Piercing 1978

seventiespiercingHappy New Year, everyone.
Like a lot of photographs in my archive, this picture has very little in the way of a backstory to go with it. Sailor Sid Diller would often label his photos with typewritten stickers on the back, but other prints are far more mysterious.

The only information I have on this were the words “1978” written on the back of the photograph in blue ballpoint pen. It was likely done at a T&P Party 1 but that’s not confirmed.

Jim Ward believes the piercer to be Jim Anderson, and the piercee is Kinsey M.




  1. Hosted by Doug Malloy, these parties were a meeting place for early devotees of Body Piercing when it was a hobby not a business. These parties were a safe place for piercing fans who were often unwelcome at tattoo conventions.

Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community in existence. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.

7 thoughts on “Piercing 1978

  1. Your history is correct. Piercing parties were the “routine” prior to 1994. Tattoo conventions really hated the piercing people, opposite ends of the same spectrum. I never got it, but that’s the way it was.

  2. The fact that tattoo conventions hated piercing people is really weird. In the beginning, correct me here if I’m wrong, the spiritual experience / rite of passage of getting tattoo or getting pierced was pretty similar (and for someone still is I think), so why tracing lines on the sand?

  3. It was a fairly big deal at the time, juDe.
    You take a group of people who existed on the fringes of acceptable behavior, living under the stigma of ‘bad boys and bikers’ and they’re going to do anything they can to distance themselves from something that could cast even more negative press on them.

    To add a relevant analogy- some members of the gay community had a hard time dealing with the presence of Leathermen during the ‘gay liberation’ years. Same with piercing in the early days of pushing tattooing as a ‘legitimate art’.

    Ed Hardy made great strides with getting then (and I believe current?) Gov. Jerry Brown to proclaim tattooing as art, and the fear was that the media- what little media at the time covered tattoo conventions- would gravitate towards the ‘weirdos’.

    “he demonstration went well, and many people stopped by the Gauntlet table to ask questions. On the surface it appeared we were well received. But unknown to us there was trouble brewing. A number of the big name tattooists, among them Ed Hardy, were not pleased.

    “Since Ed Hardy had brought the subject of piercings up at the I.T.A.A. Reno Convention in 1977 (he felt, as did the overwhelming majority of Artists there that piercing did not belong at a Tattoo convention and should not be linked to tattooing. I.T.A.A. Members voted there and then not to have piercing at future conventions) it was decided on (by the suggestion of Bob Shaw) not to allow facial tattoos or piercings at the National Tattoo Conventions. This was to be a Convention to promote Tattooing and only Tattooing.” – Jim Ward

  4. Obviously that was followed up with the piercing community fearing exposure from the Body Modification subset.

    The hullaballoo that Jon Cobb caused when he did the uvula piercing, Haworth doing Enigma’s horns at Yurkew’s convention…

  5. I see. I happens all the time, as soon as someone isn’t an outcast anymore begins to behave exactly like the people who were keeping them out. Of course there were exceptions and I understand the process and the steps it had to make.
    I guess it wasn’t easy at all, years ago, to blend in these communities, and have different communities hang out together and accept each other, maybe even more difficult than with the mainstream people.

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