Making a mark

Signature Style

Tattooing in progress.

Change is not new in the world of tattoos. From basic punching of name in black and green on arms to religious marks and Matrix-style pictures in multi-colours on all parts of body, tattooing has come a long way.

Unlike earlier, when tattoos were restricted to hands, the whole body is now a canvas for the tattoo artistes. “More and more customers are now requesting me to do tattoos of Indian mythological background with touches of Western tribal design in them. From far, it has to look like a Western design but when you come closer, you see an Indian mythological figure,” says Girish, who runs Bhrama Tattoos in the City.

“The customers want to receive a positive energy from the tattoo, so they go in for Sudharshana Chakra, mandalas, designs of yanthra, all customised to Western looks,” he adds. “Inscribing the names of loved ones in the local language is an old fashion. The new thing is to make the names a permanent fixture by colouring them in either Sanskrit or Devanagiri script. There are also people who wish to have their girlfriends’ names etched in Chinese and Japanese, so that no one understands the name,” adds Girish.

The most common and favourite religious symbol is ‘Om’. “I have an ‘Om’ surrounded by the Sun on my right shoulder. This is not just a religious symbol but also a hope of good things to happen,” says Rajeev Chakravarthy, an engineer at Prosim Research and Development Limited. Given a chance, I would like to have my sun sign Aries on my other shoulder,” he adds.

Dragon on the back. The customers also include patriots and fans of film stars, who ask the tattoo-makers to recreate the map of India and their star idols on their body. “I got a client who asked me to tattoo actor Raj Kumar on the left side of chest and another person asked me to draw the map of India on his back,” says S Vishwanathan of ‘US UK Tattooing and Body Piercing’.

“There are others who want to hide accident scars and use these tattoos in such a way that the scar or wound is hidden,” he adds. It’s not just boys who have their beloved's name on their hands, girls are daring to to do the same. “Most of the time, girls have tattoos on their lower back and on their shoulder,” says Manjunath G, of Kalki Tattoos. “Along with names, girls like to have tattoos of butterflies, cartoons and angels,” he adds.

“I have tattoos of butterflies on the shoulder, lower waist and hand. I have not thought of another tattoo, but if I wish to have one more, it would be another butterfly on the ankle,” says Shilpa Dharshani, a web developer in Kieon. “I don't go by what the trend is, I chose what suits me the best and where it would look good,” she adds.

The latest technology that is to be introduced in the City in few months time is the laser imprinting or technically-called laser branding. “Branding prevailed in India earlier also but in a crude way, like heating an iron design and placing it on the body. In the laser branding, the same principle is used but without much pain and no heating iron. You get better quality and is risk free,” says Girish, who is planning to introduce this method in a few months’ time.

The artists also say that earlier the ratio of colour used was 80 per cent black and 20 percent colour, now it’s fifty-fifty.

“Back and sides of the neck are spots where people wish to have tattoos now,” says Manjunath. “It’s better to design a tattoo like a trishul or any other big piece on the back as it gives a lot of space and less pain. More muscle and less bone means less pain,” says Girish.

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