Color Outside The Line: Meet Black Tattoo Artist Miya Bailey
1 year ago
New documentary chronicles black tattoo culture
Loop 21: With Black tattoo aritsts, is in that we don’t see the few that are out there, or are there in fact a lot of them out there?
Miya: There’s plenty of us out there. Enough that it took me two years to interview all of them for this film. People in our community need to know who these people are, people in the white community too. If you knew them, people wouldn’t be out getting the same styles over and over again. Black people are some of the most creative and most influential people on the planet and we bring so much style to tattoo art that it shouldn’t be overlooked. We are such a soulful people and most of our tattoos usually mean something. How many people you know have a tattoo of something from the Bible?
Loop 21: Alot.
Miya: Right. When you add that to tattoos about pain, the struggle, survival, our tattoos have a little more passion and emotion involved, which makes them even more beautiful and meaningful.
Loop 21: Is it fair to say that because of Black tattoo artists not being as known or accepted, that it can work out for the better in some instances. Most if not all of the Black tattoo artists we see are also entreprenuers and businessmen by default.
Miya: It does mean something, that’s a good thing. But at the same time, there was a time when female artists couldn’t get in the game but when people like Kat Von D got on television and introduced it to the mainstream, more people started checking for female tattoo artists. I want to see the same happen for Black tattoo artists too. I want to see more people come to us, the source, to get certain style tattoos instead of getting the watered down versions elsewhere.
Loop 21: In making this documentary, were all of the artists you reached out to willing to be involved?
Miya: Its funny you asked. I approached every professional Black tattoo artist in the world. Ones who had been trained and been in the game. Of all the people in the world, I was turned down three times. I think I did pretty good, considering.
Loop 21: Did they give you reasons why they said no?