While full of powerful eye-catching and inspiring imagery, the Chicano tattoo style is one that is heavy with culture, history, and political connotations. Every design concept is full of meaning, each piece has a background story that is close to the heart of Chicanx culture. It's artwork such as this that has the most influence and potential to illustrate and preserve heritage. While it is definitely a West Coast staple, this particular aesthetic has made its way around the globe to capture the sacred hearts of millions.
Usually found in beautiful tones of black and grey Chicano tattoo style has mostly been influenced by the past Los Angeles history of those that spent time behind bars. Although it isn't the most uplifting background, Chicano artists in prison used their time to express themselves through whatever means and materials they had available. Putting together tattoo machines with guitar strings, and inking their skin with the ballpoint pen ink, they illustrated scenes from their lives. From Lowriders to babes with hoop earrings and lips lined in black and even beautifully detailed portraits of the Virgin Mary, the iconography is steeped in cultural history and meaning.
Whether or not you understand all of the significance behind Chicano tattoo designs, it's easy to be enthralled by the artwork itself. Lush roses, praying hands, the allure of a pretty girl with shining tears...all of this and more is something that immediately resonates with most people. It's simply beautiful, and expressive.
If you haven't been to Los Angeles yet, we suggest that you take a look at this collection of awesome pieces and start planning your trip. We may not be able to book your flight, but we can definitely book an appointment with a tattoo artist who knows this style through and through. What's a better way to remember a vacation anyway? Knick knacks don't last forever, but tattoos definitely do.
If you want to know more about the roots, cultural references and artists of Chicano Tattoos, be sure to check out our guide right here.