“Before tattooing, I was an Engineer by profession and I used to take-up defence projects. I started tattooing part-time and got featured in the news. 10 years back, you’d get a tribal tattoo or just a name, etc. So, that time I used to do multicolored, 3-dimensional tattooing, etc. and that’s why I got featured in the news. That was in my early days, so the whole local TV news channels featured me. I got a lot of appreciation for that, from my local area and almost the whole Bangalore city. After this, I took a backseat in my Engineering job because I got a lot of response for my tattoo art and met a lot of people from different backgrounds and I also made friends and socialized, because that was important too.”
“My family is a business based family, so they were never into any art. My dad was into imported cars, which is my family business. Vijay Mallya got the first imported cars from us, even the Ambanis. This was before, but now we have Lamborghini showrooms and Porsche showrooms. My dad’s success triggered me, and I wanted to have my own brand. He was like a Godfather in his profession, and that was inspired to create my own legacy. In Engineering, you won’t get credit.
Your seniors would take your work and claim it to be theirs, play politics, etc. It broke my spirit and it would never let me create my legacy. Then the thing that snapped me was the legacy of the artists, actors, singers, etc. even if they’re gone, they’re still remembered, then I decided that this was what I want to do in my life. I started my tattooing journey 12 years back.”
Favourite part about being a tattoo artist:
“Tattooing is all about getting to meet people and giving them a permanent bond, a mark that’ll always be part of them and inspires them, because for me tattooing isn’t only about designing and sending the client off, it is about touching people’s lives and giving them a memory along with a better version of themselves. For instance, there was a person who sat down in the studio and asked me to get a design he showed, then I asked him why he wanted it, his reply was I just like the design. My answer was no, I won’t do it. I am the first person on record in the whole country, who actually tattoos with this philosophy.”
Art in one word
“I have given you different names, but one of the words that really describe my art is Alchemy. It is a process of transforming metal into a noble metal, so applying to my art, it is to bring out the best of a person.”
Tattoo a taboo?
“Every city has its own school of tattooing. I just tattooed a 65-year-old lady, after I tattooed her daughter, a Hindi teacher in Bangalore. So, she got her mom and her mom told me, “I am a 65-year-old woman and in our village, it is a tradition of girls getting tattooed because if you won’t get tattooed, you won’t go to heaven”. These beliefs are so common, across different cultures
around the world, it is not even an Indian belief, it is like a rendition of the same belief, as a pattern, and since it is like a pattern, it cannot be ignored. Tattooing has a lot of spiritual value, it can protect you from negative powers. Tattooing has been an ancient practice in India and it has never been a taboo until you’ve been through different cultural changes in the last 100 years. In today’s
generation, everyone’s grandparents have tattoos, or at least anybody who has lived in the last 50-60 years. So, tattooing has never been a taboo.”
“As an artist, I believe you should never say that you’re a God of tattooing. Every artist has his own style, I have my own style. All of my work has come through an old school machine and two days ago I held the new tattoo machine and my reaction was “DAMN”, all of a sudden I went from riding a Ghoda Gaadi to Rolls Royce, so I’m excited to know what I am going to be creating for the next
couple of months.”
“Tattooing has always been hard work, unlike sitting in an office, signing some papers or making a deal, tattooing is hours of focus, patience, dedication, and efforts; even surgeries don’t go so long.
There are still some people who think it is easy to work, but no, it has a lot of hard work and dedication along with patience.”
The story of the most interesting tattoo
“It was 7-8 years back, one of my very close friends now, back then he was a client who walked down the studio and said, ‘I wanna get my fiance’s name as a tattoo and hearts and an infinity symbol.’ Then I asked him why, he replied ‘because I just proposed to this girl and I love her’, then I urged him to get something exciting. So we made a tattoo from an actual heartbeat from the ECG machine through a body check-up, and since then I’ve been tattooing their entire family.”
Tattoo – A Feeling
“As mentioned above, my tattoos are more than just a design. It is a feeling, a bond that’ll stay forever, and a connection between the owner of the tattoo and the art. Inspiring people and giving them a memory has always been my purpose!”
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