Coolest Places to Get Inked in Chi-TownBy Evan Benner
Family Tattoo (Photo: Ten Photos)
Finding a good tattoo artist is almost harder than finding love. There’s no dating when it comes to your ink — tattoos are a commitment from the start. Luckily, Chicago has a concentration of fantastic tattoo artists with incredible style. If the Windy City has inspired you to get inked, you’re almost guaranteed to meet your tattoo match at one of these three Chicago tattoo shops.
Speaking to Your Style
Larger Chicago tattoo studios like Speakeasy Tattoos in Wicker Park bring together a diverse selection of artists, each with a distinct and mastered style.
Speakeasy founder Patrick Cornolo’s 20 years of experience shows in his large, colorful and illustrative pieces. For a Japanese style tattoo, you would do well to meet SoloKill. She brings extensive experience in Japanese line art drawing to customers’ tattoo ideas of all types.
Speakeasy artist Tine Defiore commands a geometric style with strong technique in pointillism. There are many more artists at Speakeasy, all ready to work with you on the tattoo of your dreams.
Once you find an artist with the style that’s right, reach out to them directly to discuss original artwork and to schedule your session in advance.
Designed to Stand Out
If you’ve had a tattoo in mind for a while but no way to show it, Family Tattoo has a reputation for working closely to understand your vision and bring it to life. Colorful contrast is an element of Family Tattoo artists’ work that makes them stand out. Tattoo artist Rich Marafioti brings a decade of experience to transforming customers visions and keeps close ties to the music scene.
Even WWE Superstar and Chicago-area native CM Punk made Family Tattoo his studio of choice for some fresh ink in 2011.
History Stands Proud
As Chicago’s oldest tattoo studio, The Chicago Tattooing & Piercing Company’s longstanding history and contributions to tattooing in Chicago are undeniable.
Chicago Tattoo was the only shop to hold their ground after Illinois raised the tattoo age to 21 in the 1960s, and they were instrumental in changing the legal age back to 18 years later. In the time between, the studio set new standards for cleanliness in practice — from improving sterilization to using single-service inks.
Chicago tattoo artist Dale Grande began tattooing there under the original owner Cliff Raven over 40 years ago, before becoming the owner himself in the late 70s.
Although many artists have worked at Grande’s studio, only tattoo artist David McNair has been with the shop for almost 30 years.
Together, along with many other artists, Grande and McNair continue to build on the studio’s contributions to the rich history of Chicago tattooing.