July 2014 Archives

Bart Borrelli

Bart Borrelli

Bart’s and story came in through the Chicago Flag Tattoo inbox:

Bart Borrelli: I moved to Chicago in the Summer of 2006 with a few of my friends after Graduating from the University of Dayton. This was my first time living in the big city and I came without a job or a real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. Over the next 7 years I created some of the best friendships I could possibly ask for and so many great memories (and a lot of great stories I’ve been told that I can’t remember). I moved in August of 2013 when I got a job offer out in Washington, DC that I just couldn’t turn down and also to be closer to family. I came back to the city in March 2014 for work and had wanted to get this tattoo for a long time and timing was just right. Why not in the city itself! I was lucky enough to have 3 great friends living in Chicago come and support me on my endeavor. Chicago will always have a special place in my heart and now a place on my body.

Bart Borrelli’s tattoo by Brian Buchak at Insight Studios.

Ken Churilla

Ken Churilla Chicago Flag tattoo

Ken sent in a photo of his tattoo and this explanation of its meaning:

Saw your site and really dig it. All of my tattoos are personal and symbolic of something in my life.

I got my most recent one to celebrate the release of my first published book: No One Said It Would Be Easy: A Husband’s Journey Through His Wife’s Battle With Breast Cancer. The flag represents the city I not only call home but the city that has shaped me. Being a celebration of the book, the quill represents me as a writer.

The tattoo was done by Chencho Leon of 45th Street Tattoo in Griffith, IN. I grew up with Chencho and he’s a genius artist. He’s done all of my work.


Reggie Chicago and Illinois Tattoo

Reggie sent in a photo of his tattoo with a great description of what Chicago means to him.

Reggie: My name is Reggie a.k.a Stamp. I grew up all over Chicago but Rogers Park is where I spent most of my 33 years.

Chicago means several things to me. The first being home… I grew up with family saying never forget where you come from no matter how life turns out for you.

It also means diversity. We have so many different cultures in the city it’s like going to a different country every few blocks. You can experience other people’s ways and customs in a way that no other city I’ve been can ever top.

The last thing is strength and survival. We can make it anywhere and through anything and that just comes from being in a city where, as I said before, is like going to a different country every few blocks. You have to learn what cool to do or say and what’s not. Growing up this way makes it easy to move out of the and fit in.

I got this tattoo done at a place called Magick Dragon in Lawrenceville, GA by an artist named Hair Braine. I’ve been wanting to get it for years and it just so happens that once I moved here I got off my ass and did it.

Man I love the site, it’s cool to see how much Chicago means to other people as well. BOY DO I MISS THE FOOD!!!!


Sebastian Chicago Flag stars tattoo

I noticed Sebastian’s bold arm tattoo across the theater during a Neo-Futurists show in Andersonville and was able to snag him for an interview at Kopi Cafe a few days later.

CFT: So what’s your story? Are you a lifelong resident?

Sebastian: No, I’m not. I moved to Chicago. I grew up in Minnesota, outside of Minneapolis, and I moved to Chicago for college, when I was 19 years old. I was at the University of Chicago, and I really enjoyed it. And then I left, and I kind of traveled around, and then I went back to Minneapolis to go to law school. Then, I was trying to figure out where I was going go after I graduated, and where I was going to try to get a job and stuff like that. I thought about staying in Minnesota, but ultimately I decided to come back to Chicago even though I didn’t have a job lined up or anything like that, just because, you know, I had a lot of friends here still and I just really loved it and I wanted to give it some more time. I moved back in 2008, so more than 5 years ago now, and it’s been really great. I really enjoy it. I’ve been moving around a lot within the city, which is its own fun, but just this year, I bought a house. And it’s a new idea; rather than just exploring, kind of surveying the city, now I’m trying to focus, kind of put down roots in one spot, in the Albany Park neighborhood. Right around the same time is when I really decided to get a tattoo of Chicago, and I just kind of feel like I’m really tossing my lot in with Chicago. I guess I’m sticking around here.

CFT: Is that your first tattoo?

Sebastian: No, it’s my second tattoo. My other one is very little.

Sebastian staple tattoo

CFT: Oh! That is, in fact, very little.

Sebastian: It goes in the back as well, it’s a representation of a staple that’s going through my shoulder. Which is also based upon another thing that I love, which is also Chicago based—the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt. Have you ever heard of it? It’s a pretty fantastic thing that exists. Down at the university every spring, the four days leading up to Mother’s Day, there’s an annual scavenger hunt, and it’s humongous, and it’s insane, and it really has grown beyond what you typically think about a scavenger hunt. It has people doing very strange and crazy things. I was involved for many years, even after I graduated, helping to make the list of items and being one of the judges. So this is related to that, for those who make the lists. It’s one of the judge tattoos. We make this list every year, and we staple it, but now we’re the ones stapling ourselves.

CFT: So other people have that same tattoo?

Sebastian: They do. So, two different Chicago loves that I have.

CFT: That’s amazing. I guess I asked if it was your first, because it is very large. That is a bold statement, that big of a tattoo. What made you want to go that big?

Sebastian: Well, I was actually inspired by a picture, and some of it’s in the Chicago Public Library in the Washington branch downtown in those hallways that lead off on the street. They’re kind of narrow and uninviting. I think the one that went past the teen center—they put a bunch of pictures on the wall, and one of the pictures was an old advertisement. It was like a Chicago Public Library, their internal flyers for I don’t know what—advertising an event maybe or just like “Chicago Library—you’re great. Go read books.” And there was one, it was of this woman and she had this big shock of red hair and her arm kind of had big muscles, and yeah, she had four stars like that. It wasn’t quite like this, it was actually on the whole arm—two on the forearm and two on the bicep, and I thought it looked super cool. I’ve gone back to try to find it, and I couldn’t. I talked to someone that worked at the library, and they didn’t know what I was talking about. I think it’s lost for the time being.

CFT: There was a series of ads that the library did that were oddly worded in that charming way when institutions try to be cool? But the pictures were very striking. I remember—like somebody DJing, but maybe what they were DJing on was like a stack of books—a turntable on a stack of books.

Sebastian: Clever, I like it.

CFT: The copy was something like “Yeah, that’s right. We know what the kids are hip to.” Or something.

Sebastian: That’s wonderful, and I am sure this was something similar to that.

CFT: I wonder if it was in that series.

Sebastian: I wouldn’t doubt it. I really love that. I like poster art in general—I think it’s kind of really fun. Particularly the sort you’d see during World War II telling people to “make sure to turn off your lights” or “loose lips” and it’s a really simplistic style. I just love that. So, that is what inspired it. I like that it’s bigger, and I really like that it crests the elbow. I think that it gives it another dimension to it, which is fun.

CFT: It’s big and bold and awesome. Where did you have it done?

Sebastian: This tattoo place in Roscoe village called Family Tattoo. It’s on Belmont, East of Western there.

CFT: You went to Law School, are you a lawyer?

Sebastian: I am.

CFT: I imagine work involves wearing long sleeves anyway.

Sebastian: Yeah, I wear a suit every day, although I have shown my coworkers, so they know about it. You see lawyers now, though—they have tattoos you can see. Women have tattoos on their feet and wear shoes without socks. It’s a brave new world.


About CFT

We love all sorts of Chicago-related tattoos and love interviewing the people who have them. If you've got one or know someone who does, please let us know at tats@chicagoflagtattoos.com to arrange an interview.

If you just want to send in a photo, we always love to know:

  • What is about Chicago that made you want to get your tattoo?
  • Where did you get it done?
  • May we use your full name on the site?
  • If possible, we'd love to see a photo of you and not just your tattoo. Check out some of the interviews on the site to see what we mean.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2014 is the previous archive.

August 2014 is the next archive.

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