Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 18

Gapers Block

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Andrew / July 20, 2006 12:12 PM

Question suggested by Maureen.

I don't have a tattoo, but I've heard good things about Deluxe Tattoo on Irving Park near Southport.

dan / July 20, 2006 12:30 PM

Word on the street is, Tim Biedron over at Deluxe is the one to go to.

a. / July 20, 2006 12:58 PM

Definitely Deluxe.

Dollar Bill / July 20, 2006 1:44 PM

29th & California -

"Spider" will decorate your skin in the fashions of DaVinci or Raphael.

FVK Member / July 20, 2006 1:47 PM

Dawn Grace Russell at The Tattoo Factory; 4441 N. Broadway. She's a brilliant artist and a totally cool girl.
Plus, she's a scooterist!

robin.. / July 20, 2006 2:41 PM

i'm with y'all: Deluxe is my studio of choice. all artists there are top notch, but i'd be a fool not to plug my man, harlan thompson, with whom i'm meeting this weekend for some work. i respect the work in all of the portfolios there, however, and i'm glad i researched and planned and listened to suggestions when i was looking for my big color work.

Meg / July 20, 2006 3:55 PM

Ester at Butterfat Studios is #1 in my book. She does great work, and my experience getting a tattoo from her was pleasant, calm, and well-thought out. She also has the tastiest iced tea which she will give to you before it's time to start tattooing.

Sean / July 20, 2006 5:45 PM

I second Harlan Thompson at Deluxe. I have 1 piece by him and will be going back in September for a 1/2 sleeve.

Alex / July 20, 2006 7:18 PM

Serena, who works out of her home on North Avenue in Humboldt Park.

Sadly, I don't remember her last name.

Mercourier / July 21, 2006 6:51 AM

I second Esther @ Butterfat. She's done two of pieces now and I am honored to have her orginal artwork decorate my back. When I met her for the first time and told her what I wanted instead of meeting with disdain or just an air of "I've heard it all", she seemed genuinely enthused. That goes a long way in my book.

Bill V / July 21, 2006 8:37 AM

Lincoln Park Zoo has some good ones. Tigers, Lions, etc. And they rub off at the end of the day!

John / July 21, 2006 9:25 AM

I have a question on sleeves or large tattoo in general. How does an idea get to be big? I have a small idea on a item that I would like to expand to a large shoulder or 1/2 sleeve. Do you rely on the artest to design the additional art work? How have some of you worked this issue out?


robin.. / July 21, 2006 9:26 AM

Sean: what's your piece from Harlan like, and what are you planning for yr 1/2 sleeve? I've got a pair of daggers he designed, based on my rough ideas, and soon i'll have a pair of "flower panels" on my triceps with a similar derivation. I'm cooking up a plan for both arms to be half-sleeved by him eventually, encompassing his older work and integrating it in a unified design. I'm always interested in seeing what he does for can contact me off-board, if you wish, at ifmanis5 [at] hotmail [dot] com

robin.. / July 21, 2006 9:37 AM

John: you're right to want to go big, but then, I'm horribly biased towards big, big work. Your impression is also one I'd agree with: if an idea doesn't start big, an artist whom you trust and whose work you like can work with you over time to expand and elaborate on what you've brought in. I'll add: take your time and get exactly what you want, but be open to the possibility that your artist will show you something you didn't know you wanted. That's the beauty (well, aside from the literal beauty) of getting custom work from a true artist.

John / July 21, 2006 9:41 AM

Thanks Robin, I want to expand on a tattoo of the Chicago Flag that I have on my bicept, I would like to continue the Chicago items, but dont want to go to far. Thanks for the help. Getting input from the artest will be my first step.

John / July 21, 2006 9:46 AM

Tim Biedron over at Deluxe is the one to go to.

I love that crazy evitl stuff. I think I will contact him on some ideas.


annie / July 21, 2006 9:48 AM

wow, i can't believe with all the deluxe comments nobody's mentioned hannah aitchinson (sister to guy aitchinson).

theres also a studio in the flat iron building called cherry bomb that has two great artists: patrick cornolo and kim saigh.

my artist unfortunately moved away to nyc, but hes fantastic, tim kern at last rites.

Nuxrs / July 21, 2006 10:35 AM

Thirds to Esther! She rocks.

k / July 21, 2006 10:38 AM

Serena, sadly, has left the city.

pete / July 21, 2006 11:02 AM

i highly recommend jen at insight studios. she's been doing my work for years and i couldn't be happier with it.

Justin / July 21, 2006 11:05 AM

i second Pete. Jen is extremely talented, and a pleasure to work with. Go see her.

esskaycee / July 21, 2006 11:06 AM

More love for Esther! She kicks ass.

first tat tonight / July 21, 2006 11:18 AM

i am going to insight tonight!! glad that some gapers have good things to say!

Lisa May / July 21, 2006 12:16 PM

Where might one find this fabulous Esther you all love so well? Her website is super nifty, but it doesn't mention where she does her work. Thanks!!

Brandy / July 21, 2006 1:38 PM

I second Patrick Cornolo. I like his drawing style, though I've never gotten one of his originals. He did a picture perfect job inking two big arm designs I did for a friend: vice & virtue.

Patrick / July 21, 2006 2:08 PM

Another question: do any artists in the city specialize in comic book-style tattoos? Y'know, superheroes and whatnot? I'd be interested in finishing off a WATCHMEN tattoo on my arm if there's someone who can capture that style.

matthew. / July 21, 2006 4:10 PM

Nobody's mentioned Revolution yet, eh? I just had a sleeve on my left arm completed over there by Kit, who did an exceptional job. She even did a bit of improv illustration on my arm, which was pretty cool to watch, and totally added her own flare to the piece.

Ben over @ Deluxe is a bad ass, as well. Quality, quality work...

Spook / July 21, 2006 9:54 PM

Blagg the Axman must have a tattoo or two....Hummmmm I wonder where he gets his????

Mac / July 23, 2006 11:04 PM


lnieto / August 22, 2006 9:49 PM

Esther works from her home studio- a retro looking room with an old school dentist chair! email her and she will get back to you. She is awesome and so much more affordable than any tattoo shop you will find.

Natalie / March 5, 2007 2:06 PM

Tim Biedron is the guy to go to. I love my tattoo and he came highly recommended. He took my idea and really gave it a nice creative touch that was different. couldnt be happier.

Annie / March 13, 2007 9:44 AM

Deluxe Tattoo on Irving Park in Chicago. Tim Biederon is the one you want to see. He is an amazing artist and is it shows in his tattoos.

NIck / March 18, 2007 2:24 PM

I have lived in the city for 17 years and have grown a special love for this city. I want to get a chicago flag tattoo but dont know who would give one under age...any help?

thanx peachey

tony / March 30, 2007 8:46 PM

Anyone at Deluxe is good.

I got both of my outer half sleeves done by Hannah Aitchison. i would highly recommend her, especially for any first timers. she is super sweet and very good to work with, plus she works fast.

I'm also very impressed with Tim's work, I would like to get something done by him at some point.

Kilah / June 22, 2007 12:00 PM

Tim on Springfield & Fernard in Chicago is raw. He did me a tattoo from a picture and it looks just like it.

Donna / July 24, 2007 9:55 PM

Esther did my first tattoo. I agree. Thoughtful, enthusiastic, easy to work with and very supportive. I love what she did and will be back there in winter for the other half.

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