Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Akinyele Umoja

Second Advisor

Lia Bascomb

Third Advisor

Maurice Hobson


As a rapidly growing, multibillion dollar industry, tattooing is quickly becoming a mainstream art form and commodity. Although the ancient art form, originates from civilizations all over the world, the modern history in the United States has largely limited Black individuals from receiving the recommended training (apprenticeship) until about the last twenty-five years. The purpose of this study is to explore the history of the Black Tattoo Community in Atlanta. The following questions will guide the study: What is the history behind the Black Tattoo Community in the Atlanta area? What are the experiences of Black artists apprenticing and learning to tattoo? What are the differences, if any, when tattooing people of color? What impact has television, the internet, and social media had on the tattoo industry, and in particular on Black tattoo artists? This study utilizes an oral historical interview method to answer these questions.