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Tattoo Studios On Central, South Coasts Among Businesses Hard Hit By Pandemic, But Artists Excited To Be Back To Work

(KCLU photo)
Tattoo Artist Rick Sutherland says the pandemic was rough on his industry, and he feels fortunate that his studio was able to survive.

Tattoo artists say business is strong since reopening, but that some studios didn't survive

You’re hearing the sound of an artist at work. Rick Sutherland has been at his craft for more than three decades. Today, his canvas, so to speak, is the arm of Katie McCarter of Thousand Oaks.

It’s been a tough year for Sutherland, as well as the tattoo industry in general. His studio, Clear Vision Tattoo in Moorpark, has been closed for nine months out of the last year by the state’s COVID-19 health orders.

Sutherland says he understood and supported the initial shutdown. But, he says it became harder to understand the second time around, especially after going into places like Walmart filled with hundreds of shoppers. He says even before the pandemic, his industry took an extraordinary amount of health safety precautions.

He has five artists in his studio, and it was hard for everyone to be idle.

Sutherland says some tattoo artists did some work anyway underground, just to survive. Some of his friends in the industry lost their studios as a result of the pandemic.

The tattoo artist says what saved his business was government help. He says from the City of Moorpark to the federal government, agencies really stepped up with support.

Sutherland has been back in business for a few weeks now, and says it feels great to do what he loves so much.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.