Color Outside The Line: Meet Black Tattoo Artist Miya Bailey
1 year ago
New documentary chronicles black tattoo culture
Years ago, tattoo artist Miya Bailey came up with the idea to show the world that people like him did exist, black tattoo artists. Now, after years of research, travel and a little help from supporters, Bailey's documentary Color Outside the Lines is almost set to be unleashed upon the public. Shot by director Artemus Jenkins, the film sets out to chronicle the contributions of Black tattoo artists all over the world and expose the racism that many of them endure.
Loop 21 caught up with artists and business owner to talk about the film, what he hopes it will accomplish and why black people need to "get their shit together."
Loop 21: What did you want to accomplish with this documentary?
Miya Bailey: I’ve been wanting to do this documentary, even before I opened up my tattoo shop City of Ink. But back then I didn’t have the resources or money at the time. So after putting some money to the side I had to decide if I wanted to open the shop or make the film. I felt like at the time it made more sense to open the shop first, get it to the point to where it could run itself and then do the film. I wanted to show people the history of Black tattoo culture. Documentaries capture history forever. Everybody can look up Don Ed Hardy and other, but you can’t hardly look up the pioneering African American tattoo artists. People are getting certain styled tattoos and don’t even know where they came from. So I just wanted to showcase these artists.
Loop 21: Beyond you documenting Black tattoo artists, is tattooing period something that is documented alot?
Miya: If you’re really into tattoo culture, there’s plenty of information for you to find these people online and find out how tattooing got to America or Europe or Africa. There’s plenty of information out there about tattoo artists. But when it comes to the African American ones, you can’t find anything. When you go on google and look us up, you only see me, Tuki Carter, or Zulu Tattoo in L.A. The same four artists usually pop up and when you see white artist bring up other tattoo artists, they never mention African American ones. I think its because they don’t see enough of them. I just want these people to be shown so that you can go out and support the right people when you’re getting your tattoos. A lot of these rappers have the image of Black tattooing messed up. I want to show how a body sleeve is really supposed to look, present it in a beautiful light and not in some ghetto ass way.