Second chances can be hard to come by, but Chris Baker, 42, a tattoo artist in Oswego, Ill., gives them away for free.
Since 2011, Baker, who's also a youth pastor, has created more than 500 free tattoos for former gang members and victims of human trafficking eager to remove or cover up the visible evidence of their past. Baker founded INK 180, a nonprofit organization that he funds with money he earns from his regular tattooing business, and through donations. Baker has worked with former members of the Latin Kings, Black Disciples and Aryan Nation, explaining that the tattoos are like a rite of passage for initiated gang members.
It was during one of his youth group meetings that Baker realized he wanted to help these people, whose efforts to change and progress were often halted by the markings of their past. Once a warehouse manager, Baker said that many of his employees had belonged to gangs, and they often compared their tattoos to Baker's religious ones.
For two years, Baker has worked with local, state and federal authorities to offer his services to former gang members who had difficulty finding jobs, or who were living in secrecy from gangs they'd left. A member of his church who works with the Department of Homeland Security brought Baker's attention to victims of human trafficking - pointing out that by covering up or removing their tattoos, Baker could make it much harder for their captors find them.
The gang members who come on their own, or the women who have escaped sex trafficking rings and arrive with law enforcement protection, open up to Baker as he listens to them describe what they've done and what they want to do. The Oswego village board recently approved Baker's special use permit, and in a few weeks, he will have a more permanent home for INK 180, after previously renting spaces.
All that changed about twenty years ago when tattooing became more socially acceptable, largely due to the many celebrities who publicly sported tattoos. Feminine ink is no longer shocking, and we no longer jump to conclusions about a woman’s moral character based on whether or not she has a few tattoos!
That doesn't mean that there are no women with large tattoos, but usually feminine tattoos are more likely to be isolated in one or two areas of the body – as accent pieces, so to speak. Women’s tattoo designs are also less heavy, less aggressive looking compared to men's tattoos. Tribal lower back tattoos: these were very trendy at the beginning of this century, but were usually not very inspired or original. Flower tattoos: flowers have a natural beauty and are very feminine, it's not hard to understand why they are usually considered a girly tattoo design.


Heart tattoos: hearts are the symbol of love and romance and have been a popular design for tattoos since the early days. Dragonfly tattoos: most women are not very fond of insects, but that's not the case with dragonflies, which are very well-liked as a tattoo design. Swallow tattoos: these are typical old-school Sailor Jerry type of designs and became trendy again thanks to the renewed interest in all things retro.
Zodiac tattoos: if you believe in astrology, having your zodiac sign tattooed is a good option. Text tattoos: tattoos of quotes, verses or phrases from the Bible are a popular choice for women. The inside of the wrist: this is a good place for a tattoo, it can easily be covered up by wearing a watch or a bracelet.
Back of the neck: very nice spot to have a tattoo in my opinion and one of the less painful places. The side: a tattoo on the side of the body is very popular and usually of the floral or swirly kind. I personally think it's a good idea to have a tattoo on a place that you can cover up, especially when your work environment is kind of conservative.
Now that you know the most popular feminine tattoos for women, it might be a good idea to deviate from the norm. The female sign is a very powerful symbol and is very cool as a tattoo design (might also be a good tattoo idea for men). Chinese or Japanese symbols are not really original anymore, but there are other exotic scripts that are very suitable for tattoo designs, like Sanskrit, Hebrew or Tibetan. Big city human trafficking networks are often run by gang members, who tattoo their victims with barcodes, pimps' names or gang symbols to track them and make it almost impossible for them to escape.
It's representative of the pain they caused others, and they don't want to cause anymore," Baker said.
It'll be one of the few tattoo shops in the United States with a prayer wall and an information center for other nonprofit ministries in the area. For the first fifty or sixty years after tattooing became commonplace and even mainstream in modern society, few women got tattoos – in fact, those that did were the exception and usually a touch eccentric or rebellious.


They are universal, can be simple and small or combined with other designs, that's why they are so popular as a ladies tattoo. Sometimes they are combined with other design elements, but usually it's just the words, written in a nice font. They are easy to cover up if you want to (by wearing socks) and not so problematic as foot tattoos.
Don't let this put you off though, if you think your lower back is the perfect place for your tattoo, then by all means, go ahead. Keep in mind that tattoos on the feet need more care and don't last as long as tattoos on other places. Keep in mind when choosing a tattoo spot, that some areas of your body will stretch when you get older. Be original in your choice of tattoo and take or make a design that has a special meaning to you. The old school tattoo designs of today are more refined, brighter and have more colors than the originals, thanks to modern tattoo equipment.
Nowadays most people find female tattoos attractive, they certainly aren't offensive anymore. It pays to be more creative than just going to the tattoo parlor to buy a tattoo design from a book. Have a look at the tattoo designs from the Haida tribe for example, they are more colorful than other tribals and you don't see them nearly as much. Catching a glimpse of a lower back tattoo on a woman, you almost get the feeling that you’re seeing something you shouldn't be – very tantalizing!



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