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This Guy Shows His Love For Chicago With A CTA Map Tattoo

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 9, 2016 4:40PM

The tattoo (photo courtesy of Cole Scott)

Since we posted our gallery of Chicago flag tattoos, readers have emailed us a lot of photos of their locally-themed ink. Here’s one of our favorite shots so far: Cole Scott’s forearm tattoo that maps Chicago’s CTA lines.

Scott, a 26-year-old writer and bartender at Lakeview’s Clark St. Karaoke, got the tattoo about six years ago.

He can't pinpoint what exactly inspired the design, but he did say, "I rode the CTA a lot… It was something I loved and hated equally."

Mostly, he just wanted a tattoo that honored the city. “When I was growing up, Chicago was always a really sparkly special city that I just had to get to, you know? When I finally got there it was so much better than I ever expected... I wanted to pay tribute that."

He got the tattoo at Wicker Park’s Tatu Tatoo, from an artist named Jerome. "It felt like [it took] 20 minutes," Scott said. "This man was unbelievable."

The tattoo is fading a bit with age now, and Jerome has since relocated to Minneapolis’ Steady Tattoo—but Scott loved Jerome’s quick, precise work so much that he plans to travel to Minneapolis for a touchup.

"He did such a clean crisp job on the detail in the Loop... I just won't have anyone else touch up."

So far, the comment Scott has gotten on his tattoo most often, he said, is “Oh, so you never get lost!” He likes to joke that since there are no stops on his tattoo, and no directional value, it doesn’t always help in times of crisis—though, he adds, “it’s a really great referencing tool” when he’s giving people directions.

Having the tattoo for decades to come is definitely something Scott looks forward to. “One day I’ll be able to look back, after they’ve added a million other colored lines, and say that the Chicago I have tattooed on my arm is vintage,” he said.

You can email us about your Chicago pride tattoos at