By Léo Azambuja

The point of reference for body piercing in the entire state of Hawa‘i is right here on Kaua‘i, more precisely in the Dragon Building in Old Kapa‘a Town.

“We offer safe body piercing services and high-quality body jewelry,” said Julian Ganesha, owner of Ganesha Body Piercing, adding that besides offering gold jewelry, the studio also has implant-grade titanium jewelry made in the United States and “built to the highest quality standards for bio-compatibility and safety.”

Whether it is a nostril piercing — the current favorite on the island — a septum, navel, eyebrow, tongue or even a genital piercing, Julian has the skills and experience to provide a safe, precise service. He started piercing in California in 1993, a few months after getting his first piercing. Six years later, he would find his way to Kaua‘i, where he has been working as a piercer ever since.

A few significant features set Ganesha Body Piercing apart from other piercing studios on Kaua‘i and elsewhere in the state. It is the only studio on island that is 100 percent dedicated to body piercing.

“If you’ve got tattooing and body piercing mixed together in a studio, half of the focus — most of the focus — is going to end up being tattooing,” he said. There are a lot of different components that go into piercing, including different kinds of piercing and jewelry, so having a facility that covers all those bases “is really the way to go.”

The spacious studio in Kapa‘a is impeccably clean. And for a reason. Ganesha Body Piercing is one of only two studios in the state that are members of the prestigious Association of Professional Piercers, which sets rigorous industry guidelines for health and safety. It is also the sole APP member in Hawai‘i that offers strictly body piercing — you’ll find no tattoo services there.

Julian says he believes piercing deserves 100 percent of his focus, after all, his clients are being charged good money and are putting their health and well-being in his hands.

In the last couple decades, body-piercing jewelry styles and quality have increased exponentially, with a lot of gold and gemstones being used. As a result, body piercing is somewhat overtaking tattooing as a major breadwinner in the body-modification world, he said.

In the meantime, body piercing became a lot more acceptable in the society, but there is still a long way to go. Before someone decides on a body piercing, Julian said it is important to think about the consequences it could have for a job and for the person’s lifestyle. He said he always explains all the details, pitfalls and ramifications of getting a particular body piercing so his clients can make an educated decision on what’s right for them.

Julian got interested into body piercing soon after getting a nipple piercing when he was 19 years old.

“I put a lot of mental energy into getting this piercing, as people do when they’re considering doing something like this,” he said. “It was a very powerful experience for me. I actually passed out afterward; I had a little endorphin rush.”

When Julian woke up, he had an epiphany — this was his calling, it was something he was supposed to do, he said. He wanted to control the energy in the same way the guy did when he pierced him. He wanted to be that doorway people walk through to get to what they see as their better selves. Fore the next six months, Julian visited the studio daily, until the owner decided to teach him piercing.

That store was called Spirit of Shiva, and it was the only all-body-piercing studio between San Francisco and Los Angeles at that time. From there, Julian worked in Las Vegas and other places in Los Angeles until he moved to Kaua‘i in 1999 to work at the former Mana Ink Tattoo & Piercing Studio, also at the Dragon Building in Kapa‘a. Before opening Ganesha Body Piercing in March 2017, Julian partnered with Farsyde Tattoo in Koloa, where he was doing piercing.

“I’m going on 25 years now,” he said.

Ganesha Body Piercing is at 4504 Kukui St., Suite 203 in Kapa‘a. The studio is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Look for them on Instagram and Facebook, or call 212-8017 for an appointment.