Photos: Chicago's Iconic Flag Tattoos Mean More Than You'd Think
By Rachel Cromidas in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 1, 2016 6:22PM
By Rachel Cromidas and Kate Shepherd
If we had a nickel for every inaccurate tattoo we've seen, we'd own the Trump Tower. And if we had a nickel for every variation on the Chicago flag tattoo we've seen, we figure we'd at least have a condo there.
One local tattoo artist is taking a stand against inaccurate flag tattoos. Nick Colella, the owner Great Lakes Tattoo, not only strives to make accurate flag tattoos, but he wants his customers to know the history and symbolism behind the icon they're putting on their bodies. He's even started selling a very cool and informative "know your flag" print that breaks down the basics from the Chicago Fire to Fort Dearborn:
via Great Lakes Tattoo
Colella is a native Chicagoan who has been tattooing people for over two decades. He says the Chicago flag has always been something he's strongly identified with, and it's a common request in his tattoo shop.
"I always saw the flag either on letterhead or on city uniforms when we where kids we had Chicago flag patches sewn on our jackets," he told Chicagoist. "When I started tattooing the flag would always come up as a request for a tattoo."
But he was surprised how many people who wanted flag tattoos didn't really understand what it represented.
"I would just do the flag and think nothing of it. What I realized though was that a lot of the people who got the flag didn't even know what all the symbolism in it stood for, he said. "Even more people would get the flag without even being from the city. I would get all kinds of stories from people anything from one of the stars stood for the last time the Cubs won the World Series to another of the stars stood for the Sears tower."
The print that's now for sale in his shop is derived from a painting he created ten years ago to break down what each star and stripe on the flag represents. He said the print has caught the eye of tourists and "die-hard" fans of Chicago alike.
"It's just a cool reminder of [how], no matter how much crap is going on in this city with its shady politics and school closings and budget cuts and violence, that it has a very rich and deep history that people can identify with and be proud of," Colella said.
We won't argue with that.
Do you have a Chicago tattoo (of the flag, or something else) you want to show off for us? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include it in our next gallery of Chicago pride tattoos.