Interview With Cello
So, to start off, tell me long have you been piercing?
It’s just going on 15 years now.
Sweet, and what first got you into it – did you start off getting piercings or tattoos?
Piercing was the first thing I did. I got pierced when I was about 15. I was always into the idea and at the time I was just doing crappy factory work that didn’t really inspire me, but I was able to get tattooed and pierced while working there, made enough money to finance getting that work done, so I started to get really into both. I’ve always liked piercings since I was a kid though – seeing images of punks and such; rings all the way down the ears. I always admired it.
How did the idea to work in the industry first strike you?
I guess it was a bit gradual. I was doing jobs as a forklift driver and the likes and it wasn’t really doing it for me, and so I started to think more and more about not just being someone who is into getting pierced and inked but to get more into the lifestyle and be on the other side of things. I was always into tattoos but I was never good at drawing, so that wasn’t much of an option.
And what was it about piercing that encouraged you to make the leap in actually working in that area?
It was down to the more piercings I got, the more it became interested in working in it. I started stretching my ears, and would go in to get them stretched. It didn’t seem difficult to do – all you’ve to do is just put the jewelry through really, adding a millimetre at a time or whatever. But when they started to get bigger I realised I needed something to push through it first, and then widen the hole and then put it in. And I started to think, well yeah I could just be doing this. So I tried to get into piercing then but it was just really, really hard to get into it.
Interesting, how so?
Well I was really young at the time, it wasn’t as big an industry as it is now, and I didn’t know anyone in the industry exactly. I didn’t have proper experience, so it was hard to find someone who would go out on a limb for me, y’know.
I can imagine, yeah. How long did it take?
It took me years before someone finally did. I was working in telesales in between; selling broadband. I was just done with it one day and I said, “alright, that’s enough” and just walked away from it in the middle of the day.
Yeah! Not in a bad way like. My manager came over and was asking if I was ok and I was just like “yeah I’m done,” she asked what I meant and I just said “yeah I can’t do this job any more to be honest, I have to leave”. So she said that’s grand, we’ll get security to escort you out of the building. But I explained that I wasn’t mad at the place or anything, I just had reached my threshold for it and needed to move on. I decided, at 2PM in the day or whatever, that I was done. And I actually walked straight from the office – it was in Grand Canal Dock – I was just walking and walking thinking, gosh I need to sort out a job right now, and I headed straight into Wildcat on Stephens Green and asked them and they said yeah – right away!
You obviously had that look of intent anyway.
They were asking me what I’d done and I plainly said that I was passionate about it, had never worked in a studio but had worked on myself and friends, that I was eager to learn. Then yeah they took me on then and there.
Awesome. So you were apprenticed to somebody for a while there?
Well I technically had an apprentice, but he never showed up. It was actually Patric, who is at the Ink Factory now who showed me everything. He was there at the time and he took me on. It was kind of unofficial, ‘just sit there and watch, don’t tell anyone, and I’ll show you the ropes’ situation, and we became close buds. So it wasn’t a formal apprenticeship, but he introduced me to it all; basically, I’m as good a piercer as I am today because of what Patric thought me. And once I had that base knowledge and experience, I was able to travel places and work in piercing wherever I went – England, the North, around the country.
It is certainly one of those things about tattoo or piercing work, you can just move around seamlessly, and your skills and reputation will allow you to slot into other such work environments wherever you go.
Yeah I mean, I’m always hungry to work in a studio that’s busy and produces great quality work. And I don’t think I’m going to come across one better than the Ink Factory in that regard – it’s super busy, vibrant, and everyone gets on with everyone; it just works. I hate saying it, y’know, it sounds clichéd and all, but were like a family basically. It’s great to get to work in a place like that.
Do you have a favourite type of piercing to do?
Depends on what mood I’m in really. Sometimes it’s intricate inner ear stuff, another day it might be something different. It changes. I like doing microdermal implants. Anything where there’s more than just piercing involved, like removing people’s contours, cutting out cartilage and putting a tunnel through it. Stuff like that means you’ve to be really focused and in the zone to do it correctly…..…not that I’m a sadist or anything… “I love taking flesh out of people” (Laughs).
OK so in your time piercing, from when you first started getting work done to yourself, to now working years in an industry which is becoming more and more popular all the time – how do you think piercing has changed?
Well it’s way more mainstream now. Years ago when I started, I guess it was more for rockers; a back alley kind of thing. That vibe was just phasing out when I started to get into it. There’s been a ton of famous people over the years who, I’d say, have probably done more than anything else to bring piercings, and tattoos, to the level of popularity they’re at now. Especially so for tattoos. But overall this celebrity presence has totally changed the impression that people getting work done are criminals, or something like that.
Often I’ll notice a load of people coming in for a particular type of piercing and then go asking around or search online and I’ll see that some celebrity has recently sported it. A big one in recent times has been the daith piercing, which apparently helps with migraines. I’ve noticed a lot of people asking for that.
Another huge one over the past while of course is the septum piercing, especially for guys now, I’d imagine there used to be very few requests for that a few years back?
A lot of septums, a lot yep. Septums, noses and nipples are the most popular ones that I can see at the moment. I think I’ve done more septums in the past few months than I’ve done in that last four years. I’m not exaggerating at all.
Interesting. OK, to conclude with a broad enough question – what do you think it is about piercings that makes it so fascinating? What’s its fundamental draw for you?
For me… It wasn’t like I set out trying to be different, it was something that just started to feel natural for me. That was at the point where I started changing friends. Some of my mates were like “why are you doing that? Ya weirdo” and I just thought, “why not?” I never doubted what I was going for and my interest only grew.
I suppose, with all forms of body modification, it does in a way sort out who will accept you and how you want your identity to be, and those who, like you said, would prefer you to just stay more like them.
Yeah exactly. And, y’know, even stretching my mind back now, I can’t say 100% why I went for it. I just liked the look of it, liked how it looked on others, and felt that this was the direction for me. There’s always that part of you that wonders how your life will change if you change your appearance in this way… but also, for anyone who meets you afterwards, how you look then is just how you are to them. So you can adapt your appearance in line with tier developing identity. To be honest, I think most people want to get work done, they just feel they can’t because of their social group or job or whatever. People told me, for instance, well now women won’t be into you. But I just thought, OK well they’ll just be women I probably wouldn’t be into anyway!