Chicano is one of the most recognizable styles in contemporary tattoo art. These works are bright and catchy, although you won’t see a rave of color in them, and the history of the style is rather dramatic, although it has been around for less than a century. Nowadays, female and male Chicano tattoos can be seen quite often far beyond their historical homeland, by the way.
The word “Chicano” is nothing but a distorted “mexicano”. It was used to refer to Latin Americans who settled in the South-West of the USA in the 16th-19th centuries during the Spanish colonization. After the end of the Mexican-American war, the northern part of Mexico was annexed by the United States. As a result, about 50 thousand Hispanic Catholics who used to live within this territory, found themselves in the USA.
At that time their status in “the land of opportunity” didn’t seem to have any prospects. Due to the considerable admixture of Indian and African blood, differences in language and religion, Chicano couldn’t become full-fledged members of the society of white Anglo-Saxon settlers who subjected them to various forms of discrimination. Writer Anna Castillo, one of the Chicanos, described their life in a very laconic and accurate way: “Being a Chicano means being a dark-skinned marginal, treated like a foreigners in their own native country.” Indeed, these people were discriminated, subjected to persecution, they were charged only with the common labor that no one else wanted to do.”
Sometimes the situation with the Chicanos was so severe that they had no choice but to make a living illegally. The first male Chicano tattoos occurred in 1940s among representatives of criminal groups. Some images served as distinctive signs indicating that they belonged to a certain gang, others were had to demonstrate certain qualities and merits of a person to the surrounding people. Another type of Chicano tattoos was mascots. People started to relate to tattoos as to the signs of the underworld and imprisonment.
The meaning of Chicano tattoos depends on the symbols and images that are present in the composition. This direction is so recognizable not only thanks to the technique, but also due to the characteristic plots.
Nowadays, both male and female Chicano tattoos have lost their negative symbolism associated with crime and prison, and have become one of the most popular trends. Once, they used to be inked on the skin with a sewing needle in a basement. Now, there are experienced and talented artists working in this direction in any large city.
You can find a huge variety of sketches of Chicano tattoos for girls and boys on the Internet. You can get inspired by them and think over the idea of your own tattoo. Despite the fact that traditionally only black ink was used in such works, the tattoo art isn’t the kind of art that requires strict adherence to the canons. However, if you use too many colors, the tattoo may lose its zest. A few bright accents are enough to get an extraordinary and bright tattoo.
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