As masks add to discomfort, tattoo sessions staggered

As masks add to discomfort,tattoo sessions staggered

Studios are witnessing walk-ins after months of zero business, and are modifying their operations to address pandemic concerns

Dark Arts The Tattoo Studio in Koramangala works on just one client a day.

Tattoo artists were allowed to resume business in August, but they are only witnessing significant walk-ins.

Since tattooing involves needles, dyes and pigments, the risk of infection is a bigger worry during a pandemic, and not many customers were willing to make a visit to the studio.

Karthik Bengre of Sculp Tattoo Studio recalls how phone enquiries rarely translated into visits. “But more clients are coming in since the end of November,” he says. The studio is now working on an average of one customer a day. “We used to see more tourists coming to us. Since the lockdown was lifted, Bengalureans are showing interest,” he says. Studios aren’t encouraging older customers though, since the risks are higher.

Chirag Rao of Skin Deep Tattoo Studio says customers are more cautious than before. “Most ask for small or medium-sized tattoos. Sometimes we ask them to come back to complete the tattoo. It’s hard for many to wear the mask as they feel breathless and uncomfortable,” he explains. Tattoo artists are also getting tested periodically to ensure they are Covid-free.  Their overall expenses, however, have gone up. Pradeep Menon of Dark Arts The Tattoo Studio says many items used to come from SouthEast Asia. “But because of the ban on imports, we have to get them from Europe and the USA. With the pandemic, the shipment gets delayed and we have to pay high excise duty. We have had to increase the prices,” he explains. 

Tattooing at clients’ homes was common before the pandemic. But the Karnataka State Tattoo Studios and Artist Association is discouraging it.  Pradeep, also president of the association, says, “It is risky for the tattoo artist. But sometimes the artists have to pay their bills and so take it up,” he says.

In memoriam

Some people are getting tattoos of the names of loved ones lost to the pandemic.