Planning to get inked and don’t know where to go? This weekend, you may be spoilt for choice as over 25 tattoo artists from across the country make way to the city, for what is touted to be India’s first tattoo convention.
Armed with a machine and some indelible ink, the Indian Ink Tattoo Convention that hopes to provide a platform to home-grown tattoo artists, will showcase works by a mix of Indian and international talent. Among the design exports are Mohan Gurung, a leading tattoo artist from Nepal, who recently organised a tattoo convention in his home country, and Johnny, a celebrated artist from Singapore. The duo will judge the event, which features exhibitions, interactive sessions and tattoo art competitions. “I was initially surprised to see people getting tattooed on the streets with no safety measures. But it’s changing,” says Johnny, who has visited the country on multiple occasions. Ask him what he hopes to take home from this convention, and he adds, “I’m deeply interested in Indian culture and admire Ganesha. I’ve tried to adapt Indian designs in many of my tattoos and am hoping to learn the Indian scriptures.”
Back home, tattoo artists are overjoyed to have their own congregation. “We’ve been the pioneers of the tattoo industry in India”, says Olly from Bandra’s famous Al’s Tattoo Studio. “We want the new generation of artists to be well-versed with the proper techniques of tattooing. The success of Indian Ink will only make the booming tattoo industry more aware of the safety norms.” The convention aims to make body art a respectable career option in India. “It’s a great platform for top tattoo artists of the country to interact with each other and share ideas. This will only help in breaking the stereotypical image of being wild and a street art form,” says Roshan Paul of Inkology, another participant.
However, those like Aamir of Inks Inc have other reasons to join the group. “Our main concern is that most artists are not professionally trained. With the help of events like these, skilled artists will be able to come to the fore, and the not so good ones, will well, fade out.” And if you thought they didn’t have an agenda, Paul spells it out, “With its success, by 2015, half of Mumbai will be tattooed.”
Johnny’s safety tips:
Disposable equipment is a must.
Needles, gloves and ink, should never be reused. The equipment used for tattoos must be sterilised.
There should be no bodily contact between the customer and the tattoo artist while the tattoo is being made.