TWALKITOUT: A tattoo artist (also tattooer or tattooist) is an individual who applies permanent decorative tattoos, often in an established business called a “tattoo shop,” “tattoo studio” or ‘”tattoo parlor.” Tattoo artists usually learn their craft via an apprenticeship under a trained and experienced mentor. But for some, the art comes with experience and hence, they land up forging pieces of art on skin.
Although armed forces would distance themselves from the tattoo lovers during selections, but if you are not in a pulse to join them, tattoos have become the really in stuff amongst youth and grown-ups. I remember a mother of two getting a tattoo on her waist at the age of 31. Tattoos are becoming more than just a matter of fashion or choice; they have become a statement or rather an integral part of their personality, those of them who have them.
To get a deeper peep into tattoo art in India, we bring you a conversation at “Back Stage” with a young tattoo artist Ajay Sharma. Ajay discovered his passion for art and tattooing fairly early and realized the potential in market for his art. “Tattooing is not just an Art for me! It’s a way of living”, he said.
On being asked about his perception about a tattoo, he says, “Tattoos are to enjoy. Tattoos are to make statements-even if that statement is only to you. They could be tribal, personal, seen by millions and sometimes seen by none bar those who created them.”
WHAT GOT YOU INTO IT?
I started sketching and painting way back, can’t even remember the exact date or how old would I have been back then. But I could see cartoons changing into landscapes, landscapes into live sketching and live sketching into portraying.
Being a keen learner and a curious kid i learnt a lot of new forms and art techniques, like pointillism, abstract paintings, impressionism and a lot of other forms in a very early stage. It never came in a day.
I somehow got the feeling that this is it! I can shift my art form from Canvas to Skin. As the thumb rule suggests: “Always seek for the next level”.
I continued my passion and started painting temporary on Skin and organized a Tattoo Event in my college fest “Algorythm” for two years in a row. So the next level in front of me was permanent tattooing.
And since then there was no turning back 🙂
We’ve always noticed a psychological barrier amongst parents to keep their kids streamlined towards conventional career fields, as the trend has got rooted deep. HOW DID YOU TAKE A STAND AT HOME?
As being born in an Indian Family, I also faced some setbacks like, “this isn’t getting you anywhere “tattoos are for show-offs”, “get good grades and search a job instead and get settled” etc.
I still remember the day ,I borrowed money from my room-mate and ordered my Machine , because i wanted to do everything on my own and didn’t ask for support from my parents.
I don’t know if they’re proud of me or not but now they are happy because instead of getting into a rat race (getting a job and salary in the month end, like everyone around does ) I created a business for me from my passion ! And I guess that is the best job one could get.
Now as every business needs some research and numbers to go on with, where do you think the tattoo industry falls in India? HOW BIG IS THE OPPORTUNITY?
No exact figures are available that outline the size of the tattoo industry in India, but several years ago it was about around 5000 tattoo parlors which grew up to 14000 in 2012, making somewhere north to $1.2 Billion annually and it’s still blooming because people get a fancy about tattoos and if they get inked, they have something to flaunt! Rest depends on person to person but still it’s a 5000 year old art form and will continue as long as human beings are alive. You just have to work every day for the reputation. When you do what you like, it’s never difficult!
Ajay, now let’s drill down to the fear of getting sexually transmitted diseases and other fatal symptoms in a commoner’s mind for getting a tattoo. People want to get a tattoo yet they cannot gather the courage because we have seen a number of cases in the past. Do you think such incidents can be avoided? HOW SAFE IT IS TO GET A TATTOO AND WHAT ARE THE PRECAUTIONS REQUIRED?
The biggest challenge for tattoo business is Fake wannabe artists. They tattoo for a few bucks and risk the health of people.
We need to take care of a lot of things while tattooing. Sterilizing the instruments, using a new needle every time, autoclaving and proper aftercare .Honestly it’s a full-fledged system which we need to follow, to get the best results.
As it’s said, “Good tattoos are not cheap and cheap tattoos are not good “.
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and wisdom with us. We wish the young tattoo artist all the best for his endeavors and the look forward to future of Tattoo Art in India. Hope this interaction answers a lot of questions in your mind.
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