Piercing Culture Revival Where Art Meets Adornment


The art of body modification has come a long way, evolving to become a thriving culture of self-expression. Earlobe piercings have become commonplace, and facial piercings, once considered edgy, are now a symbol of style. In the ever-evolving world of piercing, one name stands out as a beacon of expertise and artistry: Brian Keith Thompson at Body Electric on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. Let’s delve into the resurgence of piercing culture and the captivating journey of Brian Keith Thompson.

Piercing Culture’s Resurgence

Piercing is no longer confined to the fringes of alternative subcultures; it has found its place in mainstream fashion and personal expression. Thanks to a new generation of enthusiasts, celebrities like Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus, and fashion hubs like Dolls Kill and Killstar, piercing culture is experiencing a renaissance. The hashtag “piercings” has accumulated a staggering 14.7 billion views on TikTok, a testament to its growing popularity.

Even the writer’s teenager recently embraced the piercing culture, wanting to move beyond earlobes to explore cartilage piercings. The harsh landscape has evolved, offering a diverse range of options that cater to a broad audience, from constellation piercings to septum piercings and more.

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(Courtesy Body Electric)

The Quest for Quality

As the demand for piercing services continues to rise, the pursuit of safety, quality, and professionalism has become paramount. In a world where piercing parlors are no longer as prevalent as they once were, finding a reputable studio is essential. Mall piercing stations, like those at Claire’s Accessories, have garnered a reputation for being risky and uncomfortable, leaving clients searching for alternatives.

To ensure a safe and high-quality experience, research is critical. A quick Google search for “best piercers in L.A.” invariably leads to one name that repeatedly stands out: Brian Keith Thompson at Body Electric on Melrose Ave. Thompson, the “chief piercing officer” and owner of the second-story studio, has made a name for himself not only as a celebrity piercer but as a passionate and dedicated artist who values open communication with his clients.

A Healing Journey

Piercing is not just about the act itself; it’s a journey that involves a healing process. After the piercing, the body adapts to the change, and clients must provide diligent daily care, even as they may experience swelling and irritation. The commitment to proper aftercare is essential for a successful and comfortable healing process. Despite the potential challenges, many are eager to explore the world of body modification and are already planning their following piercings.

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(Courtesy Body Electric)

Bars and Barbells: Brian Keith Thompson’s Story

Brian Keith Thompson’s journey to becoming a renowned piercer and owner of Body Electric is a remarkable story of resilience and transformation. Raised in Texas, Thompson moved to Los Angeles at the age of 12 after his parents’ divorce. Although he embraced his uniqueness, he encountered bullying in his new environment. Overcoming adversity, he found a sense of belonging in the world of cholo culture and gangs.

Thompson’s association with the Canoga Park Alabama Street gang provided the structure and camaraderie he had longed for. However, it also led him down a dangerous path that eventually resulted in a murder charge, despite not being the triggerman in a shooting. Serving two years in jail, Thompson fought his case and was ultimately released.

Returning to civilian life, Thompson decided to turn his life around. He covered the gang and prison ink he had accumulated with new artwork. This journey led him to Body Electric on Melrose, a place he had visited but now with a different perspective. He became captivated by the world of tattoos and piercings and began to build a new chapter in his life.

Thompson’s dedication and determination paid off as he worked at his father’s tech company and saved money to purchase Body Electric before the stock market crash in 2008. With a vision of creating a welcoming, customer-oriented space that showcased the art of piercing and tattooing, Thompson transformed the studio into a global hub for body art.

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(Courtesy Body Electric)

A Legacy of Excellence

Body Electric has become synonymous with excellence in both tattooing and piercing. The studio is known for its clean and classy atmosphere, which reflects Thompson’s desire to make it a friendly place where everyone feels welcome. The quality of service and attention to detail is paramount, ensuring that every client’s experience is exceptional.

Thompson’s style, featuring stylish suits, pristine sneakers, and a striking array of piercings, adds to the studio’s unique ambiance. His dedication to the art of piercing is unwavering, and he approaches each client’s experience with the same intensity, regardless of their background or preferences.


(Courtesy Body Electric)

Throwing Down the Gauntlet: A Nod to Piercing Pioneers

While Brian Keith Thompson has made his mark on the piercing culture, it’s crucial to acknowledge the pioneering figures of the past who laid the foundation for the sharp movement. Notably, The Gauntlet, founded by master piercer Jim Ward in the late ’70s, played a pivotal role in establishing the body piercing industry.

The Gauntlet’s focus on body piercing as a means of enhancing personal expression and intimacy was revolutionary at the time. The modern body piercing industry owes much of its development to the techniques, tools, and jewelry designs that trace their roots back to The Gauntlet. The safe practices and professional standards introduced by The Gauntlet elevated piercing culture, leading to its continued growth and acceptance in society.

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(Courtesy Body Electric)

Thompson’s Work: An Artful Approach

Brian Keith Thompson’s work goes beyond mere piercing; it’s an art form that blends creativity with precision. His constellation piercings, characterized by intricate designs featuring clusters of tiny studs, gems, and delicate hoops, have gained acclaim in the piercing world. These celestial-like designs adorn ears, creating a stunning visual effect. Thompson’s artful approach extends to various body parts, including the daith, helix, and orbital piercings, showcasing the diversity of piercing possibilities.

Thompson has made Body Electric a destination not only for celebrities but also for influencers and families seeking a quality piercing experience. His ability to provide a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life reflects his commitment to making piercing accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

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(Courtesy Body Electric)

The Legacy Continues

Brian Keith Thompson’s journey from adversity to success is a testament to the transformative power of determination and resilience. His dedication to piercing has reshaped the industry and created a lasting legacy. As he continues to elevate the art of piercing, Body Electric remains a shining example of quality and artistry in body modification.

In a world where personal expression knows no bounds, piercing culture stands as a symbol of individuality and creativity. The resurgence of sticking culture, along with the artistry and expertise of pioneers like Brian Keith Thompson, promises a vibrant and exciting future for those who choose to adorn their bodies with beautiful piercings.

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This week’s L.A. Weekly cover story.


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