Downtown tattoo shop Roses and Rebels opened in the former Grove Street Bicycles shop at the end of 2017 and the second-floor space at 160 Newark Avenue is enjoying extraordinary first-year success — by springtime, Roses and Rebels was booked solid through September.
The shop’s packed schedule is perhaps due in part to owner and artist Christian Masot’s appearance on not one but two reality TV shows, but it’s easy to suspect their success has more to do with the high-end custom experience. From the light-filled space complete with wide-plank hardwood floors and exposed brick to the collaborative process, producing a one-of-a-kind piece of body art, Roses and Rebels is not your typical tattoo joint.
Masot appeared on both “Ink Master: Return of the Masters” (Season 10) and “Tattoo Rescue” and humbly discussed his road to reality TV. “It was like camp, but like summer camp and boot camp at the same time,” Masot said of his stint on “Ink Master.” He was scouted for the show at a tattoo convention and all the show’s contestants lived together the whole time. “It was educational, but you never know what the judges want. I got a great critique and still went home.”
“Tattoo Rescue” was hosted by Masot’s mentor and offered a platform to inspire and share insights gleaned from years of experience. Shops apply to be on the show, hoping to be rescued from financial ruin, and the cast of successful tattoo artists develops a plan to turn the business around. “I love this craft,” said Masot. “I’ll do anything to make someone better and to legitimize it.”
Masot admits that working on the shows inevitably leads to second-guessing every design decision, every line and shadow, for the judges’ sake, while he really thrives on working closely with clients and understanding exactly what they aspire to articulate with their tattoo.
Roses and Rebels is more lived-in now, with a broken-in homey feel, and buzzing with activity. More merchandise lines the shelves and more artwork adorns the walls. The custom glass front door was finally installed, creating an elegantly cool entrance. And the artists have really moved into their tattoo stations.
Although securing an appointment requires a wait, it’s easy to stop in and get a feel for the gorgeous space. Look for a single booking day in September when Roses and Rebels will make appointments through the end of 2018.