Chicano-style tattoos have a powerful heritage. That is why this type of tattoo is especially important. Tattoo artists are extremely interested in the prison culture Chicano tattoos. Tattoo artists have been intrigued by the Chicano prison-style tattoos for many years. There are many ways that this tattoo can appear. This could include anything from lettering to beautiful women and gang life.
What is a Chicano Style Tattoo?
When you think of a Chicano tattoo, you likely think of Virgin Mary. This is a common tattoo associated with Chicano tattoos. However, this tattoo has much more meaning than just the Virgin Mary. This type of tattoo was known for using black and white or grey-scale shading.
The tattoo originated from pen and pencil drawings. That is why these tattoos are well-designed and detailed. Plus, the details of the art with the cultural background make it a one-of-a-kind piece. There are many artists out there who are known worldwide for their Chicano tattoos.
Many people have utilized the Pachuco cross as a Chicano tattoo. They will put three dots above this cross. You will learn in the next section why these dots are there. The Pachuco cross is religious and represents that the person belongs to the Pachuco gang. Most of these tattoos are done with a single needle and ink. People refer to this as the stick-and-poke method.
Today, artists will focus on political strife, daily life, and family representations. This is far from the styles of before. However, today we know contemporary Chicano tattoos. Remember, in today’s world, we avoid using stick-and-poke tattoos. They do not heal well and are not great tattoos compared to what we have today.
Common Themes of Chicano Tattoos
You will find that there are many different themes and styles of Chicano tattoos. Many of them will have substantial meanings. You will find the following tattoos as Chicano-themed:
- Pit Bulls
- Sacred Hearts
- Sugar Skulls
- Praying Hands
- Virgin Mary
- Iconic People
- Three Dots Above a Cross (This means mi Vida Loca. This translates to my crazy wife.)
These were popular in the late ‘40s and throughout the 1950s. These tattoos are meant to be done with the ride-or-die couples. These tattoos will often be done in prison to remember the lover on the outside.
Can Anyone Have a Chicano Tattoo?
Many people like the style of these tattoos. However, can anyone have a Chicano tattoo? The answer is yes. However, many people still use them as criminal symbols. In rare cases, you could find someone with an entire biography on their skin.
Today, you will find that many people still love this style of tattooing. Today, the most used tattoo images in this genre are the following:
- Jesus Christ
- Virgin Mary
- Saint Mary
- Other Saints
- Bible Quotes
Those who first had these tattoos were an ethnic group. They resided in America from the 16th and 17th centuries. These people were low on the social ladder and worked as hard as they could to make a living. However, they wanted their memory to move on. They did not want their culture to die. That is another reason we have this style of tattoo available to us today.
Before anyone could get these tattoos, mainly those who had a criminal background had them. You would find gang members with tattoos head to toe. Each tattoo that was put on the body in this style meant something to the individual receiving the tattoo. It was either an achievement, grieving for a loved one, or putting their loved ones on their body. Only gang members of certain gangs could utilize this style of tattoo.
Chicano Clown Tattoos
Some Chicano tattoos have clowns in them. Payasas is Spanish for the word clown. These are some of the most well-known tattoos within the Chicano style. Clowns are used to inspire people. Often you will find that they are overly dramatic and sometimes even funny. There are usually two clowns used when a Chicano tattoo is done. This is to show the balance of life. These masks or clowns will be used to depict how the balance of life and happiness occurs.
Clown tattoos in the Chicano-style are to stand for “Smile now, cry later.” Often, you will see these words associated with these types of tattoos.
Taking the time to know the meaning behind a tattoo can open your mind. You may find out things you never knew before. You may also find out what each tattoo meant when the design originated. Today you will find many artists that are known for their beautiful Chicano-style tattoos.