Tattoo artists in the Capital are a tired lot. Mention an angel, fairy or a butterfly to them, and chances are, they will lose their temper. While internationally, people are getting bolder when it comes to tattoos — even going for full body suits, Delhiites, say artists, seem to be stuck in the age of “flowers and tribal designs”.
“It’s irritating when youngsters, with no knowledge of the art, ask us to draw ‘anything’,” says Lokesh of Devilz Tattooz in Greater Kailash I. He adds, “Delhiites are not open to experimenting. Six years ago, girls were getting angels, flowers and butterflies tattooed on their back shoulder and ankle, and guys were getting tribal designs or dragons on their biceps… and it’s the same even now.
When actor Saif Ali Khan got girlfriend Kareena’s name tattooed, clients started asking for a ‘Sunita’ tattoo in half Hindi and half English. It is very frustrating.” Michael Glenn Cowasji of Tattoos by Mike in CR Park says, “I have been making tattoos for 15 years and I feel really discouraged when people come asking for the same old design. I am trying to promote chest tattoos, half body tattoos and full body suits.”
The reason behind the lack of experimentation, they say, is the herd mentality. Abhishaik Madhur of Indelible Tattooz in New Friends Colony says, “People only ask for what they have seen on others. This is a land of followers, you see. They don’t even know if a certain tattoo will suit their skin tone or not. No one wants a tattoo on the stomach or an unexposed area. They all want it where they can show it off.”
Cowasji adds, “Another reason is that tattoo artists here are relatively inexperienced when compared to those abroad, so there is a general lack of trust among people, and they stick to what is safe.”
Unlike in the West, parents also play a role in deciding designs here. A tattoo artist in Punjabi Bagh, wishing to remain anonymous, says, “It’s anyway a tough task for youngsters to seek permission from their parents. So they stick to safe tattoos and get something their family would approve of. When I suggest something fancy or crazy, they say, ‘mom will scold’.”
Not everyone’s boring, though. Simit Kher, 28, a Gurgaon resident shows off his Pink Floyd tattoo. He says, “I got their album cover tattooed as a tribute.” Another Delhiite survived a near-death incident, and got a symbol of new life tattooed. It’s time others followed suit.