Ask any teenager where they got their first piercing, and chances are the answer will be either the mall or their friend’s bathroom. These piercings often result in infection, due to a lack of sanitation and piercing experience. Madison Street’s first piercing studio—Luxe Piercing is set to open in April at 7439 Madison St.—aims to change that.
“People can expect safe piercings,” said Luxe owner Jeff Clark, adding that he uses an aseptic piercing technique where the piercing instruments are sterilized in front of the client. A member of the Association for Professional Piercers (APP), Clark adheres to a strict set of guidelines set by the group, which requires that him to use certain materials and follow a set of steps to ensure safety.
“Piercings that get infected or don’t heal are usually because they have been done in unsafe conditions,” explained Clark, adding, “We want to be able to offer high-quality piercings.”
Clark, currently a piercing artist at Venture Tattoo in Oak Park, has been a body piercer for eight years. Raised in southwest suburban Plainfield, Clark got his start in the body art industry when a friend opened a tattoo studio. Clark was offered an apprenticeship for piercing, and after a few weeks at the studio, found his passion.
Body piercing, much like tattoo artistry, is one of the few careers left that still requires apprenticeship as the path to expertise.
“You find a mentor and learn from there,” Clark said, adding: “There is technically schooling out there, but you’re not getting the full experience. You’re not learning the history behind it.”
Clark honed his craft in Plainfield before moving to Oak Park with a friend to join the team at Venture Tattoo.
Luxe Piercing will primarily offer body piercing and high-quality jewelry made from implant-grade materials, meaning materials are certified to meet the standards for surgical implant applications. According to the APP website, these implant materials include surgical steel, titanium, niobium, gold, platinum, biocompatible polymers, and glass.
“When most people think body piercing, they think ring and barbell,” said Clark.
He said Luxe will offer a wide range of jewelry, including 14 to 18 karat gold and genuine stone jewels, which will be custom-sized for each individual.
Those interested in piercings must start by visiting the studio and choosing the jewelry. Artists at Luxe will help individuals choose jewelry appropriate for the individual’s desired piercing. Once jewelry has been selected, the necessary paperwork is filled out, followed by the actual piercing process.
Piercing, like tattooing, has an age restriction, and individuals under the age of 18 must have parental consent. Because certain cartilage piercings are harder to heal, staff at Luxe will help clients decide which piercings are appropriate for younger age groups. Clark said most people in this area come in for children’s ear lobe piercings, along with cartilage and nose piercings, and that very few request more extreme body modifications, like large gauges.
While Luxe will offer most body piercings, safety always comes first, making certain piercings off-limits.
“If it’s not going to heal properly, like horizontal tongue piercings, it’s not viable or a good idea,” said Clark.