day at work, just keeping lights on and stomachs full, while simultaneously finding the willpower to put on a collected face for their kids. The truth is that the degrees of success are infinite, with none more valid than the other,” he explains. This is a poignant and powerful message, one that Johnny hopes will inspire others to reevaluate their own values and vision of success.
Johnny’s measure of success is simple: applying yourself to the task in front of you and doing the very best job that you can. “Even if you fall short of your goal, you can learn from the experience and grow, which is success in itself! No one can ask for more than that.”
Piercing is Back in Style
The future of piercing is ambiguous, yet hopeful – like a sunlit haze on the horizon. No one can really say for certain where the industry is headed, but the general consensus among industry insiders seems to be that the increase in social acceptance will lead to new growth in piercing and other areas of the body modification industry. As for Johnny, he feels optimistic about the future of the industry. “I couldn’t tell you where the industry will be in five or ten years, but wherever it’s going, I’m excited to be along for the ride,” he says.
About Nine Moons Piercing
Nine Moons Piercing is an acclaimed body piercing studio in Manhattan. It exclusively carries BVLA, a top-quality gold body jewelry brand, and offers custom options for every piercing service. The studio’s sterilization process is state of the art and its stylist’s jewelry curations are unparalleled. Nine Moons prides itself on providing a safe and luxurious experience for each of its clients.