CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A short documentary that will be screened at an art festival next month highlights the reason some community members and people from other areas of the U.S. decided to get tattoos.
- Behind the Ink is a documentary put together by 40 students participating in a free art program offered by the nonprofit Creating Exposure through the Arts
- Focuses on people with tattoos who are from different races, cultures, and age groups
- The program teaches students about photography, videography, journalism, and filmmaking
Forty students participating in a free art program offered by the nonprofit Creating Exposure through the Arts have been working on the Behind the Ink documentary for three months. The program participants interviewed and photographed people with tattoos who are from different races, cultures, and age groups.
Creating Exposure through the Arts Executive Director Mark Pendergrass said the program started highlighting people with tattoos 10 years ago after a 15-year-old Charlotte student was teased because he had a tattoo in honor of his late mother.
“He went into a tattoo shop with a fake ID and got a tattoo that represented his mom and that started the project. We turned that into a teachable moment,” Pendergrass said.
Since then, the program started offering students the opportunity to photograph people with tattoos to showcase in a gallery. However, this year their stories will be turned into a documentary for the first time ever.
Chip Rorie, who will be featured in Behind the Ink, said his tattoos are representative of his heritage and religious beliefs.
Rorie said he believes it will be beneficial for people to watch the documentary.
“Maybe it will help bring someone out of box, a one-direction frame of mind. Hopefully, it will help someone understand that we are more than just what you see. You can’t judge a book by the cover and you don’t know what’s on the inside,” Rorie said.
11-year-old Destiny Foucha, who is working on the documentary, said meeting people like Rorie has increased her understanding of why people get tattoos.
“I really didn’t know much about tattoos and why they get them but as we interview different people, I get to know more background stories about the tattoos and why they get them,” Foucha said.
In addition, she said she has also learned more photography skills, which she said could become a career option for her in the future.
The program teaches students about photography, videography, journalism, and filmmaking.
According to Pendergrass, four former students have become professional photographers.
“The purpose of the program is to give them some sense of direction, also introduced them to an art form,” Pendergrass said. “[Maybe] it becomes a major in college, some of them get involved with the yearbooks in high school, some of them learn to write better, and some of them become the best photographer in their household.”
The documentary ‘Behind the Ink’ will be shown on April 19 at the Boom Festival in Plaza Midwood.