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Interview: Professional Piercer of Mulhouse

Meeting at Modern Primitive

Body-piercings are more and more common nowadays. You can spot them everywhere! That's why we went to interview Jean-Luc Chevalier, who is a professional piercer established in Mulhouse (France), in order to better understand this phenomenon and to enlighten those who are still sceptic towards this body modification.

Why did you choose to be a piercer?

For a start, body-piercing is for me a passion. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, it's a real work on oneself when one decides to pierce his body. I am just amazed by the beauty and the spiritual values that go with the piercing. We could think of it as a "rediscovery of the body". But the psychological aspect also interests me much. So I'm a piercer because I like to perform successfully a nice piercing and I like to work on the psychological aspect of reassuring the customer. At last, the body-piercing is very enriching because it involves every social classes and every cultures.

What are your daily tasks?

Modern Primitive Piercing Shop Mulhouse
Modern Primitive
13, rue Louis Pasteur
68100 Mulhouse

My principal mission is to inform, mostly on the sterilization. I also do the reception, the selling of jewels and accessories, I perform the piercing but I also provide care afterwards. I settle appointments every two weeks until the healing to be sure that everything is in order.

"The jewels that we use at the first time, when performing a body-piercing, are certified to be in titanium, which is a bio-compatible and an anti-allergic material."

How do you guarantee the success of your body-piercings?

First of all by good hygiene. It is the most important and it's the basis of this craft. I always ensure that all tools I use are sterilized. These tools are used only once and the sterilization techniques are the same than in hospital. There are 3 steps: the tools are first roughly decontaminated, then they are exposed to ultrasonics waves and finally they're put in an autoclave. The autoclave is kept at 134° in order to neutralize the bacterias. I also collect every needles and send them for treatment to a hospital where they are incinerate, via Médical 68.

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Double eyebrow piercing
Photo: IcyShire

Aren't you ever scared to fail a body-piercing?

I was of course not very comfortable at my first piercing but I now have 10 years of experience behind me so I'm now totally self-confident. Moreover, I always do a medical check-up, as much as my abilities allow me, to ensure that the piercing is possible on the chosen body-area. If I have a doubt, I ask the person to visit the doctor before performing the act. I also ask the person for allergic background, and I do not pierce teenagers without parental permission. Also, I do not hesitate to refuse a piercing if it's too risky, because of the morphology of the person, for example.

How does one become a piercer? What is your career?

There are different possible ways to become a piercer. One week trainings are very expensive and aren't sufficient in my opinion. The hygiene explanations and the psychological aspect towards the customer are almost ignored. There are also many training centers that are not recognized by the state. As far as I'm concerned, the internship is the best way. I personally started with a week of training but then I thought I haven’t learned enough so I did a two-years internship at the « Body Piercing School » in Strasbourg. My instructor was Michael Da Silva. That's where I really learnt, I was really looked after in my exercises. Sometime I was filmed in order to analyse my mistakes afterwards.

Double eyebrow piercing 2
Photo: IcyShire

Since last year (in 2009), a diploma recognized by the state has been established in France to get the right to work as piercer. What do you think about this?

I think this is a good thing and it will do some cleaning between quacks and professionals. We all have to do an upgrade and it’s not at all a problem for me. The body-piercing is finally recognized in France, this is pleasing.

What is the current economic situation of the body-piercing sector?

At the moment, the concurrence is growing. A lot of people are interested by the body-piercing and want to become piercers. We are witnessing a real democratisation of the piercing. As far as I am concerned, I am well established in Mulhouse and I rely a lot on the word of mouth. I don't encounter many problems and I live decently of my craft.

Let's thank Jean-Luc Chevalier for his explanations and his professionalism which reassures us all. Unfortunately, many piercers do not care that much to their customer's health. We therefore advise you to always check the facilities and the equipment of your piercer. Even if the government is starting to set up measures of control, the incapability will always exist and you will never be safe from a nasty surprise. Do not hesitate to demand a visit of the sterilisation room.

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