Interview with Rob Hill




I have been a little busy with life as of late so I have fallen a little short on this blog but fear not, I am back at it. 

I have finally got my interview with Rob Hill ready which I am excited about. The way he approaches a project is so detailed. The time and care that goes into this guys work is stellar and one that has progressed in great levels over the years.

If you have yet to see his work then you should familiarize yourself with it.

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Now Lets get on to the interview:

Chris Jennell: How long have you been piercing?

Rob Hill: I have been piercing professionally for 14yrs.

CJ: How did you become a piercer?

RH: When I received my first piercing (tragus) at age 17, I knew I wanted to become a piercer. I was immediately attracted to the atmosphere, the freedom, the culture, and most of all, the energy.
As the years go on, I still have many of the same attractions, but it has now become my lifestyle, and the industry has become a second family to me.

CJ: You are originally from Canada. What on earth brought you to Iowa? 

RH: Love. My journey to the United States is a love story… Well, two love stories…  In short, I left Canada in pursuit of a girl in Iowa. Years later, we discovered that the relationship was not working.  After a few years of traveling all over North America, I found love…  In Iowa… Again.  Stephanie is now my fiancée, and we have wedding plans for next August. She may not have brought me here, but she is the reason I’ve stayed.

CJ: There may be a few people who don't know about you, but that becomes less likely once they have seen your images from Earmageddon. Can you tell me how you keep yourself fresh with new ideas and jewelry designs?

RH: The Earmageddon contest has been an excellent outlet for me to really flex my creative muscles. I have always performed ear projects but never had a reason to really push the envelope of my imagination or my capabilities. Having a naturally competitive side, it has been a perfect fit for me. I keep things fresh by constantly looking under rocks, standing on the other side of the bridge and looking from behind the waterfall.


Creating a new perspective instigates a new line of thinking.

CJ: Is there a particular method to the way you approach ear projects? 


RH: There are three main areas on which I focus: the anatomy of a client’s ear, the jewelry, and the client’s personality. I start with the client’s ear. This “canvas” really speaks as to what lines and shapes naturally occur. This is the basis of all of my decisions. In my spare time, I design and play with jewelry. This keeps new ideas flowing and builds little treasure chests of different combinations that work well together in my brain. Finally, I consider the client’s personality. I feel this is a mandatory element to bring into the project. The client will wear this project 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. It must match them perfectly. Once you can marry these three elements together, you have your hands on something really special. This is what I love to do. 

CJ: The images you post almost always have that company's logo along with your studio’s. Is this intentional product branding or is it something of a courtesy?

RH: It is a bit of both. Over the years, I have developed great relationships with my jewelry manufacturers. I am blessed to be able to use the absolute best body jewelry in the world. I take quite a bit of pride in what I do and the products I use. It is also a form of marketing. People want the best, and they know exactly where to get it.  

CJ: Can you tell us about your studio?

RH: My studio is called Prysm Body Piercing. We are located beside Color Works Tattoo, inside Valley West Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa. I created my studio from the ground up with meticulous attention to detail. We have all the “toys” a piercer could want, which in turn, creates an unparalleled experience for our clients. We have one of the largest selections of implant grade body jewelry in the state and offer custom body jewelry and onsite alterations. If we are not using and offering the absolute best, then we are doing less than the best. And that is not “ok” with me. It is a small shop with a great deal to offer.

CJ: Being in a mall do you find that you have a different type of client than that of a typical street shop?

RH: I have worked in both types of shops. The mall is always warm and traffic is usually pretty steady. The mall offers nervous “newbies” a non-threatening chance to walk in a shop and ask questions, where they might not normally feel comfortable. So, it is nice to be able to help educate the public for their future endeavors. I get plenty of “price shoppers,” which can feel draining and time consuming. However, each interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate what a piercing studio and experience should be. Just fighting the good fight!

CJ: You are well aware of the many different jewelry designs available. Can you tell me what you think is a design that has gone unnoticed recently?

RH: There are a few amazing designs that I feel deserve more attention. One design is the Altura from Body Vision Los Angeles, it's a prong-set center gem tightly surround by 1mm gems. Another design is the Toltec, also from BVLA - a bezel-set center gem with gold accents dividing up six, 1.25mm gems surrounding the center.


Both of these designs can be utilized anywhere, including earlobes, nostrils, surface anchors, and navels.  They have an elegance that is unmatched to any other jewelry I’ve had the honor to install. It really lets you hone in dominant and accent tones that will really match the client’s character. 


CJ: You had your own category in Earmageddeon this year. Did you find it tough to set it up and judge it all by yourself? Will this be something we will be able to look forward to as a category in future contests?

RH: The “Piercers Challenge” category was a challenge I created to really bring out the creative and technical aspects of the body piercer. A limited quantity of jewelry and specific piercing was part of the criteria required by all participants. It proved to be more difficult to judge than originally anticipated due to the high quality work of the artists. I would do it again, but I would tweak the rules and criteria a bit and make some small improvements to keep it fresh. 

CJ: Having been a piercer who has worked his way up, what would you say are the most important things those aspiring to become a piercer need to know?

RH: I see many piercers really rush to advance in this field. When you rush the learning process, you can sacrifice quality, which ultimately impacts your clients, your reputation, and your income. Learn slowly, and be meticulous in your advancements. Understand the full spectrum of what you are being taught. You cannot rush a good thing. Be committed and loyal to those who help you. Seek the best, and you will become such.

CJ: I have asked every one I have interviewed this next question, what do you see happening in our industry over the next 5 years?

RH: Sadly, I can foresee a couple of major speed bumps for the industry in the near future along the lines of regulation and government. The mistakes of a few will take their toll on the entire community. It’s sad, but true. Regardless of the speed bumps and growing pains, this industry will survive and evolve. I see mostly positive things happening. I know the industry will continue to be pushed in a good direction. People are catching onto the concept of self-expression, quality and minimum standards. I can see our industry really evolving to co-exist and integrate with other fashion mediums.




CJ: Whats next for you, can you give me a spoiler on your next projects? Jewelry designs? Collaboration?

RH: My studio has been occupying all of my time lately and I still have a lot of work to do. I plan on hiring on another piercer in the next year and/or look into taking on the right apprentice when the time is right.
I can be extremely secretive with my projects, ideas, designs, plans and such.. But there are always some projects in the works, new jewelry ideas floating around and in progress, and other secret plans to turn some heads.

CJ: Is there any thing you would like to add for those few followers I have here?


RH: Just a quote that I feel really speaks to the root of our industry passion.


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."- Maya Angelou

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I want to thank Rob Hill for taking the time in his busy busy life for participating in my little venture. I have a few interviews that have started so I shouldn't be away for too long this time. I will also try and do some product reviews in the coming weeks. Maybe I will get a guest writer to do an interview for some reading pleasure.

As always if you have any questions for me or ideas, please email me at uncommonartsllc@gmail.com

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