Living in the Bigg Boss House for three months seems bad enough. But internationally acclaimed tattoo artiste and TV show host, Ami James has been living with a camera hovering around his home, work, friends and even customers, for over six years.
The reality show, Miami Ink, premiered in 2005 and since then has led to a series of spin-offs including LA Ink and London Ink in 2007. The subject of the original show was James’ parlour, Love Hate Tattoo.
Looking back at the days when he was just a tattoo artiste, James says, “A reality show gives you a form of fame. It’s something that you are not aware of until it happens. And when fame comes, certain things are lost forever or for a while.” Explaining that he misses freedom the most, he adds, “You lose some things you used to enjoy, like being able to just do your thing and not being bothered by your surroundings. In a way, you get robbed of things that you used to love. But there are perks. You’re able to provide for your family.”
A few months ago, James moved to New York for Miami Ink’s latest spin-off, NY Ink, which goes on air in India on November 10 on TLC in the 10 pm slot. For the first season of this show, James has set up his new stop, Wooster St. Social Club Tattoo Studio in New York City. “There are different styles of tattooing right now that are a little more hip. And New York definitely has its own flavour,” he says, adding that when the show began, he just thought of it as a cool promotional tool. “We started with six episodes, and I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve got a great commercial for my shop, and this will probably be it.’”
Though James says he “would love to visit India” he hasn’t been able to do so far. Recalling some of the most bizarre tattoos, he says, “A face tattooed on the back. It was really odd. So, he would be able to watch his back. I was like, that’s pretty crazy.”