2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Illustration by Mariah Wilson

Tattooing needs to become more inclusive

By Jenn Gorrie, July 6 2020—

To show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, tattoo artists in Calgary have taken steps to reconsider the way they tattoo and how it can be more inclusive for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). 

Michelle Vu, a tattoo artist from Altar Tattoo, shared on Instagram her experience of posting black and grey work, and how she was never aware of the harm desaturating photos can have. 

Being a person of colour, Vu said on Instagram, the intention of the edits was only for aesthetic appeal but moving forward she wants to keep the photos the way they are, to “maintain the cultural diversity of all individuals.” 

Taylor Hudson, Janeen Scott and Whitney Reid are some of the other artists in Calgary that have been vocal on social media. 

The three of them decided to offer Free Coloured Dots as a small option for BIPOC to visit and see how the coloured ink will settle on them. 

Taylor Hudson from Mission Parlour wrote on her Instagram, “If you have always wanted a coloured tattoo but were always too afraid or concerned of how it would look on your skin, please don’t hesitate to email me.”

She included that the dots could be placed in a discrete area or covered later by a tattoo after it heals. 


Janeen Scott also from the Mission Parlour wrote on Instagram, “Tattoos are for everyone and this idea that tattoos don’t look as good on black and brown bodies is untrue and needs to be destroyed.”

Though Scott mainly does line work, she extends the offer and shared that she would change the format of how she posts as well.  

When it comes to tattooing, the portfolio of an artist should reflect their proficiency as well as versatile work, but most images posted are either of light skinned clients or edited black and white. 

By seeing these images of tattoos, it can give potential clients a false sense of how the finish work will appear and leave them hesitant.

Aesthetics or not, fresh tattoos are not perfect and can either contain blood the first day or can even form into a colourful bruise.

This small gesture of giving out Free Coloured Dots, shows the industry is recognizing their faults, but still showing that they are willing to grow from it.  

The question I ask to the other tattoo artists who are not offering this option, ‘Why not? What is your reason?’ 

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet