Jon Cobb is a ground breaking body piercer who defined many new piercings and brought others into the mainstream. He is directly credited with the creation of the uvula piercing, the transscrotal, pocketing, and others. He also went farther than anyone in popularizing the nape piercing and other surface piercings.
Jon's well-spoken and intelligent interviews (sometimes confrontational — PFIQ's Michaela Grey certainly appeared to have a bone to pick with him for example) influenced a generation of piercers both to explore new ground and to do it responsibly (hopefully). On the other hand, to many conservative piercers Jon represented a dangerous direction for the industry, going so far as to generate endless gossip and rumor claiming that his piercings had been emulated by the inexperienced resulting in sometimes fatal injuries.
Many people also regard Jon (perhaps to his surprise) as a spiritual guru as well as a piercing guru, and he's certainly no stranger to extra-ordinary events. After Jon's subincision went horribly wrong — only a short while after a car accident left him with an injured back — he suffered escalating scarring after an apparent allergic reaction to EMLA cream burned off his entire urethra. Not long afterward, he found himself walking through a supermarket where he briefly watched an enormous man playing the didgeridoo. He continued with his shopping, and as he was leaving, he saw the man again outside.
"Are you performing anywhere? I'd love to come and see you play", he asked.
"I was hoping that you'd find me," the man — who he'd never met before — told Jon. "I can feel that you're having some problems with your back after your car accident, and I hope you don't mind me saying that you're having some problems 'down below' as well... I can help you. I'm a healer."
To compress the story almost beyond meaning, after a number of sessions involving using sacred music to alter Jon's genetic structure, he was healed. Shannon Larratt adds "Yeah, I know you're thinking that story's made up, but I was living with Jon at the time and it's true!"
Jon is also a talented glassblower whose work can be seen at scarabglass.com.
Quotes from Jon Cobb
"Hair, nails, body language, body shaping — that's all body modification. To a large degree, when a woman gets up and 'puts on her face', that becomes her face. You are speaking volumes about yourself, whether it is to embrace as one more facet of the business suit the potential for going farther down that road, so in a sense you're trading yourself in, or to beautify yourself just for your own sake... that's modification."
"Any moment of perfection — when I'm piercing, as soon as I pick up the forceps, from then on the ritual begins as it has for thousands of people for me now... three full breaths between us and the lines dissolve. Something comes through me, and I never notice if the person laughs, flinches, occasionally there's a scream. I don't even know. We just get in sync and I go away, because it's a moment of clarity. It's not supposed to be a state of doing all the time. If you are doing, you're not able to take in all the things around you."
"I have no third eye so to speak — I don't see pictures when I dream. It's more emotions, feelings, smells, flashes of images yet no specifics — it's irrelevant. I don't wear the work that I want, I wear the work that is supposed to be on me. And consequently it's taken me years and years to get pieces because it has to be revealed to me by myself, through my mind so to speak. I don't feel tattooing or piercing or scarification or any modification is a beautification for me so much as a trading in of me."
"I've had a woman trade in a $50,000 job over her labret. It was symbolic of the bigger picture — as soon as she did it, she cried, and realized that she only needed $50,000 a year because $40,000 of it was paying for her huge house and her Jaguar that all she did was look at and cruise around in... and now she may be walking down the beach and eating oranges that cost a couple bucks a day. You want to tell me who's having the better time? She's living as a human, as part of the Earth, and not as an alien on it."
"It's never been just about doing a 'technical piercing'. I was driven to have the uvula piercing because it reflected the mind. When you put a pair of forceps on a uvula, it feels like you've grabbed the center of the mass of the inside of your head — if you cough up a piece of rice and it sits in the back of your sinus passage, you understand that spot. Psychologically it feels like you're getting the center of your head pierced. That is so live, so real, and the risk inherent only added to the psychological imperative, and I was just driven to have it. Again, not a rational action, but that's not the point. The technical aspects were just a necessity."