Interview with Nate Janke

So I had this long and eloquent story about one of the wonderful interactions I have had with the piercer in this interview but at the last minute I scratched it and here we are.

If you are involved in the body piercing industry you have certainly heard and likely seen the work of Nate Janke. This mid-west native is by far one of the most humble, yet cocky bastards I have meet in a very long time. If you have not heard of this man you should familiarize yourself with his work, it's one of the simplest yet flattering of piercing styles around. I have seen, not only his piercing work, but his photos change so many piercers mimic his style these days.

Enough of the ego coaxing from me, you be the judge of his work for yourself. Let us move on to the interview:

Chris: How long have you been piercing?

Nate: I've been piercing for 7 years.

C: Where did you get your start? How was your apprenticeship?

N: I got my start at a small old school street in St. Paul MN. A dear friend/mentor put me to work sweeping floors, answering phones and working the counter. Looking back I really appreciate that part of my beginnings. It taught me the real inner workings of a shop. It taught me about work ethic and accountability. That counter position evolved into an apprenticeship. The fella that took on the task taught me a lot. Not only about piercing but about how to conduct myself as a professional in this industry.

C: You spoke about how your mentor taught you not only about piercing but about professional conduct, do you find that is a looked over step in training processes these days?

N: I think its in the beginning stages. It seems like professional conduct is becoming more important to a lot of piercers, which is great because it legitimizes what we do. Gone are the days of brutal and crass piercers. It's nice to see the grown ass piercers stepping up and acting accordingly. We represent the industry and the culture 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Just because we're not in the shop doesn't mean that we're not still a representative of what we do. We need to act accordingly.

C: You are at a great studio called Saint Sabrina's which is located in Minneapolis, how long have you been piercing there and how did you go about getting your position? 

N: I've been piercing at Saint Sabrina's for 5 1/2 years. When the position opened up there and I applied I never really thought I would be taken seriously. I knew the process would be a good learning experience and I was really pretty speechless when they offered me the job. That was very moment that really changed the game for me. Even now, I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.

C: Lets talk about your personal piercing style, If you had to put yourself into one category as for your "niche," what would you say you are best at? 

N: I would probably be best known for my high end gold ear projects. Being able to create an over all look using multiple pieces is what really keeps me thinking outside the box. Keeps me motivated to create using piercing. I also have a pretty extensive genital portfolio.

C: Our industry has seen the many things that you have done and continue to do with ears, what type of things are you doing to better yourself from one client to the next?
N: I try to stay thirsty! To be completely honest I draw a lot of my inspiration from the jewelry company's for continuing to innovate with new designs. A lot of the people I'm working with on a day to day are looking for something unique. For me it's a lot of communication about the overall aesthetic they are looking for. It's that connection with clients that really inspires me to create new designs.

C: What things do you do to keep yourself motivated within our industry? 
N: For me, I just wanted to do something different. I never really set out to make an impact. I wanted happy clients with unique work. Being recognized for my work has been a truly humbling experience. I never really thought it would take off like it did. But It's been fun watching people get excited about it!

C: Do you feel that a persons personal style helps you dictate what you may offer as a suggestion for them and their particular anatomy?

N: Absolutely! I am always looking to compliment someone's overall ascetic. I feel like there's a fine line between a complimentary piercing and doing work that's overpowering. It tends to vary depending on said persons overall style/look.  

C: That being said, do you think that there is a correlation between your personal style that will be shown in your style of work we see you posting?

N: I like to think so. I personally wear the jewelry I promote. I feel like that's very important. I want people to know that I stand behind the jewelry we sell. I've always been a big fan of high end body jewelry in fun tasteful combinations and I feel like my clientele has really gotten on board with that concept.

C: Do you think that it helps to be fashion or style savvy in our industry to stay up with what's coming for us?

N: Totally! It's one of many things that helps us bridge the gap. Create a larger base for our culture. More and more people are looking to piercing and jewelry for inspiration. I see it all the time in high fashion campaigns. Which is awesome! It's good exposure for our community. 

C: What do you see as the next big thing for our industry in the next five years?
N: Honestly, I see a lot more collaborations with jewelry company's. Creating high end one of a kind pieces.

C: How do you feel about being the first person to be interviewed for a small blog of a fellow piercer?

N: It's truly an honor. In my day to day I don't really think about it. I just keep showing up at the shop and try to stay inspired. I sometimes forget about the impact we can have just by being passionate about our craft.

C: Is there any people in the industry that currently that make you strive to be better? 

N: Any other like minded, forward thinking, passionate/inspired piercers out there. There are too many to list. As a community, I feel like everyone has really been stepping up the game lately. 

C: Is there anything you would like to add for the people that say they want to be a piercer?

N: Go to college! Only joking! Stay tough. It's all about timing in this industry. It's important to stay patient. The time frame of becoming a piercer generally isn't on your terms. Work for it! Nothing seems to be given away in this industry. It requires hard work and motivation. But seriously... Go to college ;)

If you are interested in getting worked on by Nate he can be found piercing the masses of Minneapolis at Saint Sabrina's. If you get to go by this shop, you will not be disappointed. One day we will hopefully get to do a spotlight on that shop and let you see all the pretty things they do, besides housing some talented piercers. 

As for my next post, I am currently working with Cody Vaughn of Vaughn body Arts in Monterey California. Stay tuned, tell your friends about this blog and as always if you have any questions please email me at

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