“Art defines the culture of the city,” Detroit Ink Spot owner Jason Phillips says. “When the art is not representative of the city and not being done by people of the city, it’s a fugazy.”
Phillips launched the first Black Tattoo Art and Music Expo last year to celebrate black artists in the city and promote positivity and non-violence.
“It got such a great response. It let us know that we were on to something – we were doing something right,” Phillips says. “We have the vision of becoming the premier black tattoo, art and music expo in the region.”
The expo returns to the city July 23 to exclusively showcase live music, poetry and comedy performed by some of Detroit’s most talented black artists. Those in attendance can view and buy art, browse clothing and jewelry vendors, sample The Original Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and check out live graffiti and tattoo demonstrations.
“There’s not a lot out there for young black artists,” Phillips says. “We’ve got to start appreciating our own and celebrating our own.”
The Detroit Medical Center will set up shop to offer free health screenings and laser removal consultations.
“A lot of artists that do tattoos consider people with melanin to be a bad canvas,” adds Phillips. “(BTAME is) open to professional tattoo artists of color and artists who specialize in tattooing people of color.”
The Black Tattoo Art and Music Expo takes place 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on July 23 at Eastern Market. For more information, visit BTAME313.com.