People believe that it is harder to tattoo people of color, but like anything, the technique is what matters.
Last year, an interview was released on NPR‘s website on a consumer named Oshun Afrique, who was getting a tattoo done at Pinz-N-Needless tattoo shop in Washington D.C.. She shared that when looking for a place to get a tattoo done, she dug through the internet to find someone who offered a portfolio of work on their Instagram who has done tattoo work on Black Skin / colored skin.
Citing an artist she saw online, she notes that the artist’s work is really good, NPR quotes her saying “But I would never get anything done because no one looks like me.”
It’s something to consider when creating a portfolio, and some tattoo artists either will omit colored skin in their profiles to see definition of a tattoo, especially a tattoo with color in it, but that leaves many colored people searching for an artist asking “Well, I like it, but what would it look on me?”
And while it may not be the intention of an artist, it comes off as a secret expression that light skin is the favored of tattoo artists when they don’t feature darker skin in their portfolios. Afrique told NPR, “I feel like it kind of feeds into an underlying desire that society has put on you to have lighter skin.”
The article notes that if you scroll through Spike’s Ink Master television show, many of the tattoos featured on the show’s Instagram, none are on people of color, and Season 2’s winner, Steve Tefft even went as far as to say that he didn’t want dark canvases and he felt it took away the skillset of the artist. That kind of mentality is a horrible expression.
Another artist cited in NPR‘s article named Tyler Brewer from Kensington Tattoo in Maryland shared his thoughts on the subject. He said, “Some people may assume that’s the case because you can’t do the same quality of work on darker skin… I don’t believe that to be the case, and he “wouldn’t be able to take on something extremely bright and vibrant that I could on a white man on a black man. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do color on dark skin.”
The artist that Afrique chose, Christopher Mensah, shared with NPR that if you were looking to get something the size of a dime, you can do that on white skin, but if you have darker skin, it may need to be a quarter or half dollar size to be seen.
Looking at Pinz-N-Needles Instagram account, you can see that many of the canvases (AKA the humans being tattooed) are of color, and the examples are absolutely phenomenal. So if you find an artist that says that you can’t be tattooed the way you wish to be, like any other tattoo experience, different race or not, find the tattoo artist that suits you the best, and can offer you the design you hope to obtain.
Amy Cooper has quite a few tattoos, and most of them are Harry Potter related.