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David Sloan plans to open tattoo studio and gallery on Union Street in Easthampton

Sloan, 27, of Dayton, Ohio, told the Planning Board Tuesday about his vision to turn 28 Union St., the former home of Riff’s Joint, into a small tattoo shop and art gallery. The Planning Board unanimously approved the use.

The tattoo shop would be Easthampton’s second. The city’s first shop, Off the Map Tattoo, opened at 112 Cottage St. in 2005.

Sloan landed in Easthampton thanks to the Cottage Street tattoo studio, which regularly features guest artists from around the world. He had been tattooing professionally for four years when he was invited to tattoo at Off the Map earlier this summer and again this month.

Sloan, who also does oil paintings and sculptures, said the well-known shop is a big part of why he wants to open a tattoo studio in Easthampton. “Off the Map is pretty much the center hub of the tattoo industry; all the world renowned artists are acquainted with it,” he said.

Plus, he fell in love with the city. “I think it’s beautiful here,” he said. “I love the city, the area, the scenery.” Sloan said he had been looking for locations to open a shop in Ohio, but never found the right one.

He thinks he’s found it in 28 Union St., although he admits it’s not much more than a dream at this point. He still needs to relocate to the area, sign a lease, renovate the space and get approval to open from the city’s building and health inspectors.

Sloan said he would tattoo in the rear of the shop, while the front of the shop would be a gallery for people to browse his paintings, sculpture and possibly the work of local artisans. He would be the shop’s only tattoo artist, at least at first, and has no plans to do piercing there.

“I want it to be comfortable while looking very sleek and professional,” he said.

“It’s my lifelong dream to own my own shop, and to be in Easthampton and work side by side with Off the Map would be a dream come true,” he said. “Being an artist is an ongoing thing, you want to push the envelope and develop more skill, so having all those incredible artists there would be great for that.”

Sloan specialties are realistic tattoos, such as those of animals or people, and he enjoys working with customers to come up with original designs.

“I love meaningful tattoos,” he said. “It should be meaningful; it’s going to be with you the rest of your life.”

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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