making their mark on the city they love

Alex and Marta, photographed at their Railbender studio in Hintonburg.

Photographing and meeting Alex Néron and Marta Jarzabek in many ways is why I love the loveOttawa project so much. Alex and Marta are the nicest couple you could ever meet – they’re creative, genuine, humble, curious, generous and very entrepreneurial. I first heard about them and their Railbender Tattoo Studio through social media, then on Kickstarter where they were raising money to help build their Hintonburg studio. I immediately knew I wanted to meet and photograph them for loveOttawa!

Alex and Marta built their studio right in the heart of one of their favourite Ottawa neighbourhoods Hintonburg – right next store to the awesome micro brewery Beyond The Pale and around the corner from the Parkdale Market where they love to support local producers in the summer months. I should also mention that their studio has also a small gallery where they’ve been showcasing local Ottawa artists since they’ve opened – artists like Mat Dubé, Stephen Frew, Marc Adornato, Andrea Stokes, Daniel Martelock and more! I love that it’s so important to Alex and Marta that they’re helping other Ottawa artists with their Railbender studio and gallery.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

So what do Alex and Marta love about Ottawa? They love the clean and super accessible green spaces that Ottawa has to offer. “The Rideau canal, the Rideau River, the many parks, and extensive networks of trails and pathways in this city, are the arteries of Ottawa – we Love them all!”  They also love all of the great music venues around town, especially the National Arts Centre! Alex shared a great NAC memory – “Tony Bennett proved the NAC is by far the best music venue for sound in Ottawa. When he performed live a few years back, he asked all power be shut off and sang live. The sound was incredible and carried throughout the venue so perfectly!”

Something really cool that Alex and Marta love, is just how supportive and positive the editorial and blogging community is here in Ottawa. They’re so appreciate all of the support they’ve received from the folks at Apt613, Herd Magazine and GUERILLA Magazine. “Ottawa has always had a lot to offer, but now people are making an effort to share with one another, to get the word out. Ottawa is buzzing, but we haven’t seen anything yet!”

Community is super important to both Alex and Marta, which is why they love the PEOPLE-oriented neighbourhoods of Hintonburg, Westboro and Sandyhill. These urban Ottawa neighbourhoods to them have a rich blend of ‘a little bit of something for everyone’ – the arts, entertainment and health & well-being. A non-profit community initiative that is very close to Marta’s heart is the Debra-Dynes Family House. It’s a multi-service community resource in the low-income social housing area of Prince of Wales and Meadowlands. “They are the definition of community driven, and are committed to improving the quality of life for multi-culturally diverse families who are low income and working poor.” The Debra-Dynes Family House serves more than 100 people a day through their many services, and as with many initiatives, depend heavily on volunteers and are very appreciative of financial help and donations.

Thanks so much to Marta and Alex for sharing some things they love about Ottawa. I’m certain their Railbender Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery is going to have amazing success!

For more information about Railbender: and you can follow them on twitter at: @rbenderstudio