A young tattoo artist in the Chicago area is breaking barriers. Faith, a 37-year-old tattoo artist from Los Angeles, has opened Chicago's first Black, trans and queer-owned tattoo shop. Faith's new shop, Wish Me Luck, works to provide a safe and comfortable experience for people of all backgrounds.
“I want to change the culture of tattooing,” they said.
“I want to carve out space for Black people, Indigenous people, Brown people, queer people … a place that we can call our own.”
Prior to opening their own shop, Faith worked as tattoo artist for more than a decade. They worked as a tattoo artist in California for a few years before moving to Chicago and working for a decade. Despite the Wish Me Luck owner's long running presence in the area, Faith consistently had to fight against racism, homophobia and transphobia.
“Most shops — not just in Illinois and in Chicago — are run by cis white guys that are homophobic, transphobic and racist,” they explained.
Things only got worse following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As conversations about race and economic status flooded social media timelines, entered barbershops and permeated throughout homes, Faith says they witnessed fellow tattoo artists remain silent or say openly racist things. It was at that point the Los Angeles native realized the need for their own shop.
“Coworkers who were flat-out racist or co-workers who were complicit in their silence in what was going on, [those who would] call me a friend and didn’t check in and at best were doing performative things so they could save face in front of their clientele," Faith said.
“They felt like they were doing the work because they posted a black square, that it absolves them somehow."
Faith started a GoFundMe in hopes of opening their own shop. Over the course of a few months, Faith raised nearly $15,000. Now, Wish Me Luck sits in Logan Square.
“The story of how we got here is important, but what this place means is more important,” Faith said.
“We’re going to teach interdisciplinary arts, open to all but specifically to Black, Indigenous, Brown and queer people, and give people who otherwise wouldn’t feel safe tattooing in a space dominated by cis men, to be able to come in and learn from seasoned tattooers that look like them.”
Photo: Getty Images