An Oak Bluffs tattoo parlor has been shut down since Sept. 19 by order of the board of health because an unlicensed artist was operating inside the business on Circuit Avenue Extension during an inspection, health agent Meegan Lancaster told The Times.
Cottage City Tattoo had been operating without issue since opening 15 months earlier, but Lancaster learned that the operator — Bruce Gulick — was no longer practicing in Oak Bluffs. So while doing inspections on foot Sept. 19, she was surprised to see someone inside. “He was almost like a guest,” she said. “He was only there for the weekend.”
Lancaster ordered the tattoo shop closed that day, and posted a sign on the door, she said.
Cottage City was the only tattoo shop operating in Oak Bluffs, she said. Establishments have to be licensed by the town, as do the individuals working inside, Lancaster said.
The business got some attention when Gulick offered a free tattoo to anyone who wanted the iconic image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “clapping back” at President Donald Trump.
Israel Ziegenhorn, an Island plumber who partnered with Gulick, said he is working out a deal to sell the shop to tattoo artist Jeff Gemma. Gemma will be the owner and operator of the shop.
“It’s changing hands from one tattooer to another,” Ziegenhorn said. Gemma, who is a licensed tattoo artist elsewhere and has been in the business for 20 years, was at the shop when Lancaster visited. “He was checking to see if there was a market,” Ziegenhorn said. “She shut us down.”
Ziegenhorn said of Gulick, “It just got to be too much for him.”