In order to learn more about tattooing from our experts we decided to reach out to the tattoo artist who has previously worked with slaves in South Carolina.
We are so happy to have been able to talk to James Cunniffe a tattoo artist who has worked with slaves over the course of his career.
What happens after tattooing?
“The tattoo is a really great experience. They don’t really tell you anything until you’ve had it done, so really it’s a whole experience,” says James.
He says his experience working with freed slaves has been different than his previous work.
“With them, it was more like getting people back on their feet. It didn’t mean they just were like, ‘I have to stop getting me tattooed.’ I’m really happy with where they are now. That really helped me with getting these tattoos.”
For more information on James Cunniffe, go here!
Where are the biggest slave tattoo cities?
The tattoo scene in Charleston is dominated by one large city: Charleston. Located outside of the city of Charleston, Charleston is a place with lots of great nightlife.
James has worked with freed slaves there on his many tattoos. He even has a tattoo of a monkey along with the words, “I am just an old chimp.”
He remembers one client, who had a famous movie star tattoo. James says that guy was very excited that he was going to get a tattoo that was so powerful and unique. It was a real emotional experience working with a master who had such a vision for his work.
James says it’s hard to work with enslaved people in the South, at first, but it’s what he wants to do.
“I want to do tattoos for people who are oppressed for a reason, and I think it’s important to have a different way of expressing these things.”
To learn more about James Cunniffe, go here!
What’s the process of getting your very own tattoo?
Many free tattoo artists in South Carolina will teach you how to do the tattoo themselves, but we wanted to learn more as a result of our research with tattooing slaves in the South. To find out how you can get a free tattoo, head over to our Free Tattoo Tips page.
After doing some research, James found that most free tattoo shops do not use slaves as they would the typical tattoos, but rather use artists who are not
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