Gang tattoos are symbols of loyalty to the group or gang to which a person belongs, and are considered marks of honor within the affiliation. Generally earned and worn with pride by the members, they represent the lifestyle that the person has chosen. Gangs also use tattoos as a ranking system representing a person’s status within the gang, only high ranking members are allowed to ink on and show certain tattoos, this structure is actually very similar to military ranking as most gangs have a highly organized architecture.
With so many gangs and the ever changing organization of underworld actives, there are literary thousands of gang tattoos. Some of the most common are words of reference, roman numerals, spider-webs, teardrops, in loving memory, cultural, tribal, and associated symbols of death and destruction. Also popular is a certain graffiti style art that can often be viewed as very eloquent and detailed. Being that gang tattoos are associated with pride most are very elaborate and countless hours of work can be spent on some of these masterful pieces of creativity. Other tattoos on gang members are often associated with their accomplishments and can have a wide range of different meanings within the gangs environment.
Gang tattoos are part of our culture whether we like it or not, and will represent some peoples perseverance to get through tough times. Some of these images are becoming more mainstream and carry a certain subtlety of sensationalism, and often show signs of difficulty and perseverance.