Raleigh tattoo artist takes 2nd job to make ends meet amid COVID-19 debt

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Raleigh tattoo artist was driven into so much debt during the pandemic, he had to take another job to make ends meet.

Tony Lawson owns No Regrets Tattoo off Hillsborough Street.

He's been open three months now but he said the two and a half months shut down drove him at least $10,000 into debt.

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"That's hard to come back from, that's not easy," Tony said. "From no debt to 'Bam' 10 grand extra besides your regular debts."

A month into the pandemic, he took a job stocking shelves at Walmart in Morrisville.

"It's just what I want to do so I gotta make it work," he said. "For 20 years I'm not just going to walk up and throw my hands away from it. It's 20 years of my life."

Tony said he spoke with other tattoo artists about applying for assistance and determined he wouldn't have qualified given he doesn't have employees.

He also said it's more challenging now to do his work not only because he has to wear mask but because he can only work by appointment only. Normally he'd have people waiting in his lobby looking through images as they waited for him to finish.

"Nobody in this country could withstand another lockdown," he said. "That's why I'm going to keep the other job because I'm afraid it's going to happen again."
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