Following a decision from the DeLand City Commission Sept. 18, you can expect to see more tattoo studios in DeLand, and not just on the city’s outskirts. Several local tattoo artists are already planning to open new studios after the passage of changes to city code that will allow tattoo studios in Downtown DeLand and in other areas with fewer restrictions than before.
The new rules come after months of city boards and staff working out the specifics of how to loosen restrictions on tattoo studios. While previous rules required that tattoo studios be relegated to DeLand’s outskirts, the new changes allow:
— Tattoo and body piercing studios — the two are coupled together in the new rules — to open in any area of the city zoned C-2 or C-2A, including Downtown DeLand.
— Previous rules required studios to have large setbacks from the roadway, but those restrictions have been eliminated. The City Commission also agreed that there would be no distance requirement between tattoo studios.
— Shops must keep 75 percent of their window space free of signs or other obstructions to allow passersby to get a glimpse of the interior.
The new rules passed by a 3-1 vote, with Mayor Chris Cloudman and City Commissioners Dan Reed and Kevin Reid voting in favor of the new rules and City Commissioner Charles Paiva voting against them. City Commissioner Jessica Davis was absent.
Paiva clarified, however, that his opposition was not to tattoo studios but to the lack of a required distance between them.
His concern was that Downtown DeLand could become dominated by tattoo studios.
“We want diversity,” Paiva said, “but that also means not too much of one thing.”
Allowing tattoo artists to open studios in DeLand began with local artists like DeLandite Brittany Arizona coming to the City Commission and asking to be treated like other businesses and not ostracized based on outdated stereotypes. She thanked the commission Sept. 18 for the new rules.
“By allowing me to stand and talk about this, you’re looking past those stereotypes and getting a better understanding of what the tattoo industry is,” Arizona told the City Commission. “By having tattooing within the city, you’re breaking down the barriers tattooers have been facing for decades.”
Now that tattoo studios are more welcome in DeLand, Arizona and several other artists are looking to quickly move in.
Arizona’s current studio, Always Anchored, is out on Spring Garden Avenue, DeLand’s truck route. With the passage of the new rules, she and her fellow Always Anchored artists are eyeing 110 N. Florida Ave., right near the historic Athens Theatre, for their new home.
She plans to open that studio, named Alter Tattoo Co., this October.
She’s not the only one, either.
Central Florida tattoo artist and piercer Jake Carr is leasing space at 120.5 W. New York Ave. for a studio he and his wife are calling the Artisan Tattoo Collective. Carr is a tattoo artist, and his wife, Alysha Carr, is a hairstylist. They’re also planning to bring along some tattoo artist friends to open a studio with several artists, a hairstylist and “oddities,” they said, like taxidermy.
The couple, who live in DeLand with their 6-year-old daughter, are excited to be making history as another of the first tattoo studios to move Downtown.
“Our plan is whenever they do art shows and farmers markets to just have our door open, let people walk around and check it out,” Jake Carr said. “Let people get used to a tattoo shop — it’s not all just scary bikers anymore.”
More than anything, he said, he’s looking forward to being a part of a community he already loves. The couple are targeting early next year to open their space.
There are more locals looking to relocate, too.
Tom Homan, a longtime piercer at Subculturez, at 2481 N. Volusia Ave. near Orange City, is planning to open a studio at 128 W. Georgia Ave. early next year. That studio, called Modern Elegance, will focus on the higher end of the tattoo and piercing market.
“We want to elevate the general public’s idea of what body modification is,” Homan said, “and meet the ever-rising standard of our beautiful art district.”