Walk up in the Windy City and Get Tattooed the Way It Used to Be

Walk up in the Windy City and Get Tattooed the Way It Used to Be

Chicago's Great Lakes Tattoo hosts the 2nd Annual Walk Up Classic, where 22 top tattooers get together for a flash day unlike any other.

If we were to jump in a time machine to kidnap Bert Grimm and bring him back to 2017, chances are he would hardly recognize the tattoo industry as it is now. Color realism, tattooers using Photoshop to plan tattoos, long waiting lists — all of these things would be alien to the legendary tattooer. While progress is wonderful, sometimes we need to go back to our roots and kick it old school. 


Line up. Walk in. Pick something off the wall. Get tattooed. That's how it used to be, and for one crazy weekend at Chicago's Great Lakes Tattoo, that's how it's going to be again. Owner Nick Colella has gathered some of the best tattooers in the world to participate in the 2nd Annual Walk Up Classic on March 18th and 19th, where they will be tattooing the way it used to be. No egos, no fuss, just a bunch of tattoos done off of customized flash sheets. 

People eagerly awaiting their turn during last year's event. (Via IG - greatlakestattoo) #greatlakestattoo #gltwalkupwalkin

"I feel that present-day tattooing and standardized tattoo conventions have gotten so far away from what they first were about," Colella says. "It used to be a bunch of likeminded people hanging out and doing tattoos on customers from all over the world. Now, the modern conventions are too packed and full of distractions and that has shifted their focus; the actual tattoos are secondary. I wanted to put together a mini-convention with amazing artists that would celebrate the one thing that got all of us where we are."


The team that Colella has put together for the weekend is simply remarkable The list of just some of the tattooers making the trek to Chicago includes Mike Rubendall (you heard that correctly), Brad Fink, Angelo Miller, Scott Sylivia, Jennifer Lawes, Dan Smith, and Marina Inoue. Of course, the entire crew from Great Lakes Tattoo — including Colella and Mario Desa — will be doing what they do best. 


To get you excited for the event we put together this gallery featuring some of the phenomenal artists that will be cranking out flash all weekend long. 

The 2nd Annual Walk Up Classic will be taking place March 17th - 19th at Great Lakes Tattoo (1148 W. Grand Ave.) in Chicago. All of the flash sheets will be unveiled at the kick off party Friday night, and then the tattooing bonanza will take place Saturday and Sunday between 11am - 7pm. Make sure to show up early so you don't miss out. 


Bummed that you can't make it out to Chicago for the event? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Tattoodo will be on the scene documenting the whole event here on the site, Instagram, and Facebook Live. 

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