One of the coolest and most hardworking guys on the New Jersey tattooing circuit is none other than Christian Masot from Silk City Tattoo in Hawthorne, NJ. The Aquarian’s been sending me to tattoo conventions all over the place from the Meadowlands to Asbury Park to New York City to even Philadelphia to cover it for my Inked Out column. Whenever I go to these enormous and packed conventions, I always run into Christian, who constantly has a client in his chair, making it difficult to catch up with him.
I interviewed Christian Masot back in January 2008 for Inked Out, and to watch his success within the past seven years, you can’t help to be happy for someone with his humble personality. Christian runs Silk City Tattoo in Hawthorne, NJ with five other artists working for him. He recently opened his own art gallery and art school in Jersey City, NJ, which I will get into in a minute. And as a tattoo artist, he was booked almost 18 months out at one point. He’s like the rock star of tattoo artists. For me, it was a no-brainer to make Christian this year’s Artist of the Year for our Annual Tattoo issue.
So, I called Christian to tell him that I was choosing him to be this year’s Artist of the Year, and he was so honored and humbled that he was our choice for this year. He told me the shop (Silk City Tattoo) is still constantly busy and he, himself, had to slow down a bit because he was booked 18 months out. That is crazy! He said this caused him to lose customers because they didn’t want to wait that long to be tattooed, so he had to come up with a system. So now he books quarterly, three times a year, which has helped him regulate his appointment intake.
Then Christian, who is a fellow newlywed marrying this past July, told me that he also opened an art gallery and art school in Jersey City called Black Bird Art Gallery and Art Studio, where he gets to display his own art as well as teach people traditional painting, photography and even comic book drawing. Chris said that they charge $35 per student, but will work on the price when it’s couples or large groups coming in to learn. When I asked him why Jersey City, he told me because he grew up in Kearny, NJ and Jersey City was virtually home for him. When I asked Chris if his art class was like those Painting With A Twist type of places, he told me that they do offer classes where customers are allowed to bring their own bottle of wine to drink while they paint (he will provide the glasses), but the difference between his art class and those chain art places is that he will allow his students to stay as long as they’d like to learn how to paint or draw, whereas those places rush you out as soon as you’re done with your artwork.
I had to ask Christian, between the conventions, Silk City and the art gallery, where does he find the time to juggle everything? He told me that he had to cut back on his convention appearances to focus on his own in-shop tattooing. As for splitting his time between the shop and the gallery, Chris says he tattoos at Silk City from Monday through Wednesday, then heads over to the Jersey City gallery from Thursday to Sunday.
Christian says the plan is to have a grand opening this month for the Black Bird Gallery and Art Studio and then to keep juggling his tattooing schedule at Silk City. Luckily, his new bride will be working at the art gallery, which means he gets to spend time with his wife while also juggling his busy schedule. For more on the grand opening of the Black Bird Gallery and Art Studio, visit BlackBirdGalleryJC.com. If you want to check out Artist of the Year Christian Masot and his amazing artwork, visit Facebook.com/SilkCityTattoo.