Tell your MOM I said ‘Hey’- A backyard BBQ with Sean Philips.
Sean Philips is a bad motherfucker with a voice that sounds like an angel orgasming at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. For the last two decades he’s been helping shape the industry we have today – there’s hardly a major event or forum he hasn’t participated in. If you’ve ever asked a piercing question online, there’s a good chance he was on the other side answering it. From humble beginnings inside a piercing pagoda to running his own studio with his wife, Sean has seen and done it all. We got up early in the morning to talk about the pre-BME days, history, and why getting your heroes drunk will make your dreams come true.
Ari – Sean, go ahead and give us an introduction.
Sean – My name is Sean Philips and I’ve been piercing 20 years. I started in 1996, so my career will be of legal drinking age in October. I am currently in Round Rock, Texas, right outside Austin where I own and pierce out of Golden Goat Tattoo Company. Continue reading →
Jim Sens is one of the genuinely sweetest guys you’ll ever meet. Like almost too sweet. Suspiciously sweet. Like, “Who the fuck is this guy? Why is he so nice? Who told him he could be so nice?” Jim has been a notable figure on the scene for quite some time now, being a big proponent of the early surface bar movement, and also for his breakneck speed with a needle. Jim has essentially taken the High Priestess Campus location to one of the most high volume shops in the country with his personality and skills. We recently sat down to talk about the midwest, the surface bar, and picking glue out of his penis.Ari- Ok bud, so give ahead, give it a whirl, do the introduction.
Jim Sens- Hi, I’m Jim, I’ve been piercing for a bit over 18 years, and I’ve been working at High Priestess for the last 10. I’ve worked at a variety of big name studios before that. I started out piercing at a studio in St Cloud, Minnesota, called Cloud 9 Tattoo. Before that I worked counter at a studio that isn’t around anymore called The Dark Side in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Trying to write anything aobut Pat Tidwell without resorting to superlatives is proving impossible. Respected body piercer is a given; when I asked a few mutual friends to describe Tid in one word I got back legend and iconic a few times- but I think I’m going to go with psychedelic sherpa and leave it at that.
This photo was taken in 2006 at the Southern California SCARWARS2 event- either by Atom Moore or Rachel Larratt. (It was in a folder labeled ‘lost disc’ so…)
Gregg, in my opinion, has always been a piercer worth watching – and not just in a creepy, webcam sort of way, but in the way that an eighteen year titan with a metric fuckton of creativity can’t help but captivate anyone actually interested in piercing. Even if they can’t pronounce his last name, piercers across the board universally appreciate his ingenuity, which in my opinion has not only influenced modern piercers but also modern jewelry. Amidst a sea of black arms and olive debates, people who can stand out on a technical and innovative level, and continue to push the momentum of this industry are always worth paying attention to. So I called Gregg to talk about his industrial work, working with other piercers, and why we’re all fucked once we get older.
When Blake Perlingieri opened the original NOMAD location in San Francisco in the Summer of 1993 it became the go-to shop for large gauge tribal inspired body piercing. The shop’s aesthetic- from it’s decor, organic jewelry options and young piercers and the experimental work they were doing- was an explosive 180° from the established piercing culture that came before it and along with Blake’s early appearances in Body Play helped refine the Modern Primitive look.
“Speaking of nodal points in history, of some emerging pattern in the texture of things. Of everything changing.”- William Gibson, All Tomorrow’s Parties.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, piercer Blake Perlingieri was instrumental in the shift from the prevailing aesthetic of body piercing (leather and levis) back to it’s primal roots; an evangelist who’s message was organic, freehand and raw. The logical heir to the Modern Primitive movement started by Fakir Musafar, Blake opened NOMAD twenty-four years ago and has been one of the industry’s true mavericks ever since.
This video features Blake performing large gauge conch piercings- part of what became known as the ‘Nomad look’- circa 1990s. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that without his influence, ear lobe stretching (and everything that came after) wouldn’t have taken hold so quickly in the piercing community. About the needles used: “Ranfac Corp made it. Single bevel. I think it was 5 or 6″ long and they were 72.00 each!!!”
Blake Perlingieri’s long out of print A Brief History of the Evolution of Body Adornment in Western Culture: Ancient Origins and Today should be in every body art fan’s library. A best seller on Shannon Larratt’s BMESHOP.COM and called a “Must have” by Fakir Musafar, a case of A Brief History has recently resurfaced and Blake will be making 200 copies available in a signed/numbered run. As Fakir said- it’s a must have; a true gem for anyone interested in the evolution of body modification. You can contact him for more information:
Blake Perlingieri c/o Nomad Piercing Studio 4827 SE DIVISION STREET, PORTLAND OREGON 97206
PIERCERS AND ENTHUSIASTS! Due to the number of inquiries I received after my lectures at APP 2015 and LBP 2016, my out of print book from 2003 will ONCE AGAIN be available in a VERY LIMITED EDITION of 200 copies. Printed on recycled paper in the United States with vegetable based ink (none of that cheap “made in China” printing), each book will be numbered, signed (custom autographed)and come with vintage Nomad memorabilia– flyers/stickers.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.” -America’s favorite Dirty Desert-Gypsy: Mr. Jesus Christ
The view from seat 12A on United flight 203 is an introspective one. “Who am I?”, “What have I accomplished?”, “ What is my identity?”. Ya know, the usual line of questioning you barrage yourself with at 5:30 in the morning, on 45 minutes of restless sleep, as you embark on a life changing 6 month long body piercing tour across America, ending with a move to another country to live with your incredible, Canadian wife. Ya know, the usual. And then I remembered something a dear friend of mine said to me: “Not everybody has the guts to do what they want.”. Continue reading →
You don’t need 2″ ears and a full black bodysuit to do that. The origins of our art form is tribal so that really only need exist in your heart. And you have to honor the traditions of our collective human mythology by incorporating tribal consciousness as well as aesthetics into what we do. – Blake Perlingieri, 2004
When I first saw a photo of Blake Perlingieri in Fakir Musafar’s BODY PLAY in 1991 the majority of people I knew in the piercing scene were decades older than me. My piercing elders would gently caution me against stretching my earlobes (despite me having 1/2″ nipple piercings and a meatotomy) for fear of public exposure and most of the clients of Jack Yount I was introduced to assumed I was his grandson not his friend and mentee. Aside from my brother, Brian Skellie and a few others the idea of a young, heavily tattooed and pierced person was generally considered a novelty in my community. Blake was only a few years older than me. He had 2″ earlobes (at that point mine were probably a humble 1/2″ or so) and tattoos that weren’t off-the-wall flash jobs that were there to prove you could be tattooed while saying nothing about the person wearing them. His photos assured me that the cultural shift that Jack had been telling me about- the old guard making room for the new generation- was coming.