There’s a snarling boar’s head on the wall over me as I’m interviewing Paul Jebian about his new business in Fresno.
It’s a fitting symbol and a sign that this antique shop is a little different. Besides the tattoo shop in the back that doubles as an art studio, even the antiques themselves are a bit distinct.
Oil & Rust dry goods and Turn of the Century Tattoo opened earlier this month at 431 E. Olive Ave. in Fresno, across the street from Tower Gas. It’s the squat little building in the Tower District that started as an insurance company and has been home to everything from a hookah lounge to a computer gaming place since.
Its latest tenant is Jebian, 27, a Fresno native, who runs both businesses. You won’t find any quilts or flowery china here. The antiques are from the 1860s to 1920s.
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The pieces in here really choose the people.
Paul Jebian, Oil & Rust and Turn of the Century Tattoo
In addition to that stuffed boar’s head, there are old rocking chairs, bottles, campaign pins from 1900 and old school portraits of women in oval frames. A hip bone from a large mystery animal that Jebian found while hiking near Las Vegas might work as unusual coffee table decor.
The antique shop has a masculine feel and easily fits the definition of “mantiques,” as my co-worker calls them (though women will find plenty of interest here, too).
The back room holds the tattoo shop and is a place for Jebian, a 2007 San Joaquin Memorial High School grad, to paint. The art school grad dabbled in his family’s construction business before opening Oil & Rust.
“I’m basically a working artist,” he says. “I sell all my paintings. I love antiques and I sell them. I flow off my passions.”
His arms and hands are covered in tattoos. He says he used to draw on himself as a little kid and got his first tattoo at 18.
Jebian was intrigued, he says, by a tattoo his grandfather has on his inner arm. His grandfather took a trip to Jerusalem in 1966 and got a tattoo with the date to commemorate it.
Jebian draws and inks all sorts of tattoos, but prefers a traditional, old-school look.
“I love tattooing beautiful women,” he says. By that he means inking images of stylized women on customers (though I’m guessing he probably enjoys putting ink on beautiful women, too).
Tattoos are by appointment, but he takes walk-ins too. In fact, he encourages people to come in and chat.
Plenty of people popped their heads in to say hello when he first took over and they ended up chatting about life, he says.
“It’s just good vibes all the time,” he says. “It’s always good vibes.”
The store is generally open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and can be reached at 559-666-0497.