inkscene: Permanent Expressions
Josh Ard opened his first tattoo shop Permanent Expressions in March, 2010. It is at 80a Main Street, a funky little basement shop between the Army-Navy store and the yarn shop on Main Street in Belfast. There is a comfortable, welcoming vibe as you enter and walk down the stairs. Art work (and not the pretty sailboats in the harbor kind) hangs on every available inch of space on the walls. Beyond the music playing in the background, the only other sound is of Josh shaking the tubes of ink as he preps his afternoon’s work on a long-time client, Amy Stairs.
Amy Stairs, Liberty
"For a long time I wanted a sleeve. [A sleeve is a tattoo which covers the same arm surface a shirt sleeve might.] I have lots of 'young tattoos'—you know, you get a tattoo for the sake of it. But this one [as she points to her arm] had meaning and thought put into it. This here is a series of dart frogs in the rain forest. They are just amazing little creatures that are adorable and cute. I wanted something like this for the longest time and luckily when I came into Josh’s shop this piece was already here [on the studio’s wall]. It was perfect. It was different, something I’ve never seen before. It wasn’t your typical in-your-face, raw, scary tattoo for a sleeve. We talked about throwing in a couple of ladybugs. Today we’re working filling in some of the outlines on some of the tender skin of my arm. "
Josh Ard, Belfast
"I’ve known Amy my whole life. When you get to do a sleeve like this—she’s passionate about it, I’m passionate about it —it works out great. This piece is all original. It’s not boring. There are only so many Chinese Zodiacs you can do before you go numb. Amy bought the art work from Isaac Wright, an artist, who lives around here. His work is more commonly known in Bangor and has been in Tattoo Magazine a bunch. He works at our shop and he’s a flash artist. For example, if you go into any tattoo studio and see art work on the walls—that art is sold to different companies and distributed to other tattoo artists, who buy it. But first, someone has got to draw it—those people are called flash artists. This piece would have been sent to Flash Magazine, but Isaac sold it as a one-off to Amy, so now no one else can ever use this design—it’s completely original and hers. And Amy will leave with the artwork as well. She can frame it if she wants."
To see more photos of work that Permanent Expressions does, look up their Facebook group page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 207-338-4688
The Killer Convo
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