Color Outside the Lines: A Tattoo Documentary (2012)

Color Outside the Lines: A Tattoo Documentary (2012):  All cultures have ancient tattoo roots: Polynesia, Celts, Japanese, Native Americans, etc, etc. Here the other day I saw a documentary that drew historical lines from the black American community, back to legendary tattoo artist such as Sailor Jerry & Ed Hardy and their contact with Japanese artists. The 1 1/2 hour-long documentary was insightful on how ink looks different on different kinds of skin, how it was like for black Americans when they first started out in the tattoo business and how some of them (not all of them!) came from a background as scratchers.

(A scratcher is an “inexperienced, untalented, unclean and untrained tattooer”. ( Scrathcers often work from their own homes, they have no respect for the art and uses tattooing (or scratching) as an easy way to make money).


Illustration photo from MBK Tattoo Contest 2015, by

The documentary, directed by Artemus Jenkins and produced by Miya Bailey, has a number of interviews with black American tattoo old-schoolers like Jacci Gresham, plus a lot of younger artists – also some who are (or used to be) under the apprenticeship of hard-working tattoo artists.

“Color Outside the Lines is the first film that provides a deep look into the history, culture and lives of the world’s top black tattoo artists.” (YouTube)

If you’re interested in tattooing and tattoo history, I highly recommend this 1 1/2 hour documentary, which is available on YouTube:

More about tattoos in this blog:

My tattoo related Flickr Gallery:


Photos of Tattoos Wanted

Hello Dear reader/fellow blogger.
I’m writing some articles about the History of Tattoo, and I thought it would be nice to illustrate the series with images from fellow bloggers (or their friends) tattoos. Perhaps you/your friend want your tattoo featured in one of the articles?
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