My earliest piercing experiences with Jack Yount taught me that he came from the bigger-is-better school; at a time when some piercers were starting with initial 14g jewelry, Jack was more prone to starting at 8g. Blake and Kristian at NOMAD SF certainly understood the appeal of large gauge piercings and jewelry, so when Jack visited their shop in 1994 he instantly warmed up to them both. This photo features Kristian and Jack- if you’d like to read up on an often overlooked face from the early 1990s piercing scene, check out this BME interview conducted by Shannon Larratt: https://news.bme.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/pubring/people/A10101/krist.html
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.
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.