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The Art of the 'PIERCE'

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A tongue piercing checked off her to-do list years earlier, Tanya Cohen's fascination with decorative skin expressions would inevitably lead her to fronting a piercing business of her very own. Established since 2011, Cohen's Pavillion Mall-located enterprise — the aptly named Body Art — has seen the former Air Jamaica flight attendant becoming Kingston's go-to personality who puts her sterilised needle to it all, from ear lobes and belly buttons to nipples and genitalia.

“For Jamaicans, it's really about trends; if it's something hot happening now and the right celebrity is in it, they want to try it out too,” Cohen rationalised to Under The Dryer about heightened public interest in piercings. The multi-pierced store owner, in-between juggling walk-in customer queries and retreating to the back room to put her handiwork to paid practice, also chalked up the groundswell in body jewellery to people's growing need to cultivate distinctive identities.

On the cusp of her 30th birthday, Cohen, then employed to 'the LoveBird' and working a transatlantic flight, satisfied a piercing desire and had her tongue done on a layover in London. This would gradually prompt her to understudy a local piercing artist and devour books on the subject for edification, before deciding to take the entrepreneurial plunge.

The seven-year-old Body Art, which offers piercing and tattoo services, also houses work space for Cohen's creative output as a trained jeweller. In her down time, she crafts gold, brass and sterling silver pieces that include piercing rings that reflect her interest in Ethiopian and Egyptian art symbolism. Her work, which includes ankhs, ohms and Hands of Fatima pieces, are sold in-store, alongside an assortment of navel, ear, nose, and lip selections.

Keeping pace with an increasing cultural acceptance of body art, Cohen's business has expanded, recently moving from its original digs downstairs in the Constant Spring Road mall, where it occupied 90 square feet, to a more spacious area upstairs that now boasts 300 square feet. “I get the widest range possible of customers coming in to be pierced,” she divulged. “From young girls to teenaged men to even grandmothers in their 60s.”

Body Art
Shop #18
Pavillion Mall, 2-4 Constant Spring
Road, Kingston 10
Telephone: 906-7641 or 285-3416
Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
(Closed Wednesdays and Sundays)