The Rise of the Working-Class Tattoos

The Rise of the Working-Class Tattoos

Here's one for all you blue-collar full-timers out there.

We decided to show off some of our blue-collar pride through our favorite medium — the traditionally proletariat art form of tattoos. So pour yourself a cup of ambition and get ready to go to work with these pieces of body art that honor all the hard workers of the world. We grind with you. 

The history of tattoos has deep working-class roots of its own. Though body art has always been a luxury that many people can't simply afford, the individuals who have taken tattooing as a career are skilled laborers. Many of them also come from staunchly blue-collar backgrounds. Some of the most famous tattooists in history, such as Sailor Jerry and Maud Wagner, had hard-knock childhoods, and made it by bootstrapping themselves into the industry. To put it simply, pretty much every tattooist out there, with the exception of a select privileged or famous few, has to hustle to make a good living. It is, in addition, as much of an artisan practice as it is an art form. Tattooing even has a traditional apprenticeship system similar to how worker's guilds hand down knowledge from masters to journeymen in their respective crafts. 

Though we've seen tattoo tributes to blue-collar existence in everything from photorealism to cubism, the ones done in the traditional American style seem most fitting given the subject matter's historical relationship with the art form in the US. As people who often feel worked to death ourselves, we particularly appreciate the popular cap-wearing skull motif. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, boys.

Construction Workers via instagram mattjordantattoo #blackandgrey #realism #constructionworkers #1910s #realism #portrait #mattjordan

If you want to see more tattoos by any of the artists who made these awesome working-class themed pieces, please pay your union dues by visiting their Instagrams. Furthermore, if you want to show off how proud you are to come from a blue-collar upbringing, consider hitting up one of these hard-working folks to tattoo you. 

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