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Shop Feature: Guardian Art Gallery

Guardian Art Gallery, Angel Caban Tattoo Shop, Shop Feature

Guardian Art Gallery is known as the first, premier tattoo studio in the unassuming town of Orange, Connecticut. This establishment is the home of a team of well-rounded tattooists, and is owned by one of our talented sponsored artists, Angel Caban.

As our shop features continue to extend beyond the boundaries of where our PainfulPleasures facilities are located in Maryland, we are excited and grateful for the opportunity to reach out to artists like Angel and learn more about what makes their studios special.

Managed by Angel’s wife, Alexsandra Caban, this family-owned small business has a mom-and-pop vibe that makes clients feel right at home. The studio is characterized by a welcoming environment with personalized attention and care, coupled, of course, by quality work and professionalism. Angel had much to say about his studio’s focus on client satisfaction and the importance of maintaining a good reputation in the industry:

“What makes Guardian Art Gallery so distinctive? Well… pride aside, we faced adversity by being the first shop ever in Orange, CT. We are clean and use quality equipment. We take the time to know and care for each of our customers, from the tiniest finger tattoos to the full sleeves and back pieces. We have core values that we hold our staff members to, which is to always be fair, compassionate, and respectful towards their customers and co-workers. Because at the end of the day, an artist’s name is their reputation, and having a good reputation is what will set you apart in the ever growing industry.”

Angel Caban, Alexsandra Caban, Guardian Art Shop Owners

Fairness, compassion, and respect are the pillars upon which Guardian Art Gallery was sturdily constructed when Angel Caban opened the doors to the public on May 2, 2015. One of Angel’s primary goals for this studio is to ensure all his clients feel safe. Clients who are receiving their first tattoo and are apprehensive about the process can rest assured that Guardian Art Gallery is as protective of its clients as a guardian angel, warrior, or, more appropriately, a compassionate artist. The idea of a studio that is a protective haven inspires the use of the word “guardian” in the name of the establishment:

“Nowadays, people from all walks of life are getting tattooed. To me, this means that I not only have to be a well-rounded artist, but also [an] insightful/compassionate person. For example, [...] I make sure that everything is explained ahead of time so that there are no surprises. I make sure to set up and open all of my supplies right in front of [the client] [...] and encourage my client to ask any questions they might have. I also explain the stenciling process and will drop a stencil 100 times as long as it makes the customer happy. Once everything is set up and my customer is happy with the placement, I start with a little line and check in with them multiple times to make sure they are as comfortable as possible.”

Tattoo Supplies, Guardian Art Studio, Guardian Art Tattoo

Guardian Art Studio, Eternal Ink, Angel Caban Setup

Walk-ins are always welcome at Guardian Art Gallery, which only adds to the welcoming vibe and warm, protective nature of the establishment. In addition to the well-rounded and compassionate staff, clients can expect a clean studio complete with white tiled floors and personalized wall art that reflects the work and interests of the Guardian team. Over the course of this past year, Angel has given the studio a full makeover, complete with an all-new design, logo, and team (albeit with the same heart and passion for artistic expression). As part of this makeover, Angel values hiring staff that have the correct skillset and reflect the same altruism Guardian Art represents.

“We choose our staff by [their] portfolio, artistic skills, clientele and vibe. You don’t have to be the next Michelangelo, but if you do decent, clean work, that’s what matters to us! [The portfolio is necessary] because you need to be able to show off your talent, and show your potential customers what you bring to the table. Artistic skill because you have to be able to create the client’s vision [...]”

As the team grows and the studio becomes more personalized, clients can expect staples that make Guardian Art truly unique. For instance, Angel Caban’s studio features a live-action Stormtrooper, a testament to the comic and Sci-Fi culture that molded his initial love and passion for art — a passion that has come to full fruition.

“Absolutely, comic books are great inspiration because they are saturated with color, dark contrast and straight lines, which are fundamentals that I try to translate into my tattoos.”

Guardian Art Gallery, Tattoo Studio, Storm Trooper

Other personal touches include a coffee station complete with a Keurig machine and a candy jar full of lollipops. It especially warms our hearts here at PainfulPleasures to see our custom-printed sponsored artist posters on the doors of each studio. It's also nice to see every inch of shelf space covered in quality supplies, including Eternal Ink, Empire Ink, Recovery Aftercare, and Precision essentials.

Guardian Art Gallery, Tattoo Lobby, Tattoo Coffee Table

Angel Caban himself is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, tattooing a broad variety of subjects in all manner of styles. When it comes to his preferred method, Angel has a special (and dark) place in his heart for the versatile nature of horror tattooing. Nonetheless, his enthusiasm for all kinds of tattooing sets him apart from more specialized artists.

“I am an artist without a specific style… weird, right? I am sure that’s not something that you would hear very many tattoo artists say, especially in the 21st century. Now, don’t get me wrong… I have certain styles that I like to tattoo, and certain styles that I feel allow for more creativity. But not having a specific style is something that I feel makes me unique and more well-rounded, instead of putting myself into a classification.”

Angel Caban became a sponsored artist with us in December 2017, having selected us as his go-to source after years of scrounging for supplies through a variety of other distributors. We are proud to be a reliable source for all his favorite supplies, including tattoo, medical, and aftercare products.

“Once I found PainfulPleasures, not only did they have the quality products, but they had such a wide variety [...] and their customer service was awesome! The convenience of buying all your supplies at once (ink, cartridges, caps, paper/plastic goods, machines, aftercare, etc.) was a win-win!”

We likewise consider our relationship with Angel Caban to be a win-win. Watching him demonstrate and showcase his skills using our supplies, all the while doing so with a sense of core values like respect and compassion, make us proud to sponsor Angel Caban and his work — and, moreover, to support a shop that has brought tattooing culture to Orange, Connecticut, which has a population of 14,000. This small town is known for its fairs, oxen/tractor pulls, and, most notably, PEZ candy.

“We decided to open in Orange, Connecticut because we wanted to stand apart and join a town that was untouched by the tattoo industry while still respecting surrounding shops in the local area. And though it was a rollercoaster of a ride, we are proud to say that we are the very first shop ever in Orange, Connecticut [...] At first we received some backlash when we decided to open the shop, such as a town ordinance, denied sponsorships and donations (from us to them), etc. But there was NO WAY we were giving up. I think the stigma still surrounds the tattoo industry, but mostly for lack of understanding and being reluctant to change. As time went on, I think people became more intrigued versus hesitant.” 

Angel Caban had a lot more to say about what informs his work, how he chooses the artists on his team, and the mutual respect among his tattooists. To read our full interview with Angel Caban, please click the link below.

Guardian Art Gallery, Guardian Art Storefront

Guardian Art Gallery Shop Feature Supplement: Interview with Angel Caban