Champions of Pride 2021: The West Coast – –

Leila Haile likes to joke that if they hadnt seen the 1996 film Foxfire, where Angelina Jolies character, Legs, tattoos a flame on each of her friends, she might never have become a tattoo artist in Portland, Ore. That was the first example I had of body modification being an intimate act of reclamation after communal trauma, Haile recalls. Later on, I saw an amazing chest piece on a woman who had a double mastectomy, and it clicked that this was how

I wanted to use my art, this was the type of healing that I felt drawn to do. The queer tattoo artist specializes in melanated skin, is accessible to all levels of mobility, and describes tattooing as an intimate act of service. Even if youre just tattooing a dick on someones ankle, youre still interacting with a body that has its own history of healing, joy, trauma, they say. They further note, Much of the industry is still rooted in white supremacy, colorism, homophobia, anti-blackness, transphobia, and all their trappings. Transitioning tattooing into a culture of care is at the heart of their work. With Maya Vivas, Haile is also the cofounder of Portlands Ori Gallery, where they created a radical art space for their many intersecting communities. Now the pair are passing the space down to a new generation of Black creatives. Its both exciting and terrifying to hand off our baby, Haile says. But knowing the talent that is taking over, amazing things are ahead.

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Champions of Pride 2021: The West Coast - -

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