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Bath at work: Salvatore Acquaviva, Body Piercer

My mum met my dad while on holiday in Sicily where he lived. He was a lorry driver, but when he began to lose his sight he came over to England. I was about six years old at the time and we lived in an old house in Julian Road which my grandfather had bought very cheaply in the 1960s. I went to school in St Mary’s in Weston and didn’t speak a word of English. I soon learnt, however, and it was never really a problem.

My time at St Mark’s School in Larkhall was not very productive, however. I was ‘distracted’, probably a bit naughty and not very academic. Leaving at 16 I got a job in a business run by a friend’s dad called Rare Unit which provided shop fitting services for the likes of Our Price Records and Athena. I also worked for a little while for Opticolour in Priston. They make beautiful bespoke glass splashbacks and are still operating.

Somehow, I managed to get into orthotics, making up shoes and special clothing for people with bad postures or needing limb realignment. At first, I worked for the RUH, and then went private working for hospitals in Bristol and Southmead.

I’d always loved body art and met Korie Montana at his Holey Skin shop in Gloucester Road, Bristol. He asked me to join his team when he opened up a shop in Bath. I told him I had no training, so he sent me off to Frome to learn body piercing from Rowena at Black Ink. I then joined his company Montanas in Bath (now called Electric Vintage) and I’ve been working there ever since.

My life has recently changed for the better. When I was growing up in Bath I never really liked myself. I was angry inside and didn’t feel quite right. After my partner and I split up I began searching for some answers. I found them in Peru when I went to a retreat in Iquitos. The local Amazonian tribe Shipibo use various ceremonies, chants, plants and rituals to exorcise your inner demons. The 12-day Ayahuasca course consisted of seven ceremonies all designed to heal and calm the mind and body. The experience has changed me and I am now far calmer, more patient and disciplined. You need to go there with a specific objective, though. Once you know what you seek the course will help you find the way. Quite magical really. You just need to step out of your comfort zone.

The world appears to be on a knife edge at the moment and the choices we make now will be critical for the planet’s survival. We have spent too long abusing nature and now we have to make changes. I’m personally happier than I’ve been for years and am really enjoying what Bath has to offer. I love walking with my Staffordshire bulldog Rocco either up to Bannerdown or along the canal towards Bradford. It’s so safe in Bath and my two children Zico and Amelie love it here. I’m quite happy with my own company right now and occupy myself by going to the gym five times a week, meditating, just living and being me.

Electric Vintage: electricvintagetattoo.com

PORTRAIT: Neill Menneer at Spirit Photographic. 
Visit: capturethespirit.co.uk, tel: 01225 483151