A newly opened Masterton tattoo studio has a couple at the helm who are leading a return to ritual ink and the sanctity of body art and modification.
Jordan Tredray and Sarah Wright on Tuesday opened Sacred Art Tattoo in the former cinema lobby of the State Theatre Building in northern Queen Street.
Mr Tredray is a professional drummer who also runs a Masterton drumming academy at The Spot with "massive" support from Wairarapa REAP, he said. Ms Wright is a photographer who had run a studio in Lansdowne before taking on the present business alongside her partner.
The pair opened the tattoo studio where Shock Ink had formerly operated and had returned the space to some of its original glory after lifting carpet to expose its multi-coloured mosaic tile floor, and repainting to help accentuate the grand chandelier and other unique fittings of the former cinema lobby, which in the past had also housed a fountain and fish pond at its centre.
"Having creative places like this gives young artists in Wairarapa an opportunity to pursue their passion without necessarily having to pursue and pay for a tertiary education," Mr Tredray said. "They don't have to feel left out because they didn't follow an education, and that they can make something out of themselves just through their passion."
Sacred Art Tattoo has a pair of experienced tattooists, Dave Nixon and Jordon Rimene, apprentice tattooist Amy Richards, and piercers Jess Kenny, who owned Shock Ink, Ryan Douglas, and Lily Majboroda.
"There's no shortage of people wanting to get involved and that's not strange because statistically New Zealand is the most tattooed nation in the world."
Ms Wright said hygiene and artistic integrity were priorities at the studio. Each of the co-owners have tattoos and "we both have a creative side that we can put to work at the studio".
"It's exciting and it's creative and artistic fun. We're all really passionate about Masterton and what we can together do for our town and region. Like giving people who might sometimes feel they're outcasts in their communities a place where they can use their passion and creativity," Mr Tredray said.
"We offer a great environment for all our artists and really we're like a family here already. We also want to return ritual and spirituality to tattooing and be able to see our work around us, our art, when we walk down the street."