Remembering Tim Beck’s Legacy of a Tattoo Maestro and Community Pillar


The tattoo community mourns the loss of a luminary. Tim Beck, the esteemed tattoo artist and owner of Freedom Ink, has passed away. His wife, Charlotte, shared this poignant news on January 23, leaving a void that resonates not only in central Illinois but throughout the tattooing world. Beck, who has battled cancer since October 2022, has a profound legacy of artistic prowess and dedication to his craft.

Tim Beck’s Journey: Tim Beck embarked on his professional tattooing journey in 1998, commencing with an apprenticeship in Pekin. His dedication to the craft led him to Chicago from 2001-04 before he made his mark in Peoria. In 2016, Freedom Ink Tattoos found its home in Peoria’s Warehouse District, a testament to Beck’s commitment to the local community over the allure of big cities.

Awards and Recognition: Beck garnered national and international acclaim throughout his career, earning several prestigious awards. His decision to keep his business in Peoria rather than relocate to a metropolitan area showcased his belief in the potential of his hometown. Beck’s work graced the pages of numerous tattoo-related magazines, with features emphasizing his desire to showcase Peoria’s uniqueness.

Craftsmanship and Tradition: Beck was a proponent of the tattooing tradition, emphasizing the importance of learning from past tattooers. His commitment to passing down the craft to the next generation of artists at his shop, Freedom Ink, reflects his dedication to preserving the art’s authenticity. Beck’s innovative contributions, such as the patch tattoo style, demonstrated his creative prowess.

Family and Personal Life: Born on January 18, 1979, in Peoria, Beck’s upbringing was influenced by his father, a Korean War veteran who instilled in him the value of hard work. His early exposure to tattoos through his father’s military-themed ink sparked his interest in art. Beck, a family man, married Charlotte in 2004, raising a daughter and two sons together. Beyond his role as a tattoo maestro, Beck contributed to popular culture by designing the logo for the multiplatinum-selling band Fallout Boy.

Community Impact: Beck’s impact extended beyond his artistic achievements; he was a driving force in putting Peoria on the tattooing map. He expressed pride in seeing his hometown featured in magazines, asserting its coolness compared to larger cities. His commitment to the community is evident in his desire to bring people to Peoria and showcase its unique charm.

Fundraiser and Continued Support: Beck’s legacy lives on despite his passing, and a previously scheduled fundraiser at Freedom Ink will proceed as planned. The funds generated will support Beck’s family during these challenging times. This event is a testament to the camaraderie within the tattooing community and Tim Beck’s enduring impact.

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