This Cincy Tattoo Shop Is Helping Former Gang Members Cover Up Their Ink

Inside a Guatemala gang prison, this artist found his calling.

Inside a Guatemalan gang prison, Jeremiah Griswold found his calling.

White Whale Tattoo
Photo courtesy of White Whale Tattoo

It wasn’t long after he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in literature (and a massive love for the book Moby Dick) that Griswold was looking for a way to give back. With a fresh interest in tattooing and a few connections, he found himself in Guatemala working to help those who wanted to start a new life, marred by the symbol of a previous one. In this world, the wrong tattoo could get you killed.


White Whale Tattoo
Photo courtesy of White Whale Tattoo

And according to him, that’s when White Whale Tattoo began.


Fast forward to 2018: Jeremiah and his wife Becki co-own one of the most popular tattoo shops in Cincinnati and that original mission lives on. The two hold fundraisers for annual trips back to Central America, this time with a bigger team.

We stopped by the shop to hear his incredible story and learn about the intense, powerful and rewarding process of helping former gang members start a new life.

To him, service isn’t a one-way street. It’s a dichotomy. What they give, they get back tenfold with stories, experiences and a deeper understanding of life and human relationships.

And it all exists in the ink.

Learn more about White Whale Tattoo here. 

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