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BEHIND THE INK is a first-of-its-kind film put together by local Charlotte, NC students and creatives with the mission of exploring untold narratives of those who are inked. This documentary was produced and shot entirely by Creating Exposure Through The Arts [a 501c3 non-profit organization] students and instructors. Born out of a student-led photo exhibit launched over a decade ago…BEHIND THE INK emerged. This documentary explores tattoos, and what some may call “artistry and body art.” It covers the “whys” of personal canvases straight from the source, while also capturing the journey of a young lady who receives her first tattoo. There are men and women of all ages, different races, and socioeconomic backgrounds that reveal stories, ideas, joy, and pain behind their ink. From a suicide survivor, former professional athlete, to a tattoo “first-timer,” BEHIND THE INK gets up close and personal with individuals whose body art ranges from playful motifs to deep memorials for lost loved ones — all with a distinct purpose and meaning. “The impact of having students work on a documentary and have their work showcased in galleries before, during and after the documentary is completed…is an extreme accomplishment,” said Mark Pendergrass, CEA founder and executive director of BEHIND THE INK. “There are artists who’ve been in their fields for years that have never been involved in filmmaking, a documentary or have had their work showcased in a gallery.
Eugenia Foxworth sits down with, Mark Pendergrass, CEA founder and executive director, was leading class that day. “We all made it a teachable moment,” he said. This was an opportunity to put CEA’s mission — to educate and mentor youth by providing opportunities of exposure to artistic expression — into action. Pendergrass started the organization with an emphasis on photography, but it has evolved over time to include other art forms. “We’ve tapped into teaching journalism,” he said. “There’s a writing component now. And we recently got into videography and filmmaking.” Mark is extremely proud of the new documentary and coffee table book, Behind The Ink, which is also a program which was developed to educate, teach and give students. an outlet to express themselves. “Behind the Ink” features stories of people across the Carolinas. Former NBA player and Charlotte native Anthony Morrow guides viewers through the film. The documentary highlights Fedelina Heredia, a woman from the Dominican Republic on her journey to her first tattoo. She shares the negative connotation tattoos have in her native country, but now can get one in the United States. Morrow takes her to tattoo artist Crystana “Dutchess” Lattimore, who owns Pretty-N-Ink, attended North Carolina A&T State University and was a cast member on VH1’s “Black Ink Crew.” Lattimore is another familiar face in the “Inked” series.