What’s your name and tell us a little about yourself?
Lee Horton, born in May of 1986 in Sandwell, West Midlands, England. Raised in London Ontario Canada.
How long have you been piercing?
I have been piercing since 2010 in London Ontario, I have been working with Jesse at Thrive Studios since 2013.
How did you become a piercer?
As with most professional piercers, how I became a piercer is rather complicated. It was a long hard and often frightening experience which often involved struggles, being poor and hungry and fighting with a level 6 ogre, that is another story for another time though. I had a below average apprenticeship (as most piercers it seems) and decided to branch out and meet other great piercers and take educational courses. My experience continues to grow daily as I am always hungry for knowledge and my passion drives me.
What education do you have as a piercer?
There is no formal education for piercing at all (no matter what some people might try to tell you). There is however this great organization called the APP (Association of Professional Piercers) who has a wonderful group of piercers, former piercers, health care workers, doctors and nurses on staff to do real research into how to make our industry the safest it can be for us and for our clients. Every year they hold a conference full of educational classes, workshops and round table discussions with piercers from all over the world so we can come together and make piercing more interesting, more fun and above all else safer for everyone involved. I now attend these conferences yearly and I love bringing the knowledge I gain back to my clients.
Did anyone inspire you to become a better piercer or did you have a mentor?
This is where I go on and on about how great Jesse Villemaire is right? Alright, fine…As everyone knows Jesse has been involved with education in the body modification industry for quite a while now, about 4 years ago when I was just starting to pierce I was sent to one of Jesse's classes to get information on how to make sure the studio I was at was running smoothly. Needless to say it was love at first sight. Except it wasn’t, because we didn’t actually become friends until 3 years later...sorry to blow that for you. I sat in the class and was very impressed by the amount of knowledge that Jesse had, I had thought I had a pretty decent apprenticeship under another piercer, but it turned out there was much more to this industry than I had been taught. I continued to go to Jesse's yearly classes for the next 3 years (I still attend them to this day, and he always picks on me). Jesse was kind enough to invite me to his shop to have a look around and to watch him pierce for a day, during that stay I learned more than I had in my entire apprenticeship before that and he asked nothing in return. We got along very well right away, to this day while working at Thrive, many of Jesse's clients will make remarks about how similar our personalities are, they will even go as far as to refer to me as "Bald Jesse" (I prefer younger, handsomer Jesse, but what can you do?). Jesse took me to my first APP conference in Las Vegas and held my hand through the entire thing, advised me on what classes to take and even took some with me. Even though I don't like to give him the satisfaction, I can’t say enough good things about Jesse, I am very blessed to have found a mentor and more importantly a friend in him.
What kind of piercings do you offer?
I offer a wide variety of piercings to my clients, there are the odd one or two piercings that I don’t agree with on personal grounds, but that’s more to do with how successful I think the piercing will be, and how healthy of an idea it is in general. As with any professional piercer there are age restrictions on certain types of piercings, but if I don’t offer the type of piercing you are looking for, I can assure you I know someone who does, and I will be more than happy to point you in their direction.
How do you personally further your education within the piercing industry?
I am involved with many personal and professional groups on the internet that are either closed groups where professionals can discuss and critique techniques or open ones where professionals can interact with clients for advice and tips on how to care for their piercing or find a good piercer in their area. I also attend the APP conference every year to stay up to date on new educational material.
What do you feel makes you stand out from the rest?
My passion for the industry and my constant hunger for education along with my personality and my care to give every client not only a great piercing, but an amazing experience at the studio with me.