Great Lakes Tattoo
Cleanliness & Civility


History & Happenings, the Great Lakes Tattoo Blog. Sharing news, events and fascinating tidbits on Chicago Tattoo History.  


GLT WUC3 Poster by Marina Inoue


Twenty-one artists to converge at the globally-renowned tattoo shop in Chicago on March 24 + 25

This year’s special guests include Virginia Elwood, Chad Koeplinger, Scott Sylvia, Steve Byrne, and more.

“One of Chicago’s 10 Best Tattoo Shops” - Chicagoist

“phenomenal work from some of the best artists around the country” - The Chicago Traveler

“...a re-imagination of contemporary tattoo conventions, bringing the culture back to its roots, and ensuring the type of environment that helps tattoo art evolve among both artists and admirers.” - Highlark

Returning for it’s third consecutive year, Great Lakes Tattoo’s esteemed Walk Up Classic will take place March 24th and 25th, with an opening celebration on March 23rd.  The ambitious, two-day tattooing event is in a league of its own as far as convention-style affairs go; no egos, no filler - just tattoos.  Last year, the troupe completed over 200 tattoos in just two days, managing to get through block-spanning lines and crowds of collectors each day.  2018’s Walk Up Classic is sure to be the most revered yet and will feature GLT’s distinguished in-house tattooers in addition to highly-regarded artists such as Virginia Elwood (Saved Tattoo, Brooklyn), Chad Koeplinger (Adventure Tattoo, Nashville), Steve Byrne (Rock of Ages, Austin), Scott Sylvia  (Black Heart Tattoo, San Francisco) and more.  Check out the full roster of 2018 Walk Up Classic tattooers below.  

A thrilling affair for tattoo connoisseurs and beginners alike, Great Lakes Tattoo’s Walk Up Classic is an event like no other.  Each year, selected artists will tattoo designs from flash sheets created specifically for the Walk Up Classic, in addition to prior years’ W.U.C. designs as well as designs from the extensive collection on the walls at Great Lakes Tattoo. No month-long waiting lists or multiple sittings, no attitudes — just efficient and reliable tattooing in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere by some of the greatest tattooers in the country. The artists are available on a first come, first served basis so early arrival is encouraged. 

Known for its reverence for the history and future of tattooing, Great Lakes Tattoo is proud to welcome to the following artists to the Walk Up Classic 2018:

Beau Brady (Captured Tattoo - Tustin, CA)

Steve Byrne (Rock Of Ages Tattoo - Austin, TX)

Greg Christian (Tattoo Faction - Cleveland, OH)

Nick Colella (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Mike Dalton (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Mario Desa (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Chip Douglas (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Virginia Elwood (Saved Tattoo, Brooklyn, NY) 

Brad Fink (Iron Age Tattoo - St. Louis, MO / Daredevil Tattoo - New York, NY)

Erik Gillespie (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Tony Hundahl (Rock Of Ages Tattoo - Austin, TX)

Chad Koeplinger (Adventure Tattoo - Nashville)

Marina Inoue (Traveling Tattooer)

Jen Lawes (Port Perry, ON & Toronto, ON) 

Kevin Leary (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Miles Maniaci (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Angelo Miller (Inksmith & Rogers - Jacksonville, FL)

Dan Smith (Captured Tattoo - Tustin, CA)

Scott Sylvia (Black Heart Tattoo - San Francisco, CA)

Glennie Whittall (Pearl Harbor Gift Shop - Toronto, ON) 

Matt “Beatdown” Ziolko (Great Lakes Tattoo - Chicago, IL)

Great Lakes Tattoo Walk-Up Classic 2018 Event Details

Opening Reception + Flash Preview: Friday, March 23; 7PM-10PM

Walk-Up Classic: March 24 & March 25; 11AM-7PM

Where: Great Lakes Tattoo, 1148 W. Grand Ave. Chicago, IL 60642 

More information about Great Lakes Tattoo's Walk-Up Classic 2018 to come soon.  For now, keep up with the GLT crew on Instagram and Facebook.  Also, check out 9 hours of Walk Up Classic traffic from 2017, condensed into a 30-second video, on YouTube.

GLT’s Walk-Up Classic is sponsored by Jet Black Supply, Lucky Supply, Old Standard Supply, Trendy Tattoo Supply, and The Solid Ink.

Additional sponsors include Rowboat Creative, Dark Matter Coffee, Virtue Cider, and Bangers and Lace.


Great Lakes Tattoo is one of the most respected and remarkable tattoo shops in existence.  Opening their doors in 2013, owner Nick Colella had been in the industry for over twenty years when he, alongside his wife, wanted to create a one-of-a-kind space with an attitude-free atmosphere that would celebrate and honor the art of tattooing: past, present, and future.  With the motto of "cleanliness and civility,” they recruited some of the best veteran and up-and-coming tattooers with a variety of portfolios to round out their artist roster and curated Chicago's landmark tattoo shop.  Great Lakes Tattoo also houses an art gallery and event space - the Great State Gallery - which presents art shows, literature readings, live music events and more.  Additionally, Great Lakes tattoo showcases a hugely important collection of tattoo memorabilia and hosts guest tattooers every month from all over the globe, keeping Chicago on the map as one of the best places for tattoo art and culture in the world.  


Allison Attwood