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Gainesville tattoo parlor celebrates Friday the 13th

Monica Efferen looks over bookings at the front desk of the tattoo shop. (Adam Goodson/WUFT NEWS)
Monica Efferen looks over bookings at the front desk of the tattoo shop. (Adam Goodson/WUFT NEWS)

People rushed to Oasis Tattoo Collective as early as 9:30 a.m. on Friday the 13th to claim their spot in a line that wrapped around the building.

What were they waiting for?

Discounted flash tattoos that would be provided to customers who arrived first. After opening, Oasis was fully booked almost immediately, and many customers were unable to secure a spot.

“I’m doing it more for the event than for the tattoo. It’s Friday the 13th,” said Kristalrose Lu, 23, an architecture student at the University of Florida who got a tattoo of a dagger on her wrist.

“It hurts less than you think,” the Gainesville resident said. “The lead up to it is like a roller coaster.”

When the 13th falls on a Friday, it is a special day for tattoo artists, and it is a common belief among artists that getting a tattoo then brings good luck. It has become a tradition to do as many tattoos as possible on the Friday the 13th for many artists.

To accomplish this, artists at tattoo parlors like Oasis offer flash tattoos – tattoos that the artists design beforehand. All their designs for this event are about the size of a palm, and the collective had more than 100 tattoos for customers to pick from.

“I got the bat [tattoo]. I saw him on the sneak peek on their Instagram story, and I was very charmed,” said Montana Young, 25, when asked about her selection from the list of flashes.

Customers visiting Oasis, located in downtown Gainesville, were met with Halloween decorations of blood-red hand prints and tape spread across the window that read “haunted.”

The motto of the tattoo parlor, “Good Vibes Only,” is on the back wall in neon purple lighting, and it holds to its promise. Once inside, visitors of Oasis Tattoo Collective are met with walls lined with tattoo design-filled picture frames. With tattoos ranging from likenesses from Marvel’s Avengers to fearsome drawings of demons and tigers, it gives visitors a window into the imagination of the artists.

According to Monica Efferen, 25, who lives in Gainesville and works at the parlor for busy events, sessions typically take about three hours, but flashes are usually done in 20 to 30 minutes.

On Friday, the shop only accepted cash and offered customers one flash tattoo for $60 or two for $100. The standard rate at Oasis is $150 an hour.

“I loved the artist I was randomly assigned to, Jay Goodspeed,” said Young, a lifetime Gainesville resident who works at Coffee Culture. “Godspeed is correct; she was wicked fast.”

Young said they enjoyed their first flash event that allowed them to meet talented artists they did not know before.

For the day, Oasis had 101 appointments spread between nine artists, with many customers receiving two tattoos. All total, Oasis artists completed 163 tattoos Friday. During the tattoo event, the store had six employed artists, one apprentice, and one guest artist who worked on flashes. A cosmetic tattoo artist at the shop also had deals for $75 tattoo freckles and $25 beauty marks.

“Art has always been with me since I was born,” said Paul Bermudez, 47, a Gainesville resident and one of the owners of Oasis, which he runs with his wife and fellow tattoo artist Maria, 30.

Despite this, Bermudez did not always know his calling was to be a tattoo artist.

He was in school to be a nurse when he entered a tattoo shop one day to pass some time. At the shop, he ran into a friend who was working there, and after talking, his interest was sparked.

Bermudez did an apprenticeship and began working as a tattoo artist, a profession he has held for 22 years. He and other artists said Friday the 13th is one of their busiest days of the year.

“It’s a day that’s out of the ordinary,” said Bermudez. “You are able to have fun with a bunch of people who get to experience Friday the 13th and take a memory with them.”

He says that despite the discount, artists do not lose out on money and sometimes even make more because of the volume of tattoos done. It accommodates people who do not want to commit to a large one.

“It’s a gameday kind of thing,” said Lazarus Pinea, 26, one of the artists. “It’s like getting a couple months of tattoo practice in a day.”

It has been four years since he finished his tattoo apprenticeship, and he has been at Oasis for two years.

“There’s no place like Oasis, man,” said Pinea. “You know Paul is like a second father to me, to be honest. He has taught me most of what I know now.”

The store opened in March 2020, three weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic. Just after opening, the shop shut down for three months. When Oasis opened again, it made a comeback and often is fully booked.

“I show up for the fun things; I’m basically the cheerleader,” said Eric Koblick, 29, who helps the shop with their social media. “My friends are forced to stick with me.”

Koblick, who is friends with the owners, helped open the shop. He said his footprint is on the wall upstairs. He has since moved to New York and flew to Gainesville to help with Friday’s crowd.

For prospective customers who missed Friday’s flash tattoos Oasis is hosting another event on Halloween. It is first come, first serve, and only cash is accepted. They are currently drawing up a new list of flashes for the day.

“I was holding back on getting arm tattoos because I knew once I got one, I would want more,” Lu said.

Adam is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing