Roses and Rebels, a new tattoo shop and gallery space, just opened its doors downtown and is sure to be a serious new addition to the vibrant Jersey City arts scene. Located in the former Grove Street Bicycles shop on the second floor at 160 Newark Avenue (the triangular ‘Flatiron’ building of JC), Roses and Rebels offers a high-end custom experience, and they are now accepting appointments for the beginning of 2018.
The shop is the cool and gorgeous brainchild of tattoo artist Christian Masot and entrepreneur Darren Conway. Masot, born and raised just across the Passaic River in Kearny, started his tattoo apprenticeship immediately after high school and went on to study drawing and commercial arts in college, and Darren Conway is behind Pier 13 Hoboken and Gringo’s in Jersey City. Friends for years, Roses and Rebels presented itself as the perfect partnership for Masot and Conway.
“Darren has the vision,” says Masot. “In a time when Jersey City is knocking things down, he sees buildings that have been here all along and does something with them.” Masot completely renovated the second-floor space, approaching the design with a warm and rustic aesthetic. “It had great bones,” Masot says of his new shop. “It just needed love.” All wide-planked hardwood floors and exposed brick, the space is expansive and cozy all at the same time.
Windows line three of the four sides of the shop and the sunlight pours in which immediately feels more welcoming than your average subterranean tattoo parlor. The archways over the window banks are blacked-out, creating a clean transition from the windows to the brick walls. The exposed ceiling beams are outfitted with track lighting and pendants punctuate the wide-open space. Getting a tattoo in the light of day has never seemed so cool.
Everything from the reception desk to the tattoo stations is mobile and able to relocate around the shop when inspiration strikes. Just inside the entrance, the lounge area feels like a comfy living room, filled with artwork and local merchandise, where you can discuss your ideas for a one-of-a-kind tattoo.
Masot and his team are extremely talented and urge clients to show up inspired and ready to collaborate on a unique piece of body art, shying away completely from stock tattoos. There is no book to flip through, ensuring individuality. The space is hand-crafted and curated in every way. Masot built all the wooden furniture, and his flea market finds—antique light fixtures—are at every tattoo station.
This is Masot’s first ground-up venture, and he could not be more excited to be in Jersey City. “It’s hard to go anywhere else,” he says, noting that JC is a great place to start a small business. “Jersey City has a small town feel and big city appeal. I’m all in.”
The plan is also to showcase local art in the shop and coordinate pop-up gallery events. Masot is a live painter and wants to add to that energy downtown and “get people who aren’t artists into art.” Masot excitedly talks about the future, saying “The Jersey City art scene is amazing. It’s intense to be in the mix at home in New Jersey.”
Masot’s space and style immediately put both the first-timer and seasoned customer at ease. So far from sterile, you are assured your experience will be tailored to you and that the final piece will be worthy of forever.