Tuesday, June 16, 2009
COLORS: Interview with City of Ink's Miya Bailey
This past Saturday I went to the 13th Annual Atlanta Arts Tattoo Festival at the Crown Plaza hotel in Marietta. I don't have any tattoos (or piercings.) Really the closest thing I have to a tattoo are scars and bruises from my childhood. There's been times when I've thought about getting tatted up, but I haven't really thought of anything that I'd want to be on my skin for the rest of my life, except my hair. That said, you're probably wondering what business I had going there...
It was mainly because of a tweet I saw Miya Bailey, co-founder of City of Ink, send this past Friday. Though I don't have any tats, I've been a supporter of City of Ink since they opened their doors in 2007. If you've never heard of City of Ink, they are more than just a tattoo shop. They are a creative movement that consists of artists, writers, photographers, DJs & MC's (2 members of Hollyweerd Tuki and Chris are COI tattoo artists). They also happen to have some of the dopest art shows in the city.
But yeah, I chose to go down to the convention and show at least some sort of support for these brothers. I interviewed some COI members a couple years ago for a magazine project my art mentor Kevin "Mr. Soul" Harp was working on at the time. Though the story never came out, I still gained a wealth of information about the tattoo world whilst writing it. One of the things that stood out was the role that race played in the tattoo world. When I say race, I don't even mean as in racism really. I'm talking about how Black folks that really enjoy tattoos don't always get what to have what they want because of the color of their skin, literally.
Tuki Carter working...
Its said that in tattooing, the only colors that Black people "can get" are red, black and green. I didn't see that until I thought about all of my friends that have tatts and realized that all of them ONLY have those colors. COI specializes in creating more colors and methods that work on Black skin.
Talking to these cats also showed me that you can actually be fly if you are immersed in tattoo culture. Because lets face it, when you think of "tattoo shop" you usually think of death metal, muddy boots, dirty bathrooms and shit like that. These cats at COI are actually cool and fly as you and your friends are. You walk into the shop, they're playing Devin the Dude. You hang around long enough, you're going to meet some cool, fashionable people and some beautiful females.
COI definitely made their presence felt at the convention and represented the city well. Its unfortunate that they put them ALL THE WAY in the back on some straight Rosa Parks shit though. I'm talking, I had to walk into the hotel, go all the way down the hall to the last door on the left, and then walk to the furthermost corner of the room. It felt like I was Martin on that DMV episode when he had to start "from scratch." (3:45 mark)
I'm told that they were getting hated on from their exceptional performance at last year's convention where they were featured in the main room and kicked ass. But, people knew where to get the good stuff and found them anyway.
But yeah, be sure to peep the video interview I did with Miya Bailey as well as the gallery below. Oh yeah, extra stuff is in the Qik corner as well.
UPDATE: Here is the YouTube version of the video just in case Vimeo isn't working for you...