This is my personal experience, and advice on how to go about it.
First off, I’ve loved body mods since I was in elementary school thanks to my dear older sister. So when I found a shop to take me on in August I was beyond ecstatic. I heard that Johnny Ray’s was a good shop, since he owned another shop called Majestiks.
My Mother and the owner agreed that in January I’d pay $500 to him and I’d start apprenticing ‘formally’. I don’t know why on Earth that didn’t raise a red flag then. But the owner said I could come by and he’d teach me a few medical things and I could get used to everyone before I started working there.
So I told him I’d be back the next day instead of wandering around after school (since my mother always comes late v.v). The next day I came back and learned many things about the shop. First off, I wasn’t even allowed to mention Sacred Art.
Sacred Art is his ex wife’s shop, across the street. That shop was where all of my piercings had been done (if you live in Tucson go get pierced by Britney <3 she’s amazing). Anyway I was told they had a bad divorce, the shop was terrible and unsanitary, and I’d lose my job if I mentioned it.
I also learned that Johnny treated the piercers like crap basically. We were a way to make ‘fast money’ -.-
The worst part was when one of the guys working there told me to come into the back to learn how to make the food for the sharks. (Now I can’t believe that a tattoo shop has a shark tank) So like a good kid I did, but I regret it badly now. Upon going back there I had my bum groped, struggled to get away and almost had someone shove their dirty nasty tongue down my throat.
Needless to say I left, and called the owner. Johnny Ray basically blamed it all on me, saying it was my fault and shit. When he told me to come into the shop. like wtf? But on my part it was incredibly immature of me.
** Later on I found out Sacred Art isn’t a bad shop. Johnny Ray’s isn’t even supposed to be on fourth, it’s against a restraining order. All of the shops around tucson hate Johnny Ray, and wanted me to press charges, but I waited to long.
After awhile I found Black Rose. Black Rose is voted Tucson’s best, and is seriously amazing. The piercer Kristin is a sweet heart and I love her to death. She’s an amazing teacher and even bought me the piercing bible.
The shop is super professional, clean, and fun to go into. I don’t feel scared, I feel safe and happy and love everyone there because their so nice.
The moral is: If you want to be an apprentice, just don’t jump in head first like I did. If a shop agrees to take you on, tell them thank you and tell them you’ll discuss it with your parents and be back to them. Any good shop should appreciate this. Find out the good and negative things about the shop, and pick somewhere that’s mostly good and not negative. <3
I. Hate. When. People. Don’t. Know. Shit. About. Body. Modification.
Let’s go over this, shall we?
Piercing guns = bad. They break/traumatize the skin, thus making it more prone to infection. There is not a proper way to sterilize a piercing gun. Can you say nasty? Needles are put into an autoclave and properly sterilized. Each needle is fresh and hasn’t been used for someone else’s piercing. Like, “Oh here I just pierced this girl’s labia with this piercing gun, but don’t worry! I wiped it down with some rubbing alcohol.” NO.
There are in fact standard sizes for piercings. For example, many ear piercings are done with a 16g needle. Piercing guns use jewelry that’s usually about 18g-22g. Some people will have their ears pierced with a larger needle upon request. Belly button piercings are typically done with a 14g needle, but sometimes a 16g needle if the person has a smaller shelf.
Do not stretch your ears with crap from Hot Topic or Spencer’s. Acrylic materials are super porous and that’s a no-no for freshly stretched piercings, or any piercing in general, really. Use the taping method and if you don’t know what it is, google it. Also, they’re not “gauges,” okay? They’re plugs.
Honestly, just research before you do anything to your body.
I am a lucky one here, one who had a good home tattooing experience. However, I did it for some wrong reasons and this is my experience, hopefully with some wisdom.
So, the guy I went to works at my uncle’s bike shop. He is a talented artist- a dropout from the Art Institute of Chicago, a licensed welder, and a fairly accomplished tattooist. I talked to him and he said he would do custom work at an affordable price. For some reason, my young thick skull thought “Oh, I will save money for the rest of this trip!” and disregarded all of the warnings I ever heard against home tattoos. When I arrived at his apartment, however, I was amazed. He had cordoned a little section off in his art studio specifically for tattooing. I also learned that he was licensed and blood-borne pathogen certified, so my fears faded away.
He drew up the design and I watched Bob Marley on the TV in his studio area. We shot the shit and laughed as he designed my tattoo. Once he was done with the design, though, he got dead serious. He told me everything that would happen, what I would need to do for aftercare, etc. He didn’t skimp out on details about what I needed to do with this. Long story short, the whole process went great and I have a piece of art on my left arm that makes me smile every morning when I see it in the mirror.
The moral of the story: Even with my positive experience, 98% of home mods are bad news. As I have educated myself more with modification in theory and experience, it is generally just a plain bad idea. Educate yourself about modifying yourself, and in any situation that something doesn’t feel right, leave. Losing fifty dollars should be the least of your worries. Our bodies are temples and we should adorn them beautifully, but Pope Julius II didn’t commission a kindergartner to paint the Sistine Chapel Ceiling!
I have been seeing a lot of people asking about surface Piercings rejecting. My boyfriend has four on the back of his neck. The top two have been in for FIVE years, the bottom two have been in for FOUR years. Even still he has to clean them because gunk buildup sometimes occurs. But they are very healthy. So if you take good care of your surface Piercings they can last a while :) I also have a pic if you would like to see them :)
I have a few bad mods… Two tattoos and my lobes to be exact. The tattoos were done with a “homemade” gun, and we were all quite drunk.
My first tattoo:
My second tattoo:
I do plan on getting both tattoos covered up by a professional. Take it from me, don’t get any modification unless a professional does it. The experience is terrible, and the finished product is no where near what you would want it to be.
Now for my ear…
This happened with a “professional”… The first and only time I let someone else stretch my ear for me. The next morning I woke up with the plug next to me on the pillow, and my ear looked like this. You have no idea how pissed off I was…
I went back to the shop to complain about it when I was able got get a day off work(which wasn’t until a week or two after it happened). To my surprise, I find out that she quit to be a stripper, then she was fired from that because of drugs…. Yea… Now I have to save up money to get it fixed… :(
Alas, I don’t have pictures, just stories from high school:
First and foremost, I’ll toss myself up before I toss my old friends on the swords.
I had my earlobes done at 16 (I’m 32 now) at the shadiest, dirtiest, thankfully long since shut down by the health department shop. The guy who did it didn’t wear gloves, had an autoclave covered in fast food wrappers (I don’t even know if it worked) and when I told him I was only 16 he said, “Just sign where it says you’re 18.” and gave a wink.
Being 16 and stupid, I did. He pierced them, at least, with new needles and at 22ga, then told me I could totally wear any earrings I wanted while they healed and sold me heavy, cheap, silver plated ‘goth’ looking things. Needless to say, healing was a bitch, they migrated even lower than they were already done, and somehow I managed to stretch them up to 10ga over the years before deciding I hated how low they were and taking them out. The holes never entirely closed. I had them redone about a year and a half ago at 8ga and had them done ABOVE the original holes as I mentioned to the piercer that I eventually hoped to get them to 00ga. They’re at 00ga now, but when there’s nothing in there you can still see the remains of the old holes below the properly done ones.
Back in 1998, I worked at Hot Topic, and even then had learned that “piercing gun = bad”. I refused to pierce people when I worked there and told the managers I wasn’t comfortable with it for many reasons, including that I wasn’t a trained piercer and that piercing guns weren’t sterile or safe and would try very, very hard to talk people who came in for an ear piercing out of getting it done in the store.
I remember one girl who came in, said she was 15, lifted her shirt and showed me a disgusting, swollen, red-green-yellow (and oozing, YUMMY!) navel piercing, wanting to know what she could do for it because “alcohol isn’t working and neither is the cleaning solution from Claire’s.” I told her her best bet was to talk to a doctor or have her mom/dad take her in because it looked REALLY infected. Her reply? “I can’t, my mom doesn’t know I have it and she’d be pissed!” /facepalm
- One girl I was friends with pierced her tongue with a nail and hammer when she was 14 because she wanted a tongue piercing and her mom said no. After it was done, filed the nail’s tip down and tried to leave it in there as the “barbell” because, in her words, “it looks BADASS”. Being a NAIL it started to rust, she got a nasty infection, and ended up in the hospital for a few days because of surgical requirements to remove said nail.
- Another girl I knew pierced and re-pierced her right eyebrow so often with safety pins, which she’s leave in (and they’d reject/get infected, she’d let it heal over, then DO IT AGAIN) to the point that she still has scars and no eyebrow hair on half of her right brow. Awesome. She also used to do the same thing with her lips: Piercing and re-piercing them with safety pins (and, of course, wearing the safety pins as jewelry because ‘they look cool’) and being completely miffed as to why they’d get infected all the time. Both sides of her bottom lip still have fairly obvious scar tissue from that.
- A friend of mine, about the same time I got my earlobes done, got his helix done at Claire’s with a stud gun. He said he’s never had anything hurt that much in his LIFE. All of his other piercings have been done at actual professional shops and not, y’know, at the mall.
Hey, at least 2/4 of us learned from our teenaged mistakes. The other two still occasionally do ‘self piercings’ that always end up rejecting or infected.
"Gauging" your ears annoys other people? Well, that's not a first.
I found a way to hurt myself without hurting myself.
The whole cutting thing is really messed up, and too bloody for me- I would fail at starving myself because I love food, so I started gauging my ears. Bonus-it’s something my ex hates.
I’m up to 4’s now so the pain isn’t extreme, but that feeling, right when I force the next size in is so clarifying. It makes everything real, pulls me out of the fog I sit in all day. It makes me focus on it and nothing else. It’s a good pain.
I wonder if anyone else has done this or if I’m just super lame.
This girl I know got her first tattoos around the same time I got mine last year, apparently she went to this guy’s living room for her session and he charged her about $50 an hour? She tried her hardest to get me to go to him too, but I knew even then that getting tattooed in someone’s house is super sketchy, so I never went. I’m starting to think the guy might have been giving discounts to people that brought him new victims. Just look at that shading, those stars, and those lines… Just. Awful.
Bonus: The man even has a god awful website to go with his work. Check out the flower on the front page. *shudder* http://www.ikeinktat.com
As I was getting off the bus today. There was a heavily modified guy whom had an acrylic taper in his ear worn as jewellery. THEY WERE AT LEAST AN INCH! As he walked it pulled right down on his lobe and his ear was just so angry! Tapers even look bad at that size anyway. It’s just so wrong. Happy infections! _________________________
Doesn’t that kinda make you wanna kick him in the shins? Ugh.
What’s awful about this? Well, I don’t know if this is necessarily “awful”, but it definitely worries me. ____________________________________
It’s not. Honestly, I own one. And they come in quite… Handy. *Ahem* ;D Of course, it’s not something you should put in your piercing right away and oral sex of any variety (male or female) should be avoided or at least dental dammed (condoms too, which pretty much defeats the purpose of oral sex, so just don’t do it, promise?) for a minimum of four or so months during healing.
Hello, I'm a 15 year old boy and I'm very interested in becoming a body piercer, do you have any tips for that? E.g what you need to know before you apply to a shop, how to get hired etc. Sorry for my bad english, I'm swedish :P
I honestly have no idea, I know the entails for doing it in the US, specifically Minnesota. But in Sweden, I have no clue. Can any of our followers help this dude? :)
One of my friend got this shit tattooed by a friend of him. When I told him the circles weren’t round he said that he wanted it like that, and when people told him that it looked like shit, his friend who is a total amateur said that people were jealous. OF WHAT ?! Please it looks like shit
This is why you don't trust anyone to tattoo you at their house.
This guy, whom my mom’s ex fiance went to and I’ve heard great things from, is a tool. He said he had been tattooing for 17 years, and he seemed professional. He had an autoclave and he opened the needles right in front of me, he had a nice room where he did the tattoos.. But, damn. I wasted about $640 on this guy. :/ I feel like a retard.
Here’s his work.
My first tattoo. Not too bad, but the stars suck, and the swirls are faded really bad. This cost me about $180. (He said I got a deal):
Where I circled is what happened a few days later. I got a staph infection. Fabulous, right?
Second tattoo. (Yes, I was dumb enough to return, because I thought that the first one looked good. Mind you, I still LOVE the first one. Just needs to be touched up.) This one was $400.:
TThis one is just skadljhfslkjdh. I hate it.
I mean, I LOVE the meaning behind it, but damn. The shading sucks, people always ask WHAT it is. Ugh. sdklfh.
Last one. Cost me $60. Piece of shit. :
I learned my lesson.
I now have to spend waaayy over a grand to fix these. :/
When I was 11, I went to a jewelry shop to pierce a second hole in my lobes. WENT WRONG. Gun + no gloves + every bullshit that comes with a non-pro piercer = it hurts + I’ve got an infection each time I put a jewelry in my right hole. Even 6 years later. But anyway, that’s not where I wanted to go through my title.
I’ve been stretching for 4 years now, I’m at 14 mm (9/16”) and my lobes are perfectly fine. But I think I’m lucky…
6 mm to 8 mm: I went to a reputable piercer. He stretched my lobe with an ACRYLIC plug. So it also went wrong and btw I discovered my allergy to acrylic… So imagine the allergy with an unhealed lobe… Needless to say it was HORRIBLE.
10 mm to 12 mm: the steel plug didn’t fit in my lobe (which had been healed for about a year) so the piercer (another than the 1st one) used silicon to strech it. Fortunately, my lobe was OK.
As I was dumb, I thought “OK so if a piercer from whose I heard good things used a silicon plug, I’ll do the same”. So I did it for my second lobe! Everything turned right (my body seems to like silicon, but we never know so please use a proper material)
Then, 3rd piercer I went to: I asked her if it was OK to put something like acrylic in a fresh piercing (referring to the 6 mm to 8 mm whom I’d been shocked) and she answered… yes. (Quite disappointing since I love to be pierced by her). She also added that a lot of piercers do that because it is cheaper (I understand if you want to cry). I don’t want to live on this planet anymore
So, I want to be a body piercer, but the fact a lot of pro put shit materials in fresh piercings scares me.
Well, it’s in your hand to become a good piercer and make things change. :D
That’s why i became a piercer. I wanted to help people having good mods. And i ‘m always surprised to see that there is too many piercers around the world who doesn’t understand their job…