Chicano tattoos and Málaga’s quick guide of studios

Sometimes, one sits around and wonders: Which style of tattoos do you see most people wearing nowadays? Which style do you spot more frequently, around plazas and playas, during this hot summer? Given that everyone has started showing more and more skin already, on the occasion of mid-summer almost approaching.

On one side, the more traditional style is ever-present and shall remain that way. The fanatics of multiple shades and shadows will never get bored of its realistic nature. They swear by the old-school designs and their meaningful origin story, dating back to the 19th and 20th century. More or less, the association of American Traditional tattoos with war is widely known within the sphere of American history. Some soldiers or marines used them for identification purposes or “collected” them as souvenirs from their work travels. There are also some clear mentions of performers from circuses who traveled the country and it was one of their most identifiable features. Clearly, if you have discussed the subject of tattoos before, you know the term old-school. But, what about Chicano tattoos? Does that term ring any bells?

Tamara Santibañez was one of the names that came up while reading an article on the Chicano tattoo style and its prospective iconography. Being at the forefront of the contemporary movement, together with Freddy Negrete and Chuco Moreno, they have stirred the waters of the pre-existing heritage. In “Tattooing as Liberation Work”, an essay by a Brooklyn, New York City-based tattoo artist, she discusses how this art form is a tool, able to aid the recipients to both empower and disempower themselves. Just like the tattoo has a very important healing period, the tattoo profession doubles as a space for mental healing for all the participants.

Seeing that there is a lot of power in the statements above and, keeping in mind that tattoos alone are “silent” statements as well, I mention that the craft of Chicano artists is closely linked with the struggle of an ethnic minority within America’s West Side culture of the West Side Vs East Side rivalry. There, at that time of history, when Chulos’ and Chulas’ tears were one with Payasas’ (=clowns) tears; is where the soul of Mexican American communities lies.

If you are as moved by Chicano’s cultural heritage as we are, and if you feel passionately about this tattoo genre, here is a small guide of Malaga’s best places in which to get tattooed:

Tarantula Tattoo (@tarantula_tattoo)
Malaga Red Roses Tattoo (@redrosestattoo)
Soho Tattoo Malaga (@sohotattoomalaga)
Alanai Tattoo (@alanaitattoo)
Trece Tattoo or Trace Tattoo (

Finally, for thinner and fine lines, you should definitely trust “OH MY CAT! Tattoo Studio (@ohmycat_tattoostudio).

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