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  • Steve Marcotte

Did you Say an Art Museum & Tattoo Shop?

Forget every stereotype you have about a tattoo shop because Oceanside ‘the Arcade’ Tattoo won’t fit any of them.

Oceanside ‘the Arcade’ Tattoo, owned by lifetime Oceanside resident Jason Betz, is more of a museum as well as a place to get a tattoo or piercing.

The Arcade name pays tribute to Oceanside’s original tattoo shop located on the southwest corner of Hill Street (Coast Highway) and Mission Ave. The original Arcade was torn down in the late ‘70’s to make way for the current theater and shops.

From the heavy timber brackets marked with an “O” to the more than 130 frames containing flash tattoo art from Oceanside’s past, the beautifully lit shop feels more like an art studio.

It took Jason years to gather his collection of tattoo flash art including pieces of original art from the Arcade. “It’s folk art. Timeless,” explained Jason, “They show the history of what the world was going through at the time.”

Jason’s collection includes art from World War II, the Vietnam Era along with pieces from the early 1900’s all created by legendary tattoo artists such as; Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, Huck Spaulding, Oceanside’s original tattoo artist, Buzz Clayton, and Ralph E. Johnstone.

To say Jason was born a tattoo artist wouldn’t really be stretching the truth; he began tattooing at the ripe old age of eleven! When speaking about his collection of art and tools of the trade, Jason’s passion is evident.

Five artists work at the Oceanside ‘the Arcade’ Tattoo. “All of our artists have been tattooing for over 15 years professionally and have the portfolios to back it up,” said Jason. “We specialize in all types of tattoo’s but we don’t do foul language, drug or gang tattoos.”

You should have some idea of what you want before you go for a tattoo but if you don’t… “Just think about things that make you happy, you’re passionate about. Things you will never forget.” Jason said. They also have two computers for customers to do their own research. “Sometimes people will have an idea of what they want but when they come in and see all the flash on the walls, decide to go with one of the classics.”

With a roll up front window and a bar to sit and watch the world go by, Jason designed Oceanside ‘the Arcade’ Tattoo as a place where people can be comfortable just hanging out.

To learn more about Oceanside ‘the Arcade’ Tattoo, visit their website:, Facebook:, Instagram @oceansidetattoo or call 760-439-8288.

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