Chicano tattoo

72 Outstanding Chicano Style Tattoo Ideas To Rock In 2023

The Chicano style tattoo has emerged as a tattoo that has gained popularity for its peculiar styles and its ties to Mexican heritage. The term Chicano has originated from Chicano culture. This is a term that is defined as people of Mexican origin living in the USA.

Thanks to this cultural significance, the Chicano tattoo has become a popular tattoo among tattoo enthusiasts of Mexican descent living in the US. This tattoo has become a great way to express Mexican identity, creativity, and culture.

The Chicano tattoo is also sort of a resistance symbol among tattoo enthusiasts against the discrimination against Mexicans. So the tattoo is not only popular in the US, but also has gained some recognition worldwide for its unique art style.

So, you’d find a ton of Chicano-style tattoos on the internet if you go looking. But many of them are pretty common. So, to help you choose your unique Chicano tattoo, we have gathered a number of Chicano tattoos that we think you’ll love.

So, let’s cut to the chase. Shall we?

Chicano Tattoo: Meaning And Significance

Chicano Tattoo Meaning


As we’ve said, the Chicano tattoo is seen as a sort of resistance culture. The history of this tattoo goes back to the 1950s. People of Mexican descent in the USA were facing racial discrimination and were oppressed by white Americans.

This originated the Chicano community and inspired the Chicano tattoo. So, the Chicano tattoo represents resistance to oppression and discrimination. And as the Chicano tattoo was inspired by the Chicano community, this tattoo also represents a search for Identity and self-expression.

The tattoo also incorporates elements from the Aztec and Mayan cultures and religious symbols. So the tattoo also signifies spirituality and heritage.

But at the end of the day, as tattoos are personal artifacts, tattoo enthusiasts always assign personal meanings to the tattoo. Tattoo enthusiasts also do the tattoo for its peculiar but unique aesthetics.

Beyond The Ink: Unknown Facts About The Chicano Tattoo

Unknown Facts About The Chicano Tattoo


The term Chicano was originally used as derogatory slang to refer to Mexican Americans. But the Mexican Americans reclaimed the title and weaved it into their identity. They used the term with a sense of pride and self-expression. They also used the term as a resistance to American oppression and discrimination to them.

The tattoos later expanded to different meanings and were associated with Mexican gangs. So Chicano tattoos are also done as a symbol of Mexican gangs with specific branding and symbols of the gang.

Another interesting fact is that Chicano tattoo artists played a very crucial role in the Tattoo industry in the USA. They were the pioneers of new techniques and designs in tattoo design that helped shape the industry.

Finally, Chicano tattoos are not only popular among Mexican American youths but have also become popular around the world. Due to the symbolic meaning of the tattoo, many tattoo enthusiasts from around the world have adopted the tattoo as a symbol of resistance to global oppression and discrimination.

 Chicano Tattoo Designs To Express Your Identity

Chicano Tattoo Designs


Chicano tattoos have become a symbol of national identity, spirituality, and cultural heritage. Thanks to the rich history, the tattoo has become a popular tattoo among Mexican youths. Not only that, but the tattoo has also reached a global audience and has a global symbol against oppression and discrimination.

All of these factors come together to make the tattoo a highly sought-after one. So you’ll have a hard time figuring out a tattoo design that is unique to you. To help you with this journey, we have covered some of the most beautiful Chicano tattoo designs.

So, you can rest assured and choose a tattoo from this list, or create your own by mixing and matching.

Gangster Chicano Tattoo

Gangster Chicano Tattoo 1


Gangster Chicano Tattoo 2


Gangster Chicano Tattoo 3


Gangster Chicano Tattoo 4


Gangster Chicano tattoos stay true to the tattoo’s connection to Mexican gangs in the 1960s. As this tattoo has a legit connection to Mexican gangs, the Chicano tattoo has often been done by gangsters and prison inmates.

This tattoo can feature a multitude of elements. The tattoo often features a human face with skull features in typical Chicano style. The tattoo can also feature guns, knives, skulls, and dollar bills.

Often the tattoo is done by prominent members of a gang family. But as this tattoo is recognized globally, the gangster style of the tattoo is also adopted by general tattoo enthusiasts. But make sure to be mindful before doing this tattoo and make sure that the tattoo you are doing is not a significant sign of any particular gangster family.

This tattoo can be done in many shapes and sizes. The tattoo is mostly done in black and gray to keep the prison aesthetic. But you can incorporate some colors into the tattoo if you want. The most popular placement for the tattoo would be on the arm and shoulders, or a complete sleeve tattoo.

Chicano Tattoo Lettering

Chicano Tattoo Lettering 1


Chicano Tattoo Lettering 2


If you are thinking of getting a Chicano tattoo in general, the lettering style tattoo might be a great option for you. This tattoo features a word or sentence done in Chicano lettering. This lettering style consists of bold block letters.

The lettering tattoo often features traditional Mexican lettering and calligraphy styles with some flourishing and sharp edges. The tattoo is used to write names, dates, and even quotes from people that are close to you.

This tattoo can be massively customized with other elements. You can add Chicano elements like traditional roses, skulls, and money around the lettering. Or you can add floral patterns and other gothic elements to give the tattoo some pop factor. You can get this tattoo done on the forearm or leg for maximum visibility.

Chicano Hand Tattoo

Chicano Hand Tattoo 1


Chicano Hand Tattoo 2


The Chicano hand tattoo has also become a very popular tattoo among enthusiasts. Although Chicano hand tattoos have become popular due to prison culture, it has been adopted by mainstream tattoo enthusiasts.

This tattoo often features elements from the Chicano gangs and families. You will see images of guns and money frequently in this tattoo. You can also have religious elements in the tattoo including Jesus, Mother Mary, and crosses in this tattoo too.

The Chicano hand tattoo is a great way to show boldness and power. This is because the hand tattoo is very painful and requires finesse on the tattoo artist’s part. So before you want to get a hand tattoo, make sure to look at our pain chart for tattoos and make sure the tattoo you want does not have any gang implications.

Chicano Neck Tattoo

Chicano Neck Tattoo 1

Chicano Neck Tattoo 2


The neck is another bold position for the Chicano tattoo. You can get any Chicano elements on the neck. But the most popular elements done on the neck are women with skull faces. This tattoo can also feature religious elements like Jesus, Mother Mary, and even Aztec or Mexican runes.

The neck tattoo represents resilience and strength as the neck is one of the most vulnerable areas on the body. Doing a neck tattoo is also very painful. So you should consider other options if you are a first-timer in the tattoo industry.

Again, the neck tattoo is one of the most visible tattoos done on the body. So, you should consider the personal and professional consequences of doing a neck tattoo in the Chicano style.

Chicano Sleeve Tattoo

Chicano Sleeve Tattoo 1


Chicano Sleeve Tattoo 2


Chicano Sleeve Tattoo 3


The sleeve tattoo is another great option for doing the Chicano style. This tattoo features a full sleeve of tattoos done in the Mexican style. This tattoo can feature elements such as a masked man, women with skull features, guns, and money.

As the sleeve tattoo is done on such a big canvas, you can customize the tattoo however many elements you want. You can add texts, portraits, or symbols to the tattoo. You also can get the tattoo done in different colors. But this tattoo is most popularly done in black and white.

Chicano Chest Tattoo

Chicano Chest Tattoo 1


Chicano Chest Tattoo 2


Over time the chest tattoo has become a popular placement for the Chicano tattoo. This tattoo typically features a full image of women with skull features, masked men, and guns. You can either get the tattoo on the entire chest or only on one side of the chest.

This tattoo represents courage, and strength as you are doing the tattoo on one of the biggest canvases on the body. It can also represent a way to honor the deep cultural and historical heritage of Chicano culture.

The tattoo is very customizable with multiple elements, and colors. But in most cases, the tattoo features a black-and-white aesthetic while keeping the same theme throughout the chest.

Chicano Back Tattoo

Chicano Back Tattoo 1


Chicano Back Tattoo 2


Similar to the chest tattoo, the back tattoo is also very big. If you are looking to get a bold tattoo, then the back can be the perfect canvas. This tattoo usually features intricate designs and details of women with skull features, money, crime, and even guns.

Typically the back tattoo covers multiple elements weaved in a Chicano theme. So, these elements can range from religious figures to Mexican figures. And like most Chicano tattoos, this tattoo also is often done in black and white.

Chicano Skull Tattoo

Chicano Skull Tattoo 1


Chicano Skull Tattoo 2


The Chicano skull tattoo features a skull that fits right into the Chicano aesthetic. This tattoo can feature a woman with skull features, a person holding a skull, or just simply a skull in Mexican art style.

The skull tattoo is a much broody and dark tattoo that means death or danger in Chicano culture. But if you are going for a theme of renewal or rebirth, maybe try a different style than the Chicano style for your skull tattoo.

This tattoo can be done in colors, but in the Chicano style, this tattoo is mostly done in black and white. This tattoo also looks best on the visible parts of the body. So, you’d see the tattoo mostly done on the forearms or on the shoulders.

Chicano Rose Tattoo

Chicano Rose Tattoo


The Chicano rose tattoo mixes well with the overall Mexican theme. This tattoo features a rose often embedded in the mouth of a woman with skull features, or with other elements like guns and money.

Depending on your preference, this tattoo can hold multiple meanings. This tattoo can be associated with love, or it can even be interpreted as a symbol of death and danger. But in the Chicano style, the rose tattoo surely looks broody.

Mexican Chicano Tattoo

Mexican Chicano Tattoo


This tattoo is essentially a mix of the old Chicano style with newer and more modern Mexican heritage. This tattoo features some Mexican elements in the dark Chicano style. For example, this tattoo can feature a skull, or a woman with skull features wearing a Mexican hat.

This tattoo can also be personalized with other elements from Mexican culture including a Mexican eagle, a snake, a desert landscape, or a cactus. This is the perfect tattoo to show your identity as a Mexican.

Chicano Peacock Tattoo

Chicano Peacock Tattoo


The Chicano peacock tattoo is one of the most amazing tattoo designs that we have seen in the Chicano style. This tattoo features a beautiful peacock or a peacock head along with other Chicano elements like skulls, roses, and money.

The peacock tattoo in Chicano culture represents strength and power, so this tattoo may be done for both its visual aesthetics and its symbolic meaning. Contrary to other popular Chicano tattoo designs, this tattoo is often done in color.

Joker Chicano Tattoo

Joker Chicano Tattoo


The Joker Chicano tattoo has recently surged in popularity thanks to the amazing performance by Joaquin Phoenix’s in the movie Joker. This tattoo is inspired by the classic comic book character Joker from the DC comics and is done with a black and gray color scheme.

The Joker tattoo can be accompanied by the image of Harley Quinn, or Joker playing cards. You can even add the classic “ha ha ha” laugh to the tattoo to make it pop. The tattoo is most often placed on the forearms or on the shoulder for easy visibility.

Chicano Forearm Tattoo

Chicano Forearm Tattoo 1


Chicano Forearm Tattoo 2


The Chicano forearm tattoo is a very popular design that is very visible and is often done with multiple elements. This tattoo can feature skulls, roses, and women with skull features. Like most Chicano-style tattoos this tattoo is also often done in black and white. But you can always add some colors to the tattoo to make it lively.

Chicano Thigh Tattoo

Chicano Thigh Tattoo

The thigh is another good placement for the Chicano tattoo as it is a very spacious canvas. You can add multiple elements on the thigh. You also have the option to expand the tattoo to the leg or to the bikini line if you want.

Chicano Leg Tattoo

Chicano Leg Tattoo

This tattoo features Chicano elements like skulls, guns, and roses. The leg tattoo also has a big canvas that you can easily hide under a pair of jeans. So this tattoo may contain private design elements.

Chicano Arm Tattoo

Chicano Arm Tattoo


If you are looking to get a Chicano tattoo that is big, visible, and will definitely be a conversation starter, you can get the arm tattoo. The arm tattoo can cover multiple Chicano elements with intricate details. Doing a Chicano tattoo on the arm is a great way to show your respect and love for Chicano culture and heritage.

Chicano Tattoo on Bicep

Chicano Tattoo on Bicep


The Chicano tattoo on the bicep is an unorthodox placement for the tattoo. This tattoo is a great way to show power and strength. The Chicano elements on the bicep can include skulls, roses, and religious symbols. This is a great way to show strength and pride in your heritage and culture.

Chicano Tattoo on Shoulder

Chicano Tattoo on Shoulder


You can do a big design on the shoulder, thanks to the option to expand to the arm, chest, or back. You can add multiple elements on the shoulders, or one character in the Chicano theme. This tattoo is also done in black and white to keep the dark aesthetic of Chicano tattoos.

Chicano Head Tattoo

Chicano Head Tattoo


This is one of the most daring tattoos we’ve seen and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Head tattoos are suggested only for enthusiasts who have experience getting a tattoo before. If you are absolutely certain of what you are doing, then you can easily do any Chicano elements on the scalp, or do multiple elements on the entire head keeping the Chicano theme.

How To Do A Bold Chicano Tattoo

This video shows a Chicano tattoo in progress. As you can see, the tattoo artist traces out the tattoo with a stencil on the legs before drawing out the outline of the tattoo with a fine-line needle.

Then the artist moves on to add some details with a broader needle. As a bigger tattoo, this process took quite some time. But the artist finished the tattoo with some excellent shading and details.

If you are looking to get a Chicano tattoo on the leg, then this video is a very good example of what you’ll get. But if you are just in the market for a Chicano tattoo in general, then this video will also give you some ideas on how the tattoo is going to go.


The Chicano tattoo is a historical tattoo connected to the history and culture of Mexican Americans. So, you might have some questions regarding the tattoo even after going through the list of tattoos.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here we have some of the most common questions asked about the Chicano tattoo.

Q: Can someone get a Chicano tattoo if they are not Mexican?

Answer: Of course, yes. Although the Chicano tattoo is rooted in Mexican history and is the most popular among them, it has now become a globally popular tattoo. So anyone can get the tattoo done if they want to show solidarity with the Chicano cause. You also could just do the tattoo for its aesthetic purposes.

Q: Do Chicano tattoos have to have a meaning?

Answer: No. Although the Chicano tattoos hold deep meaning and significance during the 1960s, you don’t necessarily need to do the tattoo keeping a particular meaning in mind. So you can just do the tattoo for its beauty.

Q: Are Chicano tattoos for gang members?

Answer: No. Although during the conception of Chicano tattoos, the tattoo was tied to some gang signs and members, now the tattoo is not associated with any particular gang. Rather it is associated with resistance against oppression and discrimination in general.


To wrap up, the Chicano tattoo has a rich history and culture. It has been associated with Mexican culture and identity and at times been connected with Mexican gang members. But the tattoo outgrew these connections.

The Chicano tattoo has also emerged as a globally popular tattoo and a symbol of resistance against oppression. So, if you are looking for a tattoo with some cultural significance or just a tattoo for its peculiar aesthetic, then you cannot go wrong with this tattoo.

We discussed some of the best Chicano tattoo designs for you in this article. And we hope that we have helped you choose a tattoo for yourself, or at least given you some inspiration to design your own unique Chicano tattoo.

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