Documentary on black tattoo culture, seeks to educate and destroy stigmas about controversial, yet beautiful artform
About the film
The film is the brainchild of one of the world's most widely recognized black tattoo artists; Miya Bailey. For over 5 years the idea has always been in his head to create a film that not only sheds light on the artform, but also allows the artform to be represented in the right way. There are a lot of stigmas attached to black tattoo artists and their side of the culture; ranging from a lack of creativity to overall poor quality of work. This in turn has lead to artists from other backgrounds and those in the black community choosing to take their business elsewhere in search of quality work.
A lot of people also don't understand the purpose of paying a few extra dollars for what appears to be a tattoo anyone is capable of doing, after all, you just need someone with a machine and gloves right? This film sheds light on the dangers of not considering who you let mark your body FOREVER!
The black community has an overwhelming population of "scratchers": untrained people with tattoo machines looking to make a fast buck. A person’s thirst to get inked often leads them to seek out a scratcher because they are sold on the cheap price and opportunity to get inked. More often than not the end result is a poor tattoo that many regret, can become infected or just looks terrible. This perpetuates the cycle of stigmas associated with the art form.
The primary purpose here is education, basically if people knew better they would do better. There are dozens of black artists who are trained and highly skilled in any form of tattooing one could ask for. Once people watch this film we really want them to have a better understanding of their options and a deeper appreciation for the art form.
The film highlights the history of black tattoo culture and how it began in the south despite a heavily segregated climate for black artists seeking entry. We cover signature styles and how those styles have developed and influenced newer artists over the years. Tattooing in the media is another important aspect, as it is the biggest factor of how the cultures influence has spread. It is no secret that entertainers and athletes dictate the trends younger generations pick up on and tattooing is no different. What is suprising is despite the money these cultural icons have, some of their work is no better than the kid who got his in a basement down the street from his house. This further deludes the public as to what great artwork looks like and what is available to everyday people.
Aside from the art, we delve into the personal struggles associated with being an artist; how it affects your social life, personal relationships and other dreams you may have. There isn’t a person in this film who strives to just be a tattoo artist. There are artists who strive to musicians, painters, photographers, stylists, filmmakers, great parents and role models to their children, but they have to balance a demanding career choice that is also their passion in life.
The story we are telling is multi faceted and unique, if not for the chance meeting between myself and Miya Bailey, it may possibly have gone untold.
What we’ve accomplished so far…
We are well into the principal photography phases of the documentary. Shooting it has required us to travel to all parts of the nation where artists have migrated to feature their side of the story. So far we have been to NYC, DC, London and of course our homebase Atlanta. About 30% of what we need has been shot leaving us a lot to finish before we put together our first edit in November. The markets we have left to cover are Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. We’ve been able to shoot everything with equipment that I own, allowing us to keep production costs pretty low, yet and still we have been stifled a bit by the economic climate and our own personal expenses that come with day to day living.
Our Plan for the film
We realize first and foremost that as first time filmmakers nothing is guaranteed to us, we can only control what we control. Ideally we would love for it to be featured in film festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, ABFF, etc, but that is left up to a committee of people that we have to submit to. What we can control and what we will be doing is setting up our own screenings for the film in the markets that each artist is in, so that includes, Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, Miami, DC and LA. Keep in mind we will also be submitting to the big boys, but we only receive what we put out and we are here to put in the work.
We are very confident that the story we are telling is compelling enough to be featured in any festival, but it doesn’t hurt to create the movement first and let others catch up. After the film makes it’s runs in festivals and screenings, we will press up hard copies and distribute it independently in retail shops and online. A coffee table book of photos from the film will also be distributed in limited runs, available for purchase and to those who back the film.
What we need from you guys
At the end of the day, we not only want to represent for the artform of tattooing, but represent as filmmakers, what we’re asking from all of you is a bit of help to make the best film possible. The film will be finished by any means necessary, but we’d be foolish to think we could do it all with no help. The money contributed would primarily go towards scheduling flights for the remainder of shooting. We want to finish shooting in October and have an edit done and ready to go for submissions in November. The money you guys contribute not only helps us to finish the film faster, but take care of post production expenses such as sound mixing, motion graphics, stock footage, hard copies for festival submission in addition to the application fees for each festival. $10,000 is a fraction of what this will cost us in the end, so anything over that will definitely go towards the things mentioned above.
Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal, so if and only if we get to $10,000 is when you are charged for your donation. If you are outside of the US, you can also donate money as well.
As we shoot and the deadline draws closer we will keep you guys posted on the development of the film and any other updates.
For info you can check out our blogs at:
The film website is coming soon
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.