When it comes to getting exceptional body art, aka tattoos that pop and last the test time for Black people, it’s the purest of struggles.
Voices of Color, a division of Insider, dropped an interesting video on Twitter that detailed the dilemma for people of color mainly, Black people, when it comes to getting great tattoos. When you go to a tattoo shop, you will always see tattoo flashes on white paper as you cycle through the examples of ink art you are considering getting if you don’t have an original concept already thought out in your head.
As with the changing times and the emergence of Instagram, the white paper has been substituted for white skin instead because, according to tattoo artists (white ones to keep it a buck), the tattoos look better on their “white canvases.” BUT thankfully there are dope Black artists out there trying to buck this trend and provide Black and Brown people with the dope body art they deserve.
The clip features legendary New Orleans tattoo artist, and shop owner Jacci Gresham spoke on the matter stating:
“Brown skin’s a bit of a study because I’m telling you we have been brainwashed with this flash on white paper. When you work on darker skin, you have to adjust your design to the color of the skin.”
Fellow Black tattoo artist Christopher Mensah who works out of the Signature Art Studios located in College Park, Maryland, described in the video how hard it was to get an apprenticeship because all of the white artists said no. He would eventually wound up under the tutelage of another Black tattoo artist. Voices of Color even goes on to breakdown Mensa’s technique that he uses on his clients to give them high-quality body ink. For color pieces, Mensa goes over the area several times to make sure the blending is just right and to prevent future fading. Mensa also adds that when it comes to tattoos with great detail, size matters.
“One thing is bigger is better. The amount of detail that’s in something smaller, on brown skin, in order for it to translate and be visual years down the road, you gotta do it larger. The misconception is to put a lot of detail. Having that translate on brown skin in the long term, kind of gets fuzzies and muddied up, but if you kind of give it more of that fuzzier look, to begin with, I think it will translate better.”
So when the world returns to normal and you get the itch for some new ink, definitely keep these factors in mind before you choose an artist and make a final decision. You can watch the full video from Voices of Color below.
Photo: MICHELE SPATARI / Getty