For youth, the skin is a canvas

One of the women artists at the event.

The three-day ‘Inksoul Tattoo Festival’, which concluded recently, brought together tattoo artists from around the world. Tattoo enthusiasts in the city were enthused to meet their favourite artists and get inked. The event saw the participation of around 150 tattoo artists from across the country as well as international artists.

Rubaina Kunder came to help out at the event and to look at the new designs so that she could get a tattoo done for herself. “This is South India’s time to represent and show what we have got,” she said.

“The event was bigger and better this time,” said Bhavith Narayan from Aatman tattoos who attracts the IT crowd more than the youngsters with his customised sleeve designs. He enjoys doing colour tattoos and new school realism, a style mostly inspired by Japanese and street culture focusing more on old traditional inspirations to draw religious tattoos.

There were artists specialising in the uniquely Indian Mandala tattoos. Many tattoo artists made full use of the opportunity to learn from other artists and a few could be seen exchanging their ideas and thoughts.

Sunil CK from Mysuru, who owns ‘Tattoo Impact’, was a first time participant. “I’m giving my art to them for a lifetime” says he when asked about his passion for tattoos. Having customised designs for foreign tourists as well, Sunil says he creates designs with the clients in mind."

Mayur Sharma from Surat, who’s been tattooing for four years now, attracts clients who are around 20 to 30 years old. ‘LA ink’ on TLC was his inspiration to become a tattoo artist. He’s also promoting Indian art and the beauty of mandalas.

“We’re also promoting Indian art,” says Sachin Sherekar’s wife, who supported his plan of quitting his banking job and embracing his passion for tattooing. Sachin’s speciality is mandalas, which he has been doing for the past 10 years.

A small but growing number of women artistes are also making their mark in this male-dominated field. These women were all praises for this event. “After watching tattoo artists on television, I thought it would be great to pursue my passion for art in a different way. I would always see men doing it so the major motivation was to break stereotypes. People in this
field are very welcoming; everyone looks at the art above gender,” said Neha Kanjilal, a tattoo artist from Calcutta.

Searching for a field to hone her artistic skills after graduating, Naina Jain Chandani met her mentor-turned-husband who taught her the art. “It’s a male-dominated industry. I have not seen many female tattoo artists; maybe their families don’t support them. Even mine didn’t but I was determined to be in this field where you can ink your own dreams.”

The event saw a number of people coming to know about the different kinds of tattoos and to meet their favourite artists. There were also performances by bands playing and a flea market for visitors to carry home some good memories and memoirs.

“This a platform where tattoo enthusiasts can remove the stigma that tattoos are only for the very bold. I feel a tattoo is the one of the most faithful things in life; we all ought to have one,” said Chayya, a visitor.

“There is no better canvas than having your body. I am something of a tattoo-collector. This event is fantastic because you cant always travel to get inked by your favourite artists and that is possible now,” said Pradeep while getting inked.

One of the tattoo artists launched his tattoo truck at the event. He plans on traveling throughout the country, tattooing as he goes. “I intend on exploring art (and the cuisine) in various forms. For the next six months, I will travel across Karnataka. I also have plans to travel to London,” said Sumanth, ‘Wtzurxcuse’ tattoo truck.

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For youth, the skin is a canvas

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