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The Blank Black Canvas: How Can Black People Find Tattoo Artists They Can Trust?

Last year, during the nightmare that was the pandemic, I had a dream. It was only fleeting; I was decorated head-to-toe like fine china. My heart was brimming with joy. ‘Finally,’ I thought. ‘I look like how I feel.’ 

But then I woke up.

There was no need to check my arms in the dark. I knew they weren’t the masterpieces I’d envisaged only seconds ago; the shoddy hydrogen symbol on my left wrist, a permanent reminder of someone’s inability to admit, “I’m not sure how to do this.”

It had been four years since that tattoo and six since my first. I felt ready to hop back into the world of lavish pain and swift needlework. I told myself I’d wait until the world opened up again and began bookmarking the work of artists I’d long-admired.