Friday, December 11, 2009

Russian Criminal Tattoo Designs

If you're still looking for that holiday gift, you might consider some attire inspired by Russian criminal tattoos.

Last month, regular readers of Tattoosday may have noticed the ad that popped up on the left side of the blog, promoting a line of clothing from MiR1, an online shop run by a fellow Brooklynite named Roman, featuring designs based on and inspired by this style of tattoo.

Our good friends over at the Needles and Sins Tattoo Blog even featured Roman's online shop as part of their Holiday Gift Guide feature earlier this month. Their piece on Russian Criminal Tattoo Apparel appeared here. You can also check out their Facebook page here.

For the record, I have one of MiR1's hoodies and I'm very pleased with it. If the wind chill wasn't teens this morning, I might even wear it to work.

But I'm not writing about this to sell apparel. Of course, you won't be surprised to hear that Roman has tattoos that run along the themes featured in his clothing line.

He was kind enough to send along this picture:

As explained on the MiR1 site:

The cat has been a symbol in Russian criminal tattoo culture since the beginning, partly because the cat abides by it's own rules. There are many variations of the cat tattoo. The cat symbolizes a thief that is good at what he does. This tattoo can show a man's or woman's connection with the criminal world. The word CAT or "KOT" (in Russian)is an acronym as are many other normal words that are tattooed. KOT stands for "Korenoi Obitatel Tyurmi" or "Native occupant of Jail" as in Jail is my second home.

Roman was kind enough to elaborate on the origin of his tattoos:

The cats were done in Watertown Correctional Facility, by a man named Diablo. For 3 packs of cigarettes and some cakes, cookies, and various junk...Cats are supposed to bring good luck. One cat means u mostly act alone, two means usually with others or part of a crew. I really didn't care either way, I just like symmetry.

The hammer and sickles were done by a friend in the 90's...

I encourage readers to check out the clothing line over at their online shop here. And thanks again to Roman for sharing his own personal ink with us here on Tattoosday!

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