‘Color Outside the Lines’ Tattoo Documentary

Very cool documentary project by Miya Bailey on tattoos in black culture. As far as I can tell, they’ve already reached their funding goal on Kickstarter, so I hope the movie will come out soon. Here’s a snip:

The film highlights the history of black tattoo culture and how it began in the south despite a heavily segregated climate for black artists seeking entry. We cover signature styles and how those styles have developed and influenced newer artists over the years. Tattooing in the media is another important aspect, as it is the biggest factor of how the cultures influence has spread. It is no secret that entertainers and athletes dictate the trends younger generations pick up on and tattooing is no different. What is surprising is despite the money these cultural icons have, some of their work is no better than the kid who got his in a basement down the street from his house. This further deludes the public as to what great artwork looks like and what is available to everyday people.

I’m really looking forward to watching this, because of the kind of my work I see a lot of African Americans who are sometimes heavily tattooed but in a very different style than I was used to seeing in Germany (or among whites for that matter). And the quality of those tattoos also tends to be not very good. As they mention on their website,

The black community has an overwhelming population of “scratchers”: untrained people with tattoo machines looking to make a fast buck. A person’s thirst to get inked often leads them to seek out a scratcher because they are sold on the cheap price and opportunity to get inked. More often than not the end result is a poor tattoo that many regret, can become infected or just looks terrible. This perpetuates the cycle of stigmas associated with the art form.

The official website is not up yet, but read about the documentary and watch the trailer here.


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