Unlike paper or canvas, there’s the permanence that comes with working on skin; the least forgiving surface of all. Even if you aren’t keen on tattoos, you have to admire the skill it takes to turn the human body into a living work of art using needles and ink. The rise from apprentice to professional is challenging for all who work in the tattoo industry, but Black tattoo artists experience a unique set of complications. Some find it difficult to land apprenticeships because of the color of their skin, while others encounter clients requesting racist designs.

As reported by Allure, “racism can look like many different things, from discriminatory hiring practices in tattoo shops to whitewashed images of clients on Instagram, and even the racist imagery and cultural appropriation seen in many common designs. Among tattoo artists of color, conversations surrounding these problematic practices and holding artists accountable are nothing new, but renewed, widespread interest in diversity and inclusion has brought these discussions to a wider audience, and led to much reflection and calls for change in the tattoo industry.”

There’s little to stop a Black person determined to succeed in any sphere, and Black tattoo artists are no exception. They travel across the country and around the world to hone their craft, and social media enables them to share their skills with millions of fans. We love to see it!

If you’re looking to get tattooed during your travels, here are some Black, US-based artists who deserve your attention and patronage.

1. Edward Best aka Poch


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Poch is one of the most versatile and respected artists in the industry today.

He has every right to be a braggart, but chooses to be humble, and this endears him to his colleagues and clients. He has an unstoppable drive and is always pushing his limits creatively.

Poch does traditional art as well. His drawings of DMX, Nicki Minaj and other celebrities are so realistic, you’ll swear they came from a camera or a printer.

If you’re in California, contact Poch for a tattoo session at Prestige Studios. He also works as a guest artist in other studios across the country and his schedule is posted on his site.

2. Anthony Michaels


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When Anthony joined the Ink Master competition, he didn’t have the years of experience the other artists did. Gracious and seemingly unassuming, he was a lethal competitor with plenty of raw talent. He became the first and only Black winner on the show in 2016.

Anthony’s portfolio encompasses a range of styles from neo-traditional to illustrative black and grey. He’s not afraid to rise to any creative challenge and has a knack for making his clients feel respected and comfortable.

Check out his shop, Twenty-Five Twelve Collective in Arizona.



3. Oba Jackson


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Oba’s Instagram features tattoos connected to The Culture, from Storm to Jimi Hendrix. He’s proficient at tattooing dark skin, and his pride in being a Black gay man is refreshing.

Recently, Oba was part of a video for the Inked YouTube channel where he and other Black tattoo artists shared their experiences navigating the industry.

He’s been vocal in his criticism of tattoo artists who call themselves well-rounded, but don’t bother to learn how to apply ink to darker skin.

If you’re in Delaware, check out his shop, Push Studio.


4. Miryam Lumpini

After being introduced to the craft in Sweden, Miryam aka The Witchdoctor, now makes her home and her living in Los Angeles.  .

Her work is characterized by smooth saturation and seamless transition between colors.

In an interview with Refinery29, she said, “my style is very bold, colorful and vibrant.” Nature is one of her biggest sources of inspiration.

Follow her Instagram page for appointment information.


5. Doreen Garner


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Doreen’s work is a love song to Blackness,  and she’s not afraid to share her take on issues impacting the community.

“The representation and support of Black artists in the tattoo industry is an absolute necessity,” she told Inked Magazine. “As pioneers of body modification and tribal practice, it is essentially our birth rite as Black people to carry out our traditions globally, especially in America where we have been stripped of our identity. It’s time for our contribution to the culture of tattooing to be celebrated with equal enthusiasm as those who have appropriated it.”

Doreen is based in Brooklyn, and her powerful black and grey tattoos can be modified to suit any part of the body.

6. Melody Mitchell


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“Do your research before you get a tattoo,” Melody told Inked Magazine in a video interview. “To just walk in and go to anyone; you’re really cheating yourself and you’re cheating your body.”

From colorful mandalas to titans of Black history like Harriet Tubman, Melody covers all bases.

She has the delicate touch necessary to work on especially sensitive areas like the sternum and the ribs.

Reach out to her for an appointment via her website.

7. Katrina Jackson


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Katrina is both a talented artist and an astute businesswoman, who first learned to tattoo in her native Chicago. She made the decision to leave school and focus fully on her craft. It wound up being a wise choice.

Katrina became the first Black woman to open her own tattoo studio in Beverly Hills called Enigma Tattoo. According to Rolling Stone, some of her clients have been Idris Elba, Young MA and Faith Evans.

She said to 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.”


8. Frank Ready III


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Frank Ready III is the founder of The Immortal Tattoo in Oklahoma, and he has appeared on Ink Master twice.

He’s been tattooing for almost twenty years, and his portfolio includes memorial pieces of animals and pets, anime and more.

As mentioned on his website, “he strives to always evolve as an artist, father and human being. Frank is proficient in all styles of tattooing. Soft black and grey, bold color and crisp, clean lines are his main focus in any category.”


9. Teej Poole


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If you’re looking for an artist who excels at  breathtaking realism, Teej delivers. He puts a staggering amount of detail into his pieces, and he was an Ink Master finalist.

His portraits of Kobe Bryant, Snoop Dogg and Nipsey Hussle are spot on, not to mention his sleeve of Neil DeGrasse Tyson surrounded by planets.

Teej’s shop, Blackbird Tattoo, is in North Carolina.

10. Craig Foster


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Craig appeared on Ink Master during seasons three and six. But when he first started tattooing in the mid 1990s, there were few artists who looked like him.

“I got my share of strange looks when people scheduled their appointment with no knowledge of my race,” he told Inked Magazine. “To move past that, I did my best to give them a great tattoo and experience.

He works at Skinwerks Tattoo in Georgia, and his style is mostly new school.