Elayne Angel

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Elayne Angel
Birth Date August 6, 1960
Birth Place Downey, Californa
Death Date Living
Occupation Piercer
Website http://piercingbible.com

Elayne Angel is a professional piercer. Her long career has touched on many of the defining people and places associated with the movement. She is well known for her "angel wings" back tattoo, the first tattoo registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Early career

Angel became interested in body piercing after a casual encounter with a woman bearing a nipple piercing at a Renaissance Faire in 1981. Through her encounter, she became involved with and employed by Gauntlet, the first, and at the time only, professional body piercing studio in the United States. While employed by Gauntlet, she worked at the Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco branches. She was the first recipient of a Master Piercer certificate, from Gauntlet founder Jim Ward. Her technical contributions to the field of body piercing include the invention, naming, and popularizing of several placements, including the fourchette and the lorum piercings. She is also widely credited with popularizing and promoting the tongue piercing.

Later career

In 1993, Angel opened her own studio, Rings of Desire, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Rings of Desire was the first body piercing studio to receive state licensing from the Health Department in Louisiana. Due to Hurricane Katrina, Rings of Desire closed on March 12, 2006.

Angel relocated to Merida, Mexico and does guest piercing at studios around the US.

Elayne has been involved with the crafting of regulatory legislation regarding body piercing in Louisiana, and the training of health professionals who enforce those laws. She has also worked with the University of South Alabama on research related to the relationship between female sexual satisfaction and vertical clitoral hood piercing.

She is the author of The Piercing Bible, which was released by the Crossing Press/Random House.

Involvement with the Association of Professional Piercers

Angel is a member of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) and previously served on its board of directors in the position of Outreach Coordinator and Medical Liaison. Currently, she sits on the board as president.

She has edited their newsletter The Point, authored a variety of brochures that have gone on to be industry standard for piercing care, taught workshops internationally and attended and participated in yearly APP conventions.

Her modifications

Angel is best known for her large tattoo of angel wings on her back. The lower right wing is interrupted by a heart with a banner across it reading, "slave." This design, the logo for her studio, is registered as a U.S. service mark (No. 2,645,270, issued November 5, 2002) and was done by Bob Roberts of Spotlight Tattoo in Los Angeles, California in 1986. After receiving the service mark for this design, the circled "R" was added to her buttock by Joey Galiger of American Electric Tattoo Company in Los Angeles, California, at the advice of her attorney.

Her entire lower body has been tattooed with fish-like scales and fins, giving her a mermaid-like appearance from the waist down. This was done over an eleven-day period by artist Juli Moon at her studio, Juli's Bed and Breakfast in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Commenting on the length of time it took to get this work done, she stated, "People often inquire how long my legs took: it was 59 hours of tattooing over 8 sessions during the 11 days that were mentioned."

Symmetrical tattoos of flowers and vines extend from her wrists to her biceps, done in 1991 by her former husband, British tattoo artist Alex Binnie. Small flames were tattooed over her eyebrows by Cap Szumski of Timeless Tattoo in Atlanta, Georgia in January of 1998. She also has small tattoos of flames behind each ear, which were also done by Galiger.

After Rings of Desire (her studio in New Orleans) closed, she had a miniaturized version of her floral arm pieces done on her hands, by Walt Clark of NOLA Tattoo.

For her 50th birthday in August 2010, she got an abstract Mayan sun ray design across the tops of her shoulders, by Walt Clark of NOLA Tattoo.

Over the years, Angel has had a variety of body piercings, including multiple tongue piercings, various genital piercings, nipple piercings, ear piercings and facial piercings.


Elayne Angel's distinctive backpiece with registration mark


  • Elayne was formerly married to tattoo artist Alex Binnie.
  • Angel is currently married to female-to-male transsexual porn star Buck Angel.
  • Angel has an Associate of Arts Degree in Sign Language Interpreting from Pierce College, in Woodland Hills, California.

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