BELFAST, Maine — The new tattoo studio is immaculately clean, spacious and flooded with sunshine, which is just the way that owner and tattoo artist Angel Hunt likes it.
“There’s a classy spa, art gallery atmosphere,” she said Thursday about the vibe of Electric Skin Designs on Church Street. “This is going to be great.”
Hunt already owns one studio of the same name in Augusta, and although the Belfast edition — with its 1950s rock ’n’ roll theme — opened just two weeks ago, she’s dreaming of creating even more.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I want to have a chain of them.”
Hunt, who does body piercings as well as tattoos, and tattoo artist Corey Paradise said that this kind of body art has gone mainstream — even in rural places such as Maine.
“It has become less of a way of rebelling and more of a way of self-identifying,” Paradise said. “What’s cool about the popularity of tattooing is that more customers know more about it, and their expectations are broader. We live in a global culture now, and everything’s fair game.”
While a few decades ago, tattoos in the United States might have been more limited to traditional images such as anchors and roses, tattoo artists today must be versatile, he said.
At Electric Skin Designs, the artists do portrait work from photographs, create their own, or draw from a variety of images.
They use brand-new needles and sterilize other equipment in an autoclave, Hunt said.
Hunt also plans to teach basic and advanced body piercing. She learned her trade in Rhode Island while Paradise did his apprenticeship with longtime Belfast tattoo artist Julie Rose, who closed her shop about 2½ years ago.
The growing Belfast art scene is one reason they thought it would be a great place to open a studio.
“I lived [in Belfast] for a while,” Paradise said. “I kept seeing how interesting it was getting.”
He and Hunt clearly are enthusiastic about their work.
“I just love the fact that I get to draw a lot, and I get to talk to people one on one,” Paradise said. “I like the challenge of bringing people’s ideas to reality. And I like exceeding their expectations.”
Hunt said she’s had a warm welcome so far and one artist recently approached her to ask about displaying pictures on the studio’s large brick interior wall.
“I love the community here,” she said. “It has a really good vibe.”
For information about the studio, which is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, call 338-1557 or visit www.electricskindesigns.net.