The black and gray tattoo is sometimes called the “prison” or “collaborative style,” and it is believed to have originated in prisons where prisoners had limited access to various materials. They used guitar strings instead of needles and used cigarette ashes or pen ink instead of paint.
Prisoners built improvised tattoo machines that were powered by small motors used in tape recorders. In prisons, cellmates were not allowed to get tattoos, so it was probably done secretly. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the prison tattoo became popular in tattoo parlors outside the prison and was renamed “black and gray.” It is believed that the black and gray came from the Chicano or Cholo culture in Los Angeles.
Traditionally, black and gray tattoos are performed without the use of any colorful pigments. The main participant in the birth of a new image in this direction is black.
It is complemented by all its possible shades (from light gray to dark gray), obtained by diluting the tint in distilled water. By the way, do not forget that, despite the apparent simplicity, monochrome drawings are very complicated, because it is so easy to ruin everything by picking the wrong color for the shadow. And only a professional master will be able to make such a gloomy picture fully reveal all its potential, playing up amazing new facets on the human body.
Tattoos made in a black and gray scale look contrasting and very stylish. They will always be of interest to the true connoisseurs of art for whom the color shell is not important, and the deeper meaning hidden in the bizarre game of contrasts is important. Such tattoos are optimal for brave, purposeful and stylish people who are not only indifferent to the pursuit of fashion trends, but also honor the traditions of the past.