By Grace Austin
Tattoos have become near ubiquitous, with 3 in 10 Americans now having them, according to a 2015 Harris poll. As tattoos become more mainstream, so do the number of tattoo parlors and the kinds of people getting inked.
Chicago’s Deluxe Tattoo has a reputation for easy rapport and detail-oriented artists, similar to a barbershop or a nail salon. Here’s a glimpse into a day at the tattoo parlor in Uptown.
A patron leans back at Deluxe Tattoo in Uptown as he receives a chest piece from Los Angeles-based artist Jason Vaughn. This customer has dozens of tattoos, including a head piece. (Grace Austin/Medill)
The process of inking takes hours, with no break for the artist and customer. (Grace Austin/Medill)
At Deluxe Tattoo, customers set up massage-style beds that can be easily taken down. Some bring headphones to zone out, while others chat with the other artists and customers during the inking process. (Grace Austin/Medill)
Two women discuss tattoo ideas with an artist, finally settling on a wishbone and a lucky clover on their wrists. (Grace Austin/Medill)
All of the tattoo artists at Deluxe Tattoo have extensive tattoos themselves. Here, artist Jim Little applies a large tribal tattoo to a customer’s chest. Little specializes in intricate, graphic tattoos. (Grace Austin/Medill)
Deluxe Tattoo has the casualness and familiarity of a barbershop or hair salon – where people can come to chat and also gain some body art, much as one would get their hair or nails done at a salon. (Grace Austin/Medill)
Two groups of young and older women wait for their appointments. While tattooing has become more mainstream, and Deluxe Tattoo employs a few female artists, the majority of customers and artists are men at the Uptown establishment. (Grace Austin/Medill)
Photo at top: Artist Jason Vaughn works intently on a customer. Tattooing requires intense precision and care. Most artists study for years before striking out on their own. (Grace Austin/Medill)