Pro-Piercer Interviews – Spider X
This interview was a long time in the making, but well worth the wait! I had a chance to speak with Spider X of Omega Red Piercing and Tattoo in the small city of Cedar Falls, Iowa. I had the chance to do a guest spot at Omega Red and despite the awful winter weather, I really enjoyed my time with the crew and have made some lifelong friends!
KP: How long have you been piercing? Where did you get your start?
Spider: I have been piercing since 2004. I started at a small studio in a less then nice part of the town.
KP: As you know, training and education is important. Tell me about your background.
Spider: I’m an APP business member, which speaks for itself. There are a lot of politics concerning APP, but in general, I believe that quality piercers strive to do the best work they can, always. I want to be the best I can, so that means I will never stop researching and asking questions. I’ve taken APP classes and am constantly conducting personal research regarding piercing/scarification practices. I also learned quite a bit from the owner of Omega Red, Mike Green.
KP: What challenges did you overcome to get where you are at today?
Spider: Poverty, doubt from others, lack of confidence socially, rejection from family, unacceptable work conditions, etc.
KP: What did you do to over come those issues?
Spider: I eventually started to make more money. I also had some training with someone named FreakyNat that helped me learn how to be more social. I left the places with unacceptable working conditions. I believe people reject things they cant or don’t want to understand. I’m not sure if my family that didn’t except me for my choice to be in the body modification industry ever learned to except it. I’m not sure it matters.
KP: What do you feel is the biggest problem in the piercing industry today?
Spider: Many piercers have unnecessary egos. It is usually the ones that aren’t qualified to be doing much of anything, let alone the things they are trying. They call themselves “highly experienced” or “professional”. Some times these same people aren’t even working out of a studio.
I also hate the cheapening of the industry, jewelry, tools, etc.
KP: I agree. I love nice jewelry! Who is your current favorite designer(s)? Why?
Spider: I like weights and hanging style jewelry quite a bit. Angry God, Oracle, Tawapa and Omega Red are some favorites. I also like Neometal to pierce with, no more jewelry working its way out and it is all titanium.
KP: I love titanium, and it’s the only metal available in my studio! Why do you love titanium?
Spider: Its hypoallergenic, it can anodized and it happens to be threadless if its from Neometal, which I love.
Spider: I like to perform piercings that provide the customer with a better look. For example, when a client becomes a regular and wants ideas from me, one of the first things I like to do is make the individual symmetrical if possible. I also like to straighten and retouch any other piercings they have if possible, and or beneficial. I try to concentrate on the overall look.
KP: What is the craziest thing you’ve seen in the piercing studio?
Spider: Anything from people passing out before a piercing to inappropriate sexual behavior in the piercing room.
KP: I’ve heard of people having to do all kinds of weird things during their apprenticeship; do you have any stories to share?
Spider: My apprentice was forced to eat REALLY hot curry, until he almost puked several times. Also women’s underwear on young men is hilarious!
KP: We’ve all seen piercings that have gone terribly wrong; What’s the worst thing you’ve ever witnessed?
Spider: Its hard for me to judge what the “worst” was. This one sticks out in my mind. A woman came in an hour after getting a tongue web piercing at the local novelty/t-shirt shop. She asked me to check it out. To my astonishment, her neck and sub-lingual area had swollen. I removed the piercing, and later she went to emergency room where she was injected with steroids because she had acquired lock-jaw.
KP: Any stories to share about any memorable clients or piercings you have performed?
Spider: I’ve had all kinds of clients that I have been blessed to meet. I am actually really privileged to be doing some work in the future for the man that first gave me a chance in the industry, Alan Munger. Its just amazing to see things come full circle and now I get to be a part of a great experience. Its a coming of age for me. When I first started piercing, I had someone do something that a lot of others didn’t. I had someone give me chance. This is the same man that is doing my sleeve, Alan Munger of In Vivo Studios. He has always wanted his labret cut. So now this guy that helped me years ago, is going to have this fantastic body modification that represents achievement to him, done by me.
KP: What advice do you have to aspiring piercers?
Spider: Its not easy. Don’t let your ego get in the way. There is always more to learn. This is not for everyone.
KP: How have you seen the piercing industry evolve since you’ve started?
Spider: Better options for jewelry have arisen. Jewelry that was once located at the studio is now located at the mall or online. There are more educational resources available. More people are now being more visibly heavily modified.
KP: What do you think the future of body piercing holds? What do you hope to see 10 years from now?
Spider: I think its going to go both ways. There gonna be the high quality side that’s going to continue with more innovations to made piercing more safe. There’s gonna be the lower quality side of things that will grow also, like super cheap acrylic “gauges”.
Spider: I started in 2006.
KP: What drives someone to get a design cut rather than tattooed?
Spider: Its a spiritual experience, for some its a way to connect with an artist on another level.
KP: Do you find that there is an energy exchange between you and the client when performing a scarification procedure?
Spider: I personally find that the experience is more intense, and its creates a inner peace for the client is finished.
KP: What’s the most recent scar you’ve performed that impacted you?
Spider: I did braille on a girl yesterday. She has macular degeneration (loss of vision in the center of the visual field) and she works with people that are differently-abled and she has a real place in her heart for them and others with disabilities. So I suggested we do the braille for “heartfelt” over her heart, so it can be felt.