“I fell in love with the art, as I got appreciation and then I started doing good tattoos and then I knew that I could do something much better and this is not just about making money or being cool.“
Can you tell us something about your early days?
“Right now I am 22 and my schooling was in Bangalore, I am from Pune. I chose to drop out of college when I was in second year of B.com. I coincidentally got into tattoos thinking that this would be something good. And then it happened, I fell in love with the art, I got appreciation and then I started doing good tattoos after which I knew that I could do something much better and this was not just about making money or being cool. There is much more, the culture has much more intensity and much more energy, it could spread not only happiness but everything like inspiration and that’s when I fell in love with the art, that’s when I realised that I am not just doing something cool, but something very sacred which is being followed since ages. I met many artists and then when I went to tattoo conventions I saw that this is something way big than I thought it is. So that’s how I came into this field. I couldn’t leave it, so this became my life.”
So when exactly did you start your tattoo career?
“2018. I was working with Trippink before, I did my apprenticeship there. After a while i discontinued working in Trippink. Then I started travelling, I went up to Himachal and I was working as a freelancer in a tattoo studio in Parvati Valley for 5 months. Then I came back here and I got stuck here because of Corona and had no other option, my first plan was to start a studio in Kalgah, but with no other option I had to start-up a studio here as I couldn’t sit idle, and freelance wouldn’t pay me enough for all my expenses, so that’s how I came up with the idea of starting up a studio.”
So what is your favourite part about being a tattoo artist?
“One of the best parts about being a tattoo artist is that I am doing is something that I like and my artwork is being carried throughout people’s lives. The second thing I am spreading happiness to people, of course, tattoos are happiness for some, an inspiration for some, the redemption of pain for some, and so many other things, I am very honoured that I am able to do this for them.”
Describe your art in one word
“I have thought about this many times, but since you are asking, my artist name is ‘God Kaioken’ so I would name my style of art as ‘Kaioken Art’”
Earlier, tattoos were considered to be a taboo. So do you think tattoos are still
“Not really. If you see in India, among 10 of your friends, I think 4 of them would have a tattoo and the other 3 would want to have a tattoo in this generation, so it’s evolving. In other countries, it has already evolved very much. In our country, it is very much evolving from the past few years and in the future, it will evolve even more. People already know how cool and meaningful tattoos can be. In India out of 100% of the population 60% of the people get tattooed only because it looks cool, which is fine because at the end of the day business is growing. So Tattoos are not considered taboo, at least not in the cities, but in few of the rural areas, it is still considered taboo.”
Can you tell us about the type of tattoos you like doing/personally like to do?
“I like to do line work, dot work and I also have my own style. Unrealistic stuff like imaginary characters and realistic things represented in an illusion style. Every artwork is good, until and unless the customer is satisfied.”
What do you feel about the tattoos you’ve done so far?
“I am upgrading, I am learning new things. For the past 2 years, if I see my graph, I have evolved a lot, I am growing as an artist, I am travelling and learning new things, I am a seeker. I can’t compliment my own art. Actually, no artist can.”
Being a tattoo artist, what is the most challenging thing you have to do?
“Survive and roam around in the society being a tattoo artist because when you go around in the circle of 10 people, there are a different set of career choices. A tattoo artist is a career choice, but alot of people don’t accept it. This is the main challenging part, other than this there are no challenges.
Tell us something about your hobbies
“I travel a lot. I trek and these are the main things. Apart from this, I rap in Kannada and Hindi. I do everything related to art like portrait sketches and painting. I am also into adventure, like Scuba diving. I still have to do Skydiving.”
Do you have tattoos?
“I have a lot of tattoos on my body. I also have a face tattoo. The most interesting tattoo is the Vishuddha the ‘5th Chakra’ on my neck. It is also known as the ‘Throat Chakra’ and it means freedom being free and true to what you are. This Chakra also represents artists in some ways and I think this is what I am, being completely open about things. The other interesting tattoo is
my face tattoo which says Merkaba. It is a crystal and is used for meditation. It is believed that the energy of the crystal will take you to a higher dimension. On my hand, I have a golden ratio tattoo. This tattoo represents artists and their artistic works. And I also have tattoos on my back and legs.”
Did you ever tattoo yourself?
“Yes! On my leg. It is a Mandala and it represents equality because everything is symmetrical in a Mandala.”
How was the experience of tattooing yourself?
“It was very painful and I would not recommend this to anyone (pun intended)”
Do you have any weird client stories?
“I am not able to recollect any crazy client story but I do have crazy stories because every time I tattooed, the circumstances were weird, so ‘Jugaad’ always did the trick. Once a client wanted a tattoo anyhow and there was no electricity in the studio so we went to a friend’s place to get the generator and finally the client got the tattoo. So I have stories as such.“
Did you have any mentors in the industry?
“Yes. Sachin and Rito are my mentors. When I was working in Trippink, these two were my partners, now they both have their own studios. Apart from them, I have been seeking others’ signs like Yogi and Kartik Bengre. My mentors taught me how to be a good tattoo artist and I fine tuned my skills on my own.”
Tattoos scenes in India Now vs 20 years later
“If you see In America, how tattoos are perceived now, I would say India will be at that place in 10 to 20 years. In the present time, almost every American has a tattoo and I think India would reach this spot in some years, as I have been seeing the spirit of youngsters of India to have the tattoo.”
Where would you like to see yourself in the next 5 years?
“I would be owning 3 to 4 studios across states and I would be travelling the world along with my machine because I want to be a travelling tattoo artist with a good financial status. I have value and art and that’s why I believe myself to stand up to my own expectations.”
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