’Survival of the fittest’: Tattoo industry in crisis
A CAIRNS tattoo operator is warning that the industry is likely to be whittled down to a few major studios if coronavirus restrictions continue unabated.
Tattoo studios fell victim to the COVID-19 shutdown last month, along with, but not limited to beauticians, tanning salons, spas and massage therapists.
"It is 100 per cent survival of the fittest. I think only the major studios will survive," Black Temple Tattoo studio owner Dean Statue said.
The Lake St studio depends on the tourist trade for 60 per cent of its business.
When restrictions are eased, the remaining local clientele share would be stretched to satisfy a saturated marketplace in Cairns.
He warned an illegal underground tattoo scene could emerge if artists were not able to find work. "Most of the other artists will have to look for other work or turn to the black market. You can see an underground opening up in time once artists dig into their savings," Mr Statue said.
"Having the temptation to tattoo from home - while obviously illegal - would keep them earning to put food on their plate.
"We don't want that to happen. You'd want to steer clear of any backyard operation, although I can understand why artists would do that."
Mr Statue said the tattoo industry was well placed to respond to scaled-back restrictions and continue operating with strict social distancing.
"We can easily move to a booking-only situation to stop random walk-ins," he said.
"We already have sterilisation measures in place: constantly changing everything, disinfecting every surface, changing gloves and masks."
Originally published as 'Survival of the fittest': Tattoo industry in crisis