Feb 28, 2020

9 Black Women Making The Tattoo Industry More Colorful

The tattoos that people get are as nuanced as the skin they live on — but what about the people behind the needles? As tattoo artists become forces of their own (thanks to social media and celebrity clientele), there's an obvious lack of Black artists at the forefront. But that doesn't mean they don't exist.

There are plenty of Black artists trailblazing in the tattoo industry by specializing in a variety of artful techniques. Need a teeny tat? A realistic portrait? A sketch to commemorate your culture (and your complexion)? The Black women we've rounded up ahead can do it all. Whether you're already covered in ink or the thought of a needle sends chills down your spine — you'll be convinced to get new ink once you get familiar with these artists.
The Artist To Follow: @miryamlumpini

What To Expect: Bright, neotraditional artwork

Los Angeles-based artist Miryam Lumpini is a wiz at creating colorful pieces that look like they've been ripped straight from a (really good) coloring book. "My style is very bold, colorful, and vibrant," she tells Refinery29. "My biggest inspirations come from nature, animals, and various cultures."
Zoom in on this abstract floral piece, and you'll see that Lumpini's skill goes beyond just color. She has a knack for creating texture and vivid detail, too.
This piece looks like it came straight out of a comic book and onto the skin — that's how good Lumpini is at bringing whimsical characters to life.
The Artist To Follow: @flesh_and_fluid

What To Expect: Detailed line work, art inspired designs

If you have brown skin and want an artist who knows exactly what to do, Doreen Garner is a pro. Her Instagram feed ranges from fine-lined constellations to Basquiat-inspired art. She also prides herself on tattooing Black bodies and has a separate Instagram dedicated to her cultural artwork.
Garner's fine, black lines and intricate shading make this serpent piece look so lifelike.
This Black Panther ink is one of many pieces Garner has created as an ode to Black culture.
The Artist To Follow: @humblebeetattoo

What To Expect: Fine, cursive lettering and detailed illustrations

Brittany Randell is a Toronto-based artist with killer cursive skills. If you're looking for a word or phrase drawn in perfect script — she's your go-to. She also has a ton of portrait work, if you're interested in a minimalist piece modeled after Nefertiti or Solange.
This is the kind of script work you won't want to cover up in years to come.
You can also expect to see amazing fine line designs — like this tarot piece — on Randell's Instagram page.
The Artist To Follow: @kattatgirl

What To Expect: Bold, gothic-like designs

Kat Tat is a celebrity tattoo artist who appeared on Black Ink Crew: Chicago. In addition to being a beast at shading, she's also the first Black woman to own and operate a tattoo shop in the Beverly Hills area. "In the past, the tattoo industry was very hard for Black artists to break into," she tells Refinery29. "There was a stereotype tied to Black artists, where many of us were considered untrained. Now, thanks to social media and reality television, the industry is knocking on our door."
This gothic rose is a great example of Kat's swag: equal parts girly and badass.
Even if large, bold pieces aren't your thing, you have to admit — girl's got skills.
The Artist To Follow: @gentle_jaz

What To Expect: Dainty lines and watercolor creations

Jaz Paulino currently creates out of the buzzy Fleur Noir Tattoo shop in Brooklyn. She has a knack for tattooing dainty florals and working with color.
This shaded black and white rose is the perfect example of the modern minimalism that continues to be super trendy.
This tattoo is the perfect combination of the two things Paulino does best: clean line work and paint-like color.
The Artist To Follow: @kandacelayne

What To Expect: Dot work and henna-inspired pieces

Kandace Layne is an Atlanta-based artist who is an expert at using dots and lines to create intricate tattoos. She's a master at ornamental pieces that look like henna, lotus flowers, and stained-glass windows. Magic? We think so.
You'll see lots of these henna-influenced pieces on Layne's Instagram page. What we love, though, is that no two pieces are the same.
This compass piece is both dainty (thanks to Layne's clean lines and dot work) and gothic.
The Artist To Follow: @snaxink

What To Expect: Large, traditional designs

Debbi Snax is an artist whose traditional style stands out among the minimal trends that are so popular today. If you're looking for an old-school rose or colorful fill-ins, Debbi's your girl.
Her unique style can be seen through this intricate elephant piece that gives a nod to tradition but still feels contemporary.
A flip through Snax's Instagram feed will also reveal detailed flower pieces.
The Artist To Follow: @iamnatteetattoos

What To Expect: Abstract lines and illustrations.

Tee Fergus is a multidimensional artist who has "dope tattooer" on her résumé. She specializes in elevated, abstract tattoos. Fergus also uses her platform as a place to promote a safe, artistic space for queer artists of color.
On Fergus' Instagram you'll find a variation of work that features abstract lines and dots.
You can also flip through a ton of flash tattoo ideas drawn by Fergus. Good luck not wanting to stamp them all over your body.
The Artist To Follow: @tattoosbycake

What To Expect: Traditional art and detailed cursive lettering.

Cake's skill for cursive lettering will bring you in, but her mission will keep you scrolling. The artist operates a private studio in New York City called Girls Only that's designed to provide a safe space for women and the LGBTQ+ community looking to get inked.
Cake's page is full of pieces that honor Black culture...
Plus classic, intricate art.

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