3 Black Tattoo Artists You Should Know | Painful Pleasures Community

3 Black Tattoo Artists You Should Know

This Black History Month, we're spotlighting 3 Black tattoo artists who do transformative work and offer game-changing insights. Meet all of them in this blog!
by Danny Tress Last Updated: February 8, 2024

Understanding the experiences and insights of fellow artists can be a game-changer for anyone looking to thrive in this industry. Not only thrive, but build communities, strive for growth, and foster new connections. In this blog, we’re tapping into the wisdom of three Black tattoo artists who have navigated challenges, broken barriers, and carved out their own paths to success. From debunking myths to embracing diversity, their stories offer invaluable lessons and inspiration. So, let’s meet ’em.

Aaron Davis headshot with three pictures of his tattoos

We need these spaces where we can really embrace our skin, where we can really show that your skin is not a problem.” — Aaron Davis

Black tattoo conventions, conferences, and seminars are crucial platforms for Black tattoo artists and clients alike. Afroamericana artist Aaron Davis knows that, having spent a lot of time educating his Black clients that their skin isn’t a “problem” in the world of tattooing.

I have to educate a lot of my clients just to tell them that their skin is okay, that it is a pleasure for me to tattoo them.

Unlearning the idea that Black skin is problematic to tattoo is only one of the ways all-Black conventions and events change the status quo. They’re also an opportunity for Black artists to meet more clients and thrive in their own careers.

In these spaces, it allows us to just freely say that. [It also allows] for people to comfortably walk around, talk to Black artists, [and] communicate with people that want to work with them.” 

Faith Hudgens headshot with three images of her work

I don’t know if it was the intention for the convention to put all Black tattoo artists in one row, but [we] were just on this one row. They had us all stuffed in the back.” —Faith Hudgens 

For many Black tattoo artists, their career path hasn’t been easy. That’s certainly true for resilient artist Faith Hudgens, who saw only one Black person, a piercer, at her first tattoo convention. Her second convention? Well, that’s when she found herself shunted to the back along with other Black shops and the Ladies of Ink group: an all-Black female artist collective.

It wasn’t until Faith attended her first all-Black seminar hosted by the Black Tattoo Experience that she started to feel acceptance and inclusivity.

I watched and I was able to learn how to do a colored portrait on brown skin. I didn’t have to go to YouTube [and] I was able to see it right there in person, hands-on. Ask those questions. And not only that but being surrounded by other Black artists who were just as hungry for this information as I was made me feel like I was included. I was accepted.”

While she still has moments where she feels alone on her tattooing journey, Faith nonetheless persists with passion. Her tattoos are bold and signature, going against the grain in a way that has turned her into a household name, creating loud work that heals beautifully on brown skin.

We’re taught as artists that colored ink does not belong on brown skin. I don’t know who told us that lie […] there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a bright colored tattoo, healed flawlessly on melanated skin.

Headshot of Oba Jackson and three images of his work

“As a collective, I feel like brown artists are being left behind in this industry.” —Oba Jackson

With over eight years of experience in the industry, Black Americana artist Oba Jackson isn’t happy with the lack of opportunities for Black artists to grow their skills. Black seminars, he asserts, are super important for artistic development. All-Black conventions and seminars not only allow for growth, but also help to bust unjust myths about Black artists in general.

“The myth I would like to debunk about Black tattoo artists is that we only particularly do one thing. We are late. We smell like weed when we’re at work. We’re unprofessional. [There are] so many myths [and] I always wonder where they came from and why they exist. So when I invite people to my shop, I wanna show them that this is what a Black tattoo shop looks like. We have one of the most beautiful shops here in Delaware.”

As a shop owner, Oba continues to debunk that myth every time a client steps into his shop. Making Black clients and artists feel comfortable is one of his top priorities.

“I’m like, yes. I own this place. This beautiful, tall, black man is out here trying to make a comfortable space for people who look like him.”


As we wrap up this journey through the experiences of Black tattoo artists, one thing becomes abundantly clear: there’s power in diversity, resilience, and community. Whether you’re an artist looking to grow your skills or a client searching for representation, the voices shared here resonate far beyond this blog. Keep learning from other artists, grow your own awareness, and help foster a vibrant, networked community of artists and creatives. Check out last year’s Black History Month feature for more profound perspectives in the industry.

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