Vikas from Purple Monk Tattoo Studio believes “Art never ends, once you get a hold of it, it becomes your escape”
“Drawing is my passion. I started drawing during my childhood. I’m a left hand artist, so for studies I had a lil bit of a problem being a lefty. After I finished my 12th, a friend suggested that I learn animation. So I spent 2 years doing 3D character designing and modelling.”
“After some time, we friends started our own small animation studio. Our business wasn’t making much money so we decided to start a tattoo business as a backup, after all we’re artists. So I worked as a tattoo artist at the shop called Tribal Group in Mangalore as my investment was nothing. I took tattoo designing as a part time job. As we were a group of 6-7 friends, we decided that half people would work part-time and the rest half would focus on the animation business.”
“Earning money seemed easier in the tattoo business than animation. Animation required us to make a demo design, then send it for approval, do the correction. One animation took us approximately 10 days, so it was very time consuming. That’s when we realised that making tattoos were much better than investing so much time sitting in front of the computers.”
“And in our group only 4-5 people liked tattoo designing, so we spent 5 years at that tattoo shop doing what we best loved. The tattoo business was growing well so I decided that I’ll go abroad and study tattoo designing. I got offers from Malaysia and Thailand but my parents didn’t agree “
“One of my friends from Bangalore invited me to work there and suggested we start our own tattoo studio. In between that, I used to conduct drawing and clay art classes. As someone who’s from the coastal line, I also knew sand art, so I taught that as well. But all of these were time pass activities, there was no way I could earn my bread and butter from it. I only did it out of pure passion for art.
So around 2008, I started my own tattoo studio in Bangalore called Purple Monk Tattoo Studio. A friend of mine had been to Nepal so he knew quite a bit about tattoo designing, so he came to Bangalore for 2 weeks and taught me a few things.”
“Our clients started loving our work and appreciated us for the designs, that’s when I truly found my calling, I felt appreciated. And everyone told me that my decision to start a tattoo studio was the best decision rather than sitting in front of a computer for hours. “
“My favourite part about being a tattoo artist is the connection with people. Every single person who comes to get a tattoo has a story to tell and I think it’s beautiful. Compared to any other industry, the tattoo industry is much more connecting. You’re listening to new stories every day.”
“Art never ends, once you get a hold of it, it becomes your escape. Especially in the case of tattoos, people come once and let me tell you it’s impossible for a person to not get inked again, and the journey never ends.
“Initially, the most common misconception about tattoo artists and people who get tattoos was that they’re either a gangster or a drug addict. My parents for example do not know that I run a tattoo studio, they think I’m running an animation studio. Tattoo surely was a taboo back when I started but I don’t think it still is.” “Things are different now, a whole bunch of family including a granny had come to get a tattoo. A 70 year old lady from the US had also come to me to get herself inked. Isn’t that cool? Surprisingly, people with diabetes also visited me of course after doctor’s advice, but you see, things are different
now than they were earlier.”
“Also, there are emotional moments for us. Clients who come to get a portraits inked on their body mostly have a very heart touching story. I mean obviously, you are getting a whole person tattooed on your body, how close they must be to them.”
“There’s a big difference between how people saw tattoos a decade ago. Most of the time they got a tattoo because they wanted to get one or because it was cool. Things are different now, you know that you’re not just getting colours inked in your body, it’s not just a tattoo, these are emotions that people want to cherish throughout their lives, and it is beautiful.”
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