David De Santiago

David De Santiago - Chicago flag tattoo

David De Santiago - Chicago Skyline tattoo

David De Santiago - Chicago flag tattoo

After some emails back and forth, I met up with David at his office, at an insurance and financial services company. It’s not just that we share a tattoo, but I think if you needed an insurance agent you could do a lot worse than David.

We launched right into a discussion of some of David’s other tattoos, celebrating his Mexican heritage, and by the time I got my audio recorder going we were already talking about his Chicago flag tattoo, which features the flag connected to a blue outline of the skyline.

David: Originally, I was gonna get something like that [points to my forearm tattoo], and then on this side [points to his other arm] I was gonna get the skyline. The tattoo artist I work with, he made the decision. He told me “why don’t we do it like this. We’ll put the flag on one side and fade it in and put the skyline on the other.” Except, the color, I guess it didn’t agree with me. It’s a little light, you can’t really tell, but I don’t know if you can see it’s the skyline.

CFT: And that’s a great solution, too. I sort of went back and forth on mine, with lik e “well, I like the way the flag is, but I also want to go all the way around.” So that’s a great solution in that it’s the flag, but then it’s more…

David: Yeah. He wants to do more, I talk to him all the time. I take my time with my tattoos. I go once every 3-4 months, if that. But he wants to do like clouds and the river in red and clouds and I don’t know. I told him I kinda like it the way it is right now. I even like it the way it ended up, it looks kinda like it’s rustic almost. And it’s vintage in my opinion, and that’s the city, man. The city’s beat up and it’s kind of a beat up tattoo. So I’d like to keep it that way. [laughs].

CFT: You have to be careful with that adding, soon you might have a full sleeve.

David: My original thought was that I wanted to do more, like maybe the El and this and that, but the fact that I got this a little bit infected, I was like, eh, maybe not. Maybe I should just leave it the way it is. But this arm, I’m gonna do, we’ve been working on it about a year. i’m gonna do one piece at a time, but it’s just hard.

CFT: Are you a lifelong Chicagoan?

David: Yeah, I was born and raised on the South Side, so one goal, I did want to do “South Side” right here, but he’s kinda trying to convince me not to, so we’ll think about that. Not too far from Back of the Yards, that’s where we originally lived. All my brothers and sisters were born in California. I was the only one born in Chicago. So that makes me kind of original. I’m very dedicated to the city. I went to school here. I went to Catholic school for grammar school, but in high school I actually went in Cicero, Illinois. Cicero has a bad rap.

So yeah, this city, born and raised. Pretty much I’ve had my chances to leave and I just never took the chance. I always wanted to stay here. My brother lives out in LA, he’s been out there 10 years, and he’s always tried to convince me to go out there, but I always tell him I feel like I need to stay in the city. I feel like in a weird way that it needs me. That I need to stay here. I feel definitely a deep connection to the city, and I’ve done my work as far as community service and I’ve done quite a few political campaigns, progressive candidates. I’m actually working with one not too far from here, out there by Belmont and Kedzie, Aaron Goldstein. He’s running on a progressive ticket. I went to college with him, so I’m trying to help him out as much as I can, which is not too much unfortunately. I hate the city for the corruption, I hate it for the violence, but in a weird way… it’s like someone who doesn’t want to leave a war zone. I hate to put it that way. It’s not necessarily a war zone, because you feel like you can mainly change it. And you don’t always get the solution, but it’s not gonna stop me from trying. I think I got the tattoo more because it’s always been for the love of my city, and it’s a nice flag—but besides that, it’s more for the love of the city itself. It has its problems, so on and so forth, you know how it goes. Up in Edgewater maybe not as bad as around here. It has it’s problems, too. I think you see the corruption everywhere.

CFT: I want to make sure I heard you right, that you said it both ways—you said “you need the city and the city needs you”?

David: In a strange way, it is both.

David De Santiago

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.

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This page contains a single entry by Fuzzy published on September 5, 2013 9:43 AM.

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