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Author: admin | Category: Tattooing | 19.03.2014

Nothing symbolizes gang members' commitment to their gangs more forcefully than the gang tattoo. It was difficult to find a succinct list of the best tattoo shops in Chicago, other than user generated groups and a few forums, so we decided to create our own. While professional tattooing was first introduced to the United States in New York, Chicago was only a few years behind. Need an artist or shop recommendation?Give us a description of the tattoo you're looking for and we'll try to match you up with a great local artist or shop! 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.


These symbols proclaim the individual's allegiance to the group in a way that is both permanent and deeply personal - being written on the body itself.  Tattoos have long been a means of identifying oneself with a group or culture.
The city owns a storied past filled with influences, cultures, and personalities that have produced some of the most notable tattooing in the United States, specifically with regard to traditional tattooing.
Chicago was a late bloomer and while many of the major cities in the US were thriving, Chicago was still a wilderness. 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. Gangs were one of the first groups to use tattoos as a means of denoting identity and affinity, but groups as diverse as the military, sports teams, and even the popular Rappers and band members have used matching tattoos as a visible sign of the members' bond with one another. 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. But while society has often imposed tattoos in order to identify the tattooed as criminals, many people have also embraced these stigmatizing marks.


Many famous tattoo artists set up their studios on State Street “that great street” and today Chicago is still known for having some of the most famous tattoo parlours in the United States. 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.
If you’ve had bad experiences getting tattoos or you’re not fond of what you currently have, you have options. A few symbols, like a teardrop under one eye to represent either a murder or the death of a loved one, cross gang boundaries. Gang members in particular take pride in branding themselves as outside of the boundaries of conventional society.
There are laser removal businesses and you can even get a cover-up from your tattoo artist.
But for the most part, the gang-related ink represents specific beliefs or gang affiliations. The point is, Chicago is home to some of brightest and best minds when it comes to tattoo art. If you’re looking for the perfect piece of body art, you can’t go wrong when you’re in the Windy City.




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