Body piercing is a bold and unique form of self-expression with a storied cultural history. The practice has been a feature of human culture for millennia, appearing in societies across the world. In many cultures, including some Native American, Southern Indian, and Nepalese societies, piercing still has cultural or ritual significance today. As expert piercer Johnny Pearce of Nine Moons Piercing explains, “Even now, thousands of years later, people from all walks of life are still piercing their bodies in both new and ancient fashions.”
While piercing of the septum, ears, and lips is still widely used today as it was by ancient cultures, modern humans have elevated and pushed the boundaries of piercing to discover new placements, new looks, and new purposes. Over the past few years, Johnny Pearce has discovered a passion for spreading the love and acceptance of this age-old practice across the world.
Why Pearce Loves Piercing
Pearce has been in love with the concept of adorning the body since he was a child, and it’s easy to see why. It is a fascinating practice with a rich history that stretches all the way back to the early days of human civilization. “It’s a truly beautiful act of creation with different applications across nearly every culture, throughout the entire history of mankind,” Johnny explains. “Even today, it holds meaning in many forms. It can be a rite of passage, a reclamation of your body, a moment of instant gratification, an unbreakable bond of friendship, an unforgettable memory, or that extra boost of confidence when you leave looking and feeling 100%.” Whatever their reason may be, Johnny wants to help make piercing a safe and beautiful experience for his clients.
Pearce also loves the clients and community he works with. In his experience, the piercing community is a very unique, interesting, and accepting group of people. “As in every group as large and diverse as that of piercing enthusiasts, there are outliers, but generally speaking, there is very little judgment and lots of love and support within the community,” he says. Pearce admires the bold and adventurous spirit of many clients he meets. “When we get pierced, it’s a bit like facing the fear of the unknown. And it’s no easy feat, it takes courage. And in exchange for that moment of bravery, you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime adornment, tailored just for you.”
Building a Piercing Career
Originally born Jonathan Lawrence Pearce of North Carolina, Johnny Pearce began his piercing career in 2010. His recognizable piercing style and comprehension for photography eventually gained him notoriety among the international piercing community and became a key foundation for his success. He’s an active member and passionate advocate of The Association of Professional Piercers, a non-profit international health and safety organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about safe body piercing. Johnny Pearce attends and teaches at the APP’s educational conference in Las Vegas each year, where thousands gather to freely share information to help fellow members, piercers, healthcare professionals, legislators, health inspectors, and the general public get the best and most up-to-date information about body piercing.
Featured on The Today Show and even as a special guest on Impractical Jokers, his client list includes recognizable names such as Cardi B, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Savannah Guthrie. After settling into a permanent role at Manhattan’s very own Nine Moons Piercing in 2019, he remains a New York City resident, actively piercing in SoHo.
Pearce loves to help people express themselves and take control of their bodies. Pearce hopes that through his work, media appearances, and upcoming book, he can share his love for the art of piercing with the world.