We all express ourselves in various ways, the music we listen to, clothes we wear, piercings, and, of course, tattoos.
College is the time in a young adult’s life where they decide to book an appointment at a tattoo parlor or have their friend give them a hand-poked tattoo in a living room apartment.
DePaul’s campus is a stop away from the Belmont stop where one of the oldest tattoo studios in Chicago and Illinois resides: Chicago Tattoo and Piercing Company.
Originally called Cliff Raven Tattooing, the studio has been around since the mid-1960s and changed its name back in 1973 to Chicago Tattoo when owner Dale Grande took over.
Paving the way for cleaner and safer tattooing protocols and, in part, responsible for helping lower the tattooing age to 18 by starting an online petition as well as sending letters to all Illinois House members, the city’s tattoo scene would not be what it is today without Chicago Tattoo and Piercing Company.
Every tattoo artist has a unique inking style such as geometric, lettering, illustrative, minimalism along with others. There are small, home-run tattoo businesses, which tend to be cheaper, and there are endless options for traditional tattoo studios.
“The way we evaluate pricing is mostly by the size of the tattoo and detail within that size along with the placement for the design,” Grande said. “For instance, the price of a four-by-four tattoo is very simple inside, say, a black square versus the same size tattoo with a lot of detail within.”
Chicago Tattoo and Piercing has a minimum of $100 plus a $150 hourly rate.
This is common for most tattoo studios, though this may be expensive for college students on a budget.
Emma Anderson, a senior at DePaul who runs a small stick and poke business, offers affordable prices for the typical college student budget.
“I do pricing based on the time it takes me to do the tattoo,” Anderson said. “The average tattoo takes around an hour. I will usually charge $25 to $30. Smaller, quick tattoos like little symbols or words take much less time, so I charge less for that. I don’t mind working with someone’s budget either.”
No matter where you choose to get a tattoo, it is a unique form of self-expression and art.
Tattoos are a permanent reminder of a particular time in life or an experience that you shouldn’t forget. Not only that, but they are a beautiful form of art.
“The designs that people want vary from mild to wild. We get a lot of ideas from clients that they found online,” Grande said. “[Designs] may be tattooed on a rock star or a ballplayer or actor, and they want the same design.”
Everyone gets a tattoo for a different reason, ranging from a dedication to someone or a representation of themselves, but they all last forever, giving them masses of meaning.
“We also do a lot of lettering,” Grande said. “Quite a lot of clients want phrases or quotes that they have seen or read that relate to their own feelings. It is such a broad spectrum of ideas …….