Arms and ammunition mark the world of gangsters so their body art too reflects their lifestyle. If you like this article, you might be interested in some of our other articles on Hispanic Tattoos, Outlaw Tattoos, Gang Tattoos and Prison Tattoos.
Check out this seasoned gangster’s upper body covered with intricate patterns and skull motifs. This tattoo showing a man handling a heavy gun is just right for the upper arm of a gangster.
Dressed to shoot, says this remarkable piece of body art showing a man with his mouth covered with a red scarf and dressed in a top hat. This elaborate single color tattoo of a man holding a pair of pistols is ideal for a gangster’s forearm.
A mass of ferocious faces, a skull, and a clock show off the violent intent of this gangster. His arm covered with a tattoo of a vintage car and casino slots this gangster shows off his love for everything vintage. A pack of cards and the face of a skull showcase the death and fortune theme on the upper arm of this gangster.
Inked in green, bright blue and touches of red this colorful tattoo highlights the masked murder theme. Delicately inked with shades and touches of peach this is a cool retro theme gangster tattoo design.
Styled in hard angular lines this skull shaped tattoo with the mouth open and cool goggles is a fantastic gangster tattoo. This powerful tattoo showing a huge dog holding two guns is a perfect piece of sleeve art for a gangster.
A tattoo showing a featureless face holding two guns highlights the violent lifestyle of a gangster. This gangster gets playful with an arm tattoo showing a skull clad in an official suit surrounded by roses.
Strong shades of green mark the face of this skull tattoo with its head covered with a violent red bandana.

The popular cartoon character Hobbes holds a guns in this colorful comic theme gangster tattoo.
The huge white spaces, distorted lines, and black eye hollows really add to the evil look of this skull tattoo. This is a patterned tattoo in pale blue and red with a six pointed star holding a deep meaning. AboutA popular Graphic and Web Design site where you can expect to see a unique take on topics, we try not to tread on familiar topics seen on other design sites. A few generations ago, most tattoos were viewed as potential gang tattoos – whether or not they were actually gang related. In other words, though most people didn't have the skill to identify symbols, it was more or less taken for granted that tattoos were connected to a criminal underworld. A lot of gang members have one or more teardrop tattoos under their eyes, especially if they've spend time in jail. For the average person, it is unlikely that you will encounter gang tattoos at a close enough range to try and identify them. Japanese gang tattoos (which usually identify members of the Yakuza, or Japanese mafia) take the form of simple black rings around the arm – one ring for each major crime a gang member has committed. Usually though, tattoos of Yakuza members are very elaborate and detailed, going from sleeve to full body tattoos.
Hispanic and Mexican gang tattoos vary a lot, because they relate to the numerous specific gangs. Most gang and prison tattoos have fuzzy, unsteady lines compared to those of professional tattoos. Gangsta tattoos are getting mainstream nowadays, because they are idealized and popularized by rappers. Gangster Tattoos are used not only as style statements but also as marks of belonging to a particular gang. Along with tutorials and articles, we also do round ups, how-to guides, tips, tricks and cheats on all of the hot topics in the design world.
That’s because tattooing was relatively uncommon among the mainstream public, and having a tattoo almost automatically meant that you had some sort of criminal association.

The similarity with tribal tattooing is quite strong – there, too, tribe members got additional tattoos in recognition of deeds they had done. Just like gang tattoos, they form a secret language that pictures all kinds of information about the wearer, such as hierarchy, commited crimes, etc. When gang or ghetto tattoos are taken out of their context (the gang) they are not the real thing anymore. Many gangsters get inked all over the front of their bodies while some choose to cover only the sleeve arm. Some gangsters choose to stick to a single color with many subtle shade variations adding to a realistic look. There are still tattoo designs that are specific to the different ethnic gangs that operate in the major cities. They indicate for example what status a member has in the group or what a prisoner is in for. Alternatively, a small five pointed star can be found on the hand, between the thumb and first finger. The ink used in Russian prisons for example was made with melted shoe soles, mixed with urine and blood. The tattoo designs that gangsters choose the range from patterns with pistols and shootouts, to themes of death with skull faces. You can see the skull motif repeated in many interesting variations in many Gangster Tattoos.
Gang and prison tattoos have more in common with traditional tribal tattoos than they do with modern decorative body art: they are designed to mark an individual as a member of a group, as well as being an indication of status. From colorful to single colored, bizarre to interesting, the body art that gangsters choose for themselves play with many themes.

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