Name? Lorri Thomas, AKA, Lady L.
Shop? Detroit Inkspot
Location? Detroit, MI
Specialty? Cover ups, Watercolor Tattoos, Polynesian Tribal.
Years tattooing? 12.
How did you get started tattooing?
I’m a self-taught artist. I went to shops with my portfolio, inquiring about an apprenticeship, hoping with my previous background and education in art, someone would give me a chance, but they didn’t. I did, however, have mentors from around the country to give me pointers.
Tell us about the Ladies of Ink tour you created.
The Ladies of Ink Tour is a collective of black female tattoo artists who travel around the United States tattooing at different conventions and shops. I created this tour three years ago to educate people, to show them that we do exist in this industry and can tattoo just as well as other artists, regardless of our race and sex.
What has been the response from the tattooing community?
We’ve had a great response in most areas. Some shops weren’t too enthused about seven black women invading their space, but it’s all love. We embrace those who embrace us.
Tell us about your involvement with BTAME.
Our shop started BTAME 3 years ago and The Ladies of Ink Tour has been involved for the last two.
How do you feel when you hear an artist refer to pigmented skin as a “bad canvas”?
I feel that it’s very disrespectful to people of color. Just because you don’t know how to tattoo on our skin doesn’t mean we can’t be tattooed well.
Can an artist who is only adept with one skin tone really consider him/herself a master? Why or why not?
No. I feel if you’re really a “master” artist you should be able to tattoo on all skin tones. There’s no such thing as a “bad canvas.”
Can you give us some pointers on techniques and/or equipment and materials to use to better accommodate skin with darker pigmentation?
When tattooing darker skin, negative space is a must. The darker the skin tone, the bolder the linework should be, the shading shouldn’t be too overwhelming. Over time the piece will still look good and not blotchy.