On world tattoo day, we spoke to three Tattoo artists and designers from the city to learn about the ongoing trends.
Tattoos are one of the most intimate yet boldest expressions of one's personality, each with it's own story. We have come a long way ever since tattoos were only a traditional legacy of the tribal communities in India. What was a part of a cultural expression of small tribes can now be spotted on anyone's arms as a fad called 'tribal tattoos'. Not only that, tattoos have also found a place in Bollywood narrative. How can anyone forget Amitabh Bacchan's legendary Mera Baap Chor Hai (My father is a thief) tattoo in Deewar?. Moreover, the whole premise of the movie Ghajini was a possibility because of this art form. And so, as popular, fashionable and common they may be, to achieve a feat of being able to draw them on other people's bodies, is a difficult one.
On this International World Tattoo Day, we interacted with city's three tattoo artists Chirag Jhala, Olly Alva, and Sunny Bhanushali to get a peek into what goes on in their right hemisphere of the brain.
Expertise and Trends
Sunny, who owns a tattoo studio Aliens Tattoo, is the first one to bring realism tattoos to India. Realism style involves making exact copies of photographs or images on the skin. Talking about his style, he says, "I am the first in India who brought realism tattoos in the circuit. I used to see a lot of international artists and would think that maybe I can do it. I did a lot of experiments and found out a few techniques that could work on Indian skin, and from there on I did a lot of realism work and switched to colour realism, and now hyperrealism". He observes religious and mythological imagery as a prevalent trend. "If we are talking about Indian clients getting a tattoo, 80% get religious or spiritual tattoos," he says.
Meanwhile, the owner of Inks and Needles studio, one of the oldest tattoo studios of the city, Chirag holds expertise in colour work and freestyle. Talking about freestyle, he says, "I have chosen this simply because it allows me to capture various styles in one tattoo, which kind of keeps me fresh. It could be from old cultures like India and Japan, next to modern modern contemporary art from Paris among others. You can mix these two and then there is something always fresh and new to look at." Further, he finds watercolor, mandala, and geometric styles and designs trending with his customers.
Olly, of the famous Al's Tattoo, incorporates the traditional Indian art forms in his design to cater to oriental requests from foreigners. He says, "I get a lot of foreigners wanting Indian art. So, I cater to artforms like Gond Art, Kalamkari, and Warli. We study a lot Indian art forms and try to imbibe that in our designs." He observes the revival of the Indian art in tattoo designs on a global front. He adds, "If you see world over, the biggest artists are coming back with the dots, lines of Gond and Mandala art. Wearing them has become much more finer with different kind of new machines that people are using."