Top 89 Chicano Tattoo Ideas – [2021 Inspiration Guide]
For a creative burst of cultural extravagance, nothing quite matches the stunning significance of a Chicano tattoo. These meaningful designs possess immense capacities for stylish grandiloquence.
Chicano ink is magnanimously standing at the forefront of a body art revolution.
These stirring insignias arrive in a wide range of culturally commanding incarnations. To elicit surprisingly dynamic designs, they daringly mix conspicuous urban settings with inspired religious icons. Illustrious graffiti replicas are regularly combined with the legendary countenance of Jesus Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary is equally astonishing!
By merging a cornucopia of Hispanic themes, Chicano tattoos are the definition of cutting-edge. Day of the Dead imagery lends a visceral core to the genre, especially with the exotic inception of sugar skull designs. For a rampantly cosmopolitan conquest, try out some symbols from the liberated Zapatista movement!
Of course, other Chicano tattoos focus on unabashed weaponry, heavenly hot rods and gorgeous Latina pin-ups. Each riveting masterpiece is dashingly unique. Realistic facial features are a centerpiece of this energetically enriching category.
This level of ink rigorously cultivates the unprecedented zenith of honor for one’s own heritage. Be a chivalrous champion of style with one of the debonair delights in our ravishing registry of Chicano tattoos below.
1. ‘La Chica’ Chicano Tattoos
Pinup girls have been common elements in tattoos for decades; some of the oldest and most popular tattoos were pinups in the American traditional style. These Chicano girls take the pinup tradition to the next level. Using an expert application of black and gray ink and a photo-realistic approach, these stunning femme fatales remain some of the most eye catching and popular Chicano inspired designs.
2. Chicano Religious Tattoos
While the Chicano tattoo style may have originated in the United States penal system, the deeply Catholic Mexican tradition means that religious iconography remains common in Chicano tattoos. Images of Christ the Redeemer and crucifixes are common, although the most stunning pieces feature the Virgin of Guadalupe. The fascinating and complex role that Mary plays in Mexican Catholicism provides ample material to draw from and these tattoos dedicated to the Mother of Christ are exceptional.
3. Neo Classical Chicano Tattoos
The Chicano tattoo style is characterized by black and gray ink and an expert application of smooth shading and fine lines. This subtle approach is perfectly suited for the stern gazes and stone visages of Ancient Greece.
From thinkers like Plato and Socrates, to the blind folded statue of Lady Justice that graces courtrooms across the country, these dramatic figures are perfect subjects for the subdued elegance that is created in Chicano tattoos. These pieces are great examples of how these marble statues can translate to black and gray tattoos.
4. Full Back Chicano Tattoos
For some people one tattoo simply isn’t enough; for some people, even a full sleeve isn’t enough. The back is, by far, the largest canvas on the body and for this reason many people choose to apply large, cohesive designs to the back.
Thanks to the variety of design elements that can be incorporated—everything from payasas with pistolas to the Virgin of Guadalupe—means that the dramatic potential for these full back pieces is practically limitless. With the smooth shading and fine lines that Chicano work is known for, these tattoos are great examples of what is possible with a talented artist and large canvas.
5. Chicano La Catrina Tattoos
La Calavera Catrina is a character that the early 20th Century cartoonist and print maker Jose Guadalupe Posada created as a jab at wealthy Mexicans he felt were adopting European fashions instead of embracing their indigenous roots.
Despite this politicized origin, Catrina became a symbol of the Day of the Dead celebration and is now a common element in Chicano art. These interpretations take a more realistic approach but are still recognizable as Calaveras thanks to their headdresses and skeleton makeup.
6. Angel Chicano Tattoos
The deep Catholic tradition in Mexico continues to shape the Chicano tattoo style and angels remain common elements in this school. Angels also hold deep significance in the street and prison life that spawned the style.
Many people choose to get angels inked on their bodies to act as guardians, watching over and protecting them from anyone with less than good intentions. With their smooth shading and expert application of fine lines these pieces are excellent examples of Chicano angel tattoos.
7. Chicano Girl Clown Tattoos
The female clown, or payasa in Spanish, is a common element in Chicano tattoos that grew out of the street philosophy of “Laugh now, Cry later”. This concept was used to represent the need to hide weakness from enemies on the street and informs many of the designs utilized in Chicano tattooing.
Add in a little stylized sexuality and you get these Chicano pinup girls sporting clown makeup. Many clients choose a specific face for their payasas, most commonly wives and girlfriends, although some choose to commemorate their favorite actresses in these stunning black and gray tattoos.
8. Full Upper Body Chicano Tattoos
For many people, tattoos serve as testaments to where they’ve come from and obstacles they have overcome in life. Everyone starts off with one tattoo, but for some this only lights the fuse that will turn into a lifelong love affair with ink. These full body tattoos are incredible demonstrations of what is possible when Chicano designs are given full reign.
9. Chicano Sleeve Tattoos
Another popular option for people that want large tattoos is to go with a full sleeve. The arms are perfect canvases that have a variety of natural lines thanks to the variation in musculature that runs up and down these extremities. A talented artist is able to tell a story on the arms and utilize these lines to draw the eye up and down the length of the limb and create a bold and dynamic piece of art.
10. Chicano Clown Tattoos
As we have seen, “Laugh now, Cry later” is a powerful concept that works its way into Chicano tattoos in different ways. These pieces depict gangster with stern looks wearing clown makeup. The level of detail in these pieces is exceptional and the even application of fine lines and use of smooth shading to create contrast completes these stunning odes to the hard knock life that produced the Chicano style.
11. Chicano Mask Tattoos
When Freddy Negrete first inked the iconic phrase dedicated to the hard faces that Mexican Americans had to wear in difficult circumstances, it is doubtful he knew how profound the impact would be on the world of Chicano tattoos. Alongside “Laugh now, Cry Later”, the smiling and weeping theater masks are common design elements. These clean pieces are great examples of this quintessentially Chicano tattoo.
12. Chicano Street Tattoos
While there is no doubt that Chicano tattooing has spread far beyond the streets and cells where it originated, many people continue to live this dangerous lifestyle and choose to commemorate it with black and gray tattoos. Through the expert application of fine lines and smooth shading, the guns, girls and low-riders are on full display in these stunning testaments to mi vida loca.
13. Chicano Chest Tattoos
Another large canvas, the chest remains a popular location for big, bold tattoos. The added significance that is created by placing important designs directly over the heart makes the chest especially popular for the names of loved ones. Nothing demonstrates a deep connection quite like a large chest tattoo, and these pieces, with their payasas, roses and pistols perfectly encapsulate the Chicano tattoo tradition.
14. Day of the Dead Chicano Tattoos
The day of the dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican tradition that has roots in the pre-contact world of Aztec religion. It is believed that the holiday originated as an Aztec celebration of the goddess Mictecacihuatl who ruled over the underworld, then later was incorporated into the Catholic All Saints Day as the Spaniards subjugated the native populations.
The resulting celebration revolves around family and friends gathering together to pay tribute to their dead family members by honoring them with food, drinks, music and festivities.
The stylized skull and morbid facades make Day of the Dead designs the perfect subject matter for these black and gray tattoos, and these are excellent examples of the style.
Chicano Tattoo FAQs
What does “Chicano Tattoo” mean?
In this hyper-connected digital world, where with a few clicks you can speak with people around the world and sift through the artistic achievements of an entire species, it is easy to forget the origins of these different artistic traditions. One of these styles that has gained massive popularity is the Chicano tattoo school.
The term “Chicano” refers Americans of Mexican descent, and while there are Chicano communities in every state, the origins of the style arose in California. The Chicano tattoo style is characterized by a black and gray color palette, elaborate lettering and the fine lines used to produce a variety of different design elements, including religious iconography, pinup girls, script and gang related content. Much like any artistic tradition, the Chicano tattoo style was a product of its circumstances.
Despite its global popularity, Chicano tattooing was born out of the hard times faced by Mexican Americans in California in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The use of black and gray ink became the standard thanks to its origins in the prisons where tattooing was banned. The different design elements were also born out of these hardships. Perhaps the most famous Chicano design is the “Laugh now, Cry Later” motif that was created by tattoo legend Freddy Negrete.
Often used in conjunction with drama masks or clown faces, this design sums up the Chicano aesthetic better than anything else. Beyond the dramatic imagery that is often incorporated with these designs, this philosophy of hiding weakness was a direct result of the dangerous lifestyle in the cellblock and on the street.
More than simply a style, Chicano tattoos are a tradition with roots that run deep within Mexican American communities across the country. The beautiful black and gray tattoos tell the story of a group of people determined to carve out a piece of the American Dream in their own way, and by their own rules.
What does the clown girl symbolize?
The clown girl, or payasa, is one of the more common elements in Chicano tattooing, and for good reason. The sultry looks and voluptuous curves of these black and gray vixens are instantly appealing; however they belie a deeper significance that tells the difficult story of Chicano culture.
If there is one concept that can be used to define the Chicano style it would be “Laugh now, Cry later”. Coined by Freddy Negrete, this simple phrase speaks to the dangerous lifestyle of street life—often ending behind bars—that many young Mexican Americans fell into. On the streets you have to hide weakness, so this was the only option.
Clowns became popular extensions of this hardened philosophy and the payasa pinup girls soon followed. For many, these payasas also represented their wives or girlfriends, allowing them to carry their women wherever they went…even to prison. These sexy clown girls may be smiling, but don’t mistake a smile for weakness.
Click on the links below for more Chicano Tattoo galleries
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.