“Dark Skin. Sweeter Pigment.” Zi Todd, (2020).

March 30, 2021
[frame one] "c'mon you said you would go with me. don't back down." "I didn't expect you to get one right now" Once I was 18, I was set on getting a tattoo. [frame two] my bff didn't know, but her tattoos always drew me in [frame three] "sorry, did you say something" "skin like yours is only good for lines. it would be a miracle for color. my desire for the feeling of a needle to skin would not be tamed. Though his words rang, I was dead set on using my body as a canvas.

[frame one] months after my first tattoo, as soon as i moved to SoCal, I was on the hunt for my net piece. I spent hours trying to figure out what fit my identity. [frame two] i finally stumbled upon a style that catered to everything i had hoped to emobdy: American Traditional.
[frame one] "that one. the red rose, how much?" "you sure? i don't think the red shows well. let's try grey..." i took a trip to a shop, dead set on the rose I had seen from a flash sheet. Yet, the artists words of uneasiness caused internal distress. [frame two] "hey are you free? things aren't okay." "let's tail" After, I received countless rejections to my request for bold, colorful tattoos. Eventually, I called on (Monday?) only to have my mind expanded on colorist in the tattoo industry
[frame one] some white artists preferred a porcelain body over a wood toned canvas. [frame two] spider murphy was one of the very first shops to stain their flesh, mimicking darker skin, bold colors could embed in dark skin
[frame one] the Black traditional style tattoo community is small. But, when we find each other, we rebuild a long history of Black erasure in mediums of art that are not static to white history. [frame two] there is no room for hiding behind racism disguised as fear when it comes to art. Instead, I am looking to build my tattoo family. The same way sailors built bonds across the seas.