Design A Dictionary

So, I completely changed my idea for the dictionary project. It’s now about tattoos which I think I may have mentioned in the last post (?). I began researching tattoo meanings online, mainly sailor tattoos, and then gang tattoos.

A fine example of the teardrop tattoo is displayed in this photograph (name removed due to search engine traffic – I think we all know who he is!)

It has been documented that the teardrop tattoo originated in the Chicago gangs of California. For them the tattoo signifies that an individual has killed another person, particularly while in prison.

It can also mean a family member/friend/fellow gang member has died. Filled teardrops can mean the wearer has commited a murder, and if it’s clear in the middle, it can mean there was an attempted murder or a loved one has been murdered.It can also represent served prison time.

More info on this here –

Half filled teardrops can mean the tattoo wearer has murdered’s their loved one’s killer. Different sources say different things for this tattoo but it definitely holds a lot of history and meaning.

After researching gang tattoos for a while I rediscovered the Russian Criminal Tattoo encylopaedias.

After finding them in the university’s library records, I headed over to Central St Martins to borrow the 3 volumes. Here’s some scans of photocopies I made for my sketchbook –

Now I need to choose 40 to put in the book, and how to display them, and the reason for choosing a certain 40…. hmmmm.


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