Permanent Marks: Exploring Chicago’s Tattoo Culture

The  everywhere in Chicago. From the permanent marks of famous musicians and athletes, to millennial with ink on their arms and hands, to everyday people wearing their stories on their skin. It’s become so commonplace that it’s hard to believe it was once seen as something only reserved for criminals or those living on the fringes of society. But today, tattoos are no longer an act of rebellion – they’re a form of self-expression

Tattoo culture has experienced a resurgence in recent years, and Chicago is at the center of it all. This is your guide to exploring Chicago’s unique tattoo culture: from the impact that underground tattoo artists have had on the city industry, to the most popular styles seen around town. So lets dive into Chicagos vibrant tattoo culture and learn more about this fascinating art form.

Trends in Chicago Tattoo Art

Chicago has long been a hub of art and culture, and tattoos are no exception. From classical designs to modernist creations, Chicago’s tattoo scene is as diverse as the city itself.

Today’s tattoos often reflect current trends in art and design, as well as the personal tastes of individual customers. Popular motifs include bold abstract shapes, nature-inspired illustrations, and intricate geometric patterns. Many artists specialize in particular types of bodywork, such as black-and-gray realism, watercolor tattoos, or Japanese-style designs. No matter what kind of artwork you desire, there is a local artist who can create something unique and special for you.

In addition to traditional tattooing methods, some Chicago artists specialize in cutting-edge techniques like microblading or permanent makeup. This is becoming increasingly popular among those who want to enhance their natural facial features or hide scars and blemishes without committing to a more permanent tattoo.

The ever-evolving Chicago tattoo scene continues to surprise us with its exciting innovations and creative designs. With so many talented artists in the city each with their own unique style there is truly something for everyone here.

Types of Tattoo Styles & Designs Available in Chicago

If you take a stroll through the streets of Chicago, it won’t take long to spot some creative tattoos proudly displayed on many people’s bodies. In today age, tattooing has become an art form and there are endless possibilities of designs you can get inlaid onto your skin in Chicago.

Here are some popular types of tattoo designs available in the city:

  • Traditional – These designs typically feature bold outlines filled with bright colors and little to no shading. Popular symbols include animals, hearts, and skulls.
  • New School – This style combines caricatures and animation for a cartoon-like look that often features bright colors and bold lines. It is a more modern approach to traditional tattoo designs.
  • Realism – Realism tattoos are intended to look as lifelike as possible, usually featuring highly detailed portraits with shadows and other realistic techniques that bring out the contours of the human body.
  • Stick and Poke – Stick and Poke tattoos are achieved by repeatedly stabbing ink into the skin with a needle instead of using an electric machine. This results in a more subtle design since less ink is used compared to other styles.

Aftercare Advice for Newly-Tatted Skin

If you’re thinking of getting some permanent ink, you probably already know the basics find a reputable artist, don’t rush in, and be aware that tattoos are costly and painful.

But do you also know what to do after the needles stop buzzing? Good aftercare is just as important in making sure your tat looks great and lasts as long as possible.

Keep It Clean

Whatever you do, don’t neglect your newly-tatted skin. Treat your new ink with tender loving care: wrap it up with a clean bandage for a few hours no more than two and gently remove the bandage, then rinse it in lukewarm water for about five minutes. Pat it dry with a clean towel, then keep applying an ointment prescribed by your artist to keep the skin hydrated and free of bacteria.

Stay Outta The Sun

The sun’s heat can cause all kinds of damage to your newly-tatted skin from fading the colors too quickly to drying out the skin. Make sure to slather on plenty of sunscreen of SPF 50 or higher before heading outside and if you’ll be at the beach or pool, wear protective clothing like hats and rash guards. Not only will this protect you from sun damage; it’ll also help block sand, salt water and chlorine that could also harm your tattoo.

Dont Pick At It!

Whatever you do, don’t scratch or pick at scabs that may form on your tattoo! That could just pull off chunks of color or create scarring on the surrounding skin and that’s definitely not a good look! Let them heal on their own and if they


Tattoos are a powerful way to express yourself and to connect with a larger community. Whether you re looking for a one-off piece or are interesting in collecting a full sleeve, there is a wide range of incredible artists in Chicago who can help you create the perfect piece.

Not only are tattoos a form of self-expression, but often times they represent experiences and events that have shaped our lives. Its no surprise that the tattoo culture in Chicago is thriving. From small parlors to larger shops, artistry of every style can be find all over the city. Whether you’re looking for a traditional tattoo, an intricate fine-line piece, or something 3-D, you can find a perfect fit in Chicago vibrant tattoo community.

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