La Plata, MD– Inside an olive green suite are pale gray walls, reclaimed wood sliding doors, exposed artwork and a brightly lit “53” marquee sign placed on repurposed wood slabs above. above the register.
This is not a vintage cafe; This is La Plata’s newest and only tattoo and art studio, Shop 53 Custom Tattoo & Art Studio, which opened May 13th.
Owners Shannon Wang, commission artist, and Mona Wise, tattoo artist, have strived for a “calm atmosphere, cool design, clean look, and a mix of modern and industrial style,” Wang said.
Wang and Wise explained that the marquee sign, which they previously owned, was the muse of the shop’s name.
Shop 53 has three tattoo artists, including Wise, Kim Ewell and Cas Loll, as well as an apprentice, Leah Myers.
Unexpectedly, there are no boards with dozens of books or images to search for a standard tattoo because owners want each tattoo to be personalized. However, this is not the only unique aspect of the studio, it is also exploited by all women.
Although the boutique is staffed entirely by women, its customers are a mix of men and women, Wang said. “We’re all girls, but we’re not a girly shop,” Wang said.
“We really wanted the shop to not be intimidating like other tattoo shops here, which has [attracted a little bit older clientele]”Wise said. “I think it’s because they feel comfortable coming here; it’s kind of a laid back atmosphere.
The art gallery section of Shop 53 features works by different local artists for the enjoyment of visitors. “The gallery changes every three months or so and it’s just local artists, and it’s Maryland, Virginia, and DC,” Wang said. “We’re not just sticking to Charles County. We are trying to extend the circumference of the area a little more.
“We hold an open party every time it goes out, and the next one will be on December 3,” Wang said. “It will be the first themed one. We’re super excited about it.
There will be around 18 different artists showing “everything from cross stitch to multimedia projects to paintings” all of which will be bee themed. The Southern Maryland Beekeepers Association will also attend the event to talk about different things the community can do to save bees, Wang said.
Wang and Wise said they not only rely on Facebook and other social media to advertise their store, but local businesses have also been a big help. “All [Shop 53’s] the neighbors were really great and created a buzz in the neighborhood,” Wang said. “[They tell people that] when you hear a tattoo shop you think of one thing and then walk in and see how different we are from all the other places.
“I always wanted to have a business that mixed art with other things, and we were just able to start something new and tattoo and the art gallery just made sense to do an experiment full artistic,” Wang said.
Shop 53’s art gallery is open to the public Monday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and offers tattoos and piercings walk-in or by appointment. It is located at 6 St. Mary’s Ave. Suite 102 in La Plaata.