Tattoo Artist Doing a Tattoo Cover-Up on a Woman's Back

May 8, 2018

Tattoo Artists Help People By Covering Up Racist and Offensive Tattoos

Sometimes people make bad choices, especially when they are young and easily influenced. Those choices sometimes involve tattoos that include gang symbols, racist themes, and other offensive designs that can cause problems later in life. Fortunately, a small number of tattoo artists around the country are helping some of these those people. These artists offer free tattoo cover-ups to those who have had a change of heart and want a fresh start. This can help people who are struggling to get reputable jobs or want to be a better role model for their children because of the ink on their skin.

What Tattoos Will Get Covered for Free?

The requirements for a free tattoo cover-up depends on the artist. Of course, this service is not available to everyone, everywhere. As Elizabeth and David Cutlip, owners of Southside Tattoo in Maryland and founders of the Random Acts of Tattoo Project, said in their initial Facebook post about offering the cover-ups, they will cover gang or racist tattoos for free, as explained in an article from Vice.

Other artists that have offered similar cover-up deals are: Nicholas Peirce of Diamond State Tattoo Parlor in Arkansas; Rich Regal, owner of Modified Studios and part of Project Hate Cover-Up; Jamy Magee, owner of The Parlour Hair & Ink in Oklahoma; and Billy White, owner of Red Rose Tattoo in Ohio. Each artist that participates has their own requirements for getting a free cover-up, but it is a great step in helping people move on from their past.  

Why is Offering Free Cover-Ups A Big Deal?

Tattoos are very expensive. Typical cover-ups can cost between $400 and $1,000, which can be even more than the cost of an original design. The cost of the cover-up can be prohibitive to many of the people who would want to cover up their racist or gang related tattoos. Most do not have that much money set aside for a non-essential purchase like a tattoo. Some people with offensive tattoos didn’t even pay for them in the first place, because they got them in prison or as part of a gang initiation. Thus, a free service is the only way for most of these individuals to deal with their ink.

Also, the majority of free tattoo services involve removal, not a cover-up. Tattoos are still a way for people to express their appreciation for certain designs, ideas, or people, like their children or other family member. Thus, keeping the tattoo is a way for them to share their new passions and loves. By repurposing and reimagining the design, it can also serve as a symbolic reminder of how they themselves have changed and improved.  

Hopefully, this sort of philanthropy spreads; it can only improve our communities and culture.

Of course, it is important to take care of your ink, and even more important to keep it clean and healthy when you are tattooing over an area that has already been inked. Using tattoo aftercare products that are natural and good for your skin will help your new ink heal well and look great for years to come.