Chicano tattoo style

Chicano tattoos are a very influential style, popular in the United States, especially California. The word Chicano is a chosen identity of certain Mexcian Americans.


Usually black and grey in colour, with detailed lines, and soft shading, Chicano style was made famous by Mexican gangs in prison.


History of Chicano Tattoos


The Chicano style tattoos first showed up in the Pachuco gang in the 1940’s, mostly consisting of the Pachuco cross tattoo between the thumb and index finger. Portraits of religious icons or loved ones were also a common tattoo for Chicanos, but it wasn’t until the sixties until the Chicano style became popular outside the prisons.


The most easily obtainable ink in prison was black, so black and grey tattoos became popular in this style. It was during the next couple of decades that the style was developed and refined on the streets of LA.


Today Chicano tattoos are popular all over the world, and if done right, can look absolutely stunning.


Chicano Symbolism


Chicano tattoos are very meaningful and represent many different aspects of life, especially family, culture, and memories.


Usually incorporating realistic portraits, family, lost loved ones, girls, cars, low riders, clowns, guns, masks, celebrities and people from Spanish history.


Religion is also a large part of the Chicano style, with photo-realistic images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, crosses and praying hands all common.


The Eagle is also very common in Chicano tattoos, appearing not only on the Mexican flag, but as a symbol in Aztec culture.


Perhaps the most recognisable influence of Chicano style is the Mexican “Day of the Dead”. La Dia de los Muertos is a traditional time in Mexico to honour and remember those who have passed, and many tattoos around the world are now based on this event.