On World Tattoo Day, artists from Chandigarh tell us how to make a mark | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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On World Tattoo Day, artists from Chandigarh tell us how to make a mark

On World Tattoo Day today, artists and inked citizens from Chandigarh share their stories of getting inked.

art and culture Updated: Jul 17, 2018 16:08 IST
Shilpa Ambardar and Subhashree Nanda
Shilpa Ambardar and Subhashree Nanda
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
World Tatoo Day,Tatoo Day,Tatoo
The origin of the word tattoo can be traced to the Tahitian ‘tatu’, meaning to mark something.(Keshav Singh/HT, Instagram)

“I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach,” says American tattoo artist and musician Kat Von D. There is something about certain experiences in life, happy or sad, which change the course of your life and open a door to your soul.

Seeing that invisible thread waving on your skin like it always belonged there is a feeling difficult to capture in words.

On World Tattoo Day, tattoo artists and inked citizens converse about their tales in a tête-à-tête.

Struggling to sail through rough times, a Delhi-based transport planner Jyotiraditya Verma, 25, who has a wolf-tattoo, says,“I was consistently fighting self-doubt.I wanted something to make me feel strong and close to my personality. And what better than a wolf, who is fiercely loyal and no matter what stays with his pack.”

After a major fire incident, a Meraki writer who goes by the name @burnmark, has a ‘still I rise’ tattoo. She says, “While others saw the incident as a standstill, I saw it as a new beginning. Just like a phoenix is reborn from its ashes, I rose from the incident. I made it a point to stand strong and pursue my dream of being a writer and help others sail through their struggles.”

Professional training is a must to become a tattoo artist. (Keshav Singh/HT, Instagram)

Origin of the word

The origin of the word tattoo traces to the Tahitian word ‘tatu’ meaning to mark something. The art of tattooing is not new and has been practised since pre-historic times across the globe. If anything, the art has only evolved with the changing era.

Carrying the passion of art in his heart, Chandigarh-based tattoo artist, Ajay Verma, 29, of AK Tattoo Studio, says, “I have been drawing since I was a kid.”

Talking about what inspired him to take it up professionally, he says, “A tattoo is like a life time allegiance.I wanted to be a part of that journey with different people and give them something to carry for life.”

“It is like a mark of memory and I wanted to be the maker of that mark,” says Verma, who has been in the field for seven years now. “It is a humble advice to all the budding artists, never ever practice on your client. First, perfect your art, only then join the field because every tattoo has an emotional connect.”

tattoo artist Vishal Manhas, 22, of Youngistaan Tattoos, says, “As a kid, when I used to visit the village melas, the tattoo artists used to intrigue me and a part of me knew I was meant to do this.”

Talking about a project that was close to his heart, Manhas says,“Once a girl whose brother had passed away wanted to get inked. I clicked a picture of some of his belongings like his spectacles and tattooed them on her.”

Manhas says, “One cannot be a tattoo artist just by watching a few YouTube videos. Professional training is a must. Also, the artists should have completed a blood-borne pathogens and communicable diseases course, approved by the health department, and passed it with at least 70% marks.”

“Treat tattoo artists with respect. Don’t see a tattoo as a taboo. It is as much a piece of art as the one done on a canvas,” says Manhas.

Go to a licenced studio and ensure sterilised equipment. (Keshav Singh/HT, Instagram)

A Potterhead & a traveller

A Potterhead since the age of 11, Neelofar Acharya, now 25, says “Harry Potter is not just a story or character. It is the part of my identity. It is not just fiction for me, it is a piece of my soul.”

Acharya who has designed the tattoo herself, carefully combining her favourite characters and symbols from the series, says, “After I saw it on my arm, I relived my childhood in that moment again and nothing can beat that beautiful feeling.”

A Phd scholar at SPA Delhi, Amal Jose, 28, says “I waited for over three years to finally make up mind about getting inked as it is like a life time commitment towards my body. The cross tattoo is a way to express myself. I am emotionally attached to it.”

Chandigarh-based RJ Mehak Chauhan, 26, who has got the word ‘musafir’ inked in her mother’s handwriting says, “I wanted something that I never regret.The meaning of my tattoo is a traveller as I believe, we all are travellers in the journey of life.”

The common fact binding all the people who got inked is all of them feel proud of it and are planning on what to get next.

Myths about blood donation

If you have one or more tattoos, you can donate blood only if you meet certain requirements. Firstly, you may not be allowed to donate blood if your tattoo is less than six-month-old. This is because donating blood after getting inked though uncommon, but may carry blood-borne infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, etc.

But if you are disease-free, have good hemoglobin levels and have a tattoo that is older than the said period, you can donate blood.

Before getting inked

· If you have any health conditions —especially heart or blood related — contact a doctor first.

· If you are taking any medications, let the artist know about it as they may alter the healing process of the tattoo.

· Drinking alcohol before getting a tattoo can thin the blood and make the tattoo hurt more.

· Eat a good meal prior to getting tattooed.

· Some areas on your body will need touch-ups later. Discuss that in detail.

· If you have any queries, clear them from your artist.

Eat well and avoid alcohol before getting tattooed. (Keshav Singh/HT, Instagram)

While getting tattooed

· Don’t attempt to tattoo yourself or have an untrained friend do it. Go to a reputable studio with proper licensing standards.

· Make sure that the tattoo artist washes his/her hands and wears a fresh pair of gloves for each procedure.

· Ensure that the artist uses proper equipment. Ask him/her to use the needle from sealed packages. Any pigment, trays or containers should also be unused.

· Make sure that the artist sterilizes all non-disposable equipment between customers.

· Check the expiration date of the ink before you get tattooed.

Aftercare

· Wash your hands before touching the tattoo to avoid infections.

· Remove the bandage 3 to 6 hours after getting inked. Wash the area gently without using soap.

· Dry your tattoo by patting it with a clean cotton cloth or tissue lightly. Do not rub it.

· Use ointment till a week after getting tattooed to avoid dryness.

· Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight and away from tanning booths for the first 10-14 days.

· Your tattoo may flake or peel. Do not scratch it as that may remove the ink and damage your tattoo.

· If you think you are allergic to the tattoo, aftercare products, or feel that you have an infection, consult a doctor.

Symptoms of tattoo infection

· Fever

· Prolonged or severe pain, redness, and swelling

· Sores or release of thick, white or yellow fluid

· Extreme or an unquenchable thirst

· Hard, red bumps or wounds on the tattooed area

· Diarrhoea

· Nausea and vomiting

Common tattoos and their significance

Semi-colon: Mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention

Pink ribbon: Breast cancer awareness

Purple ribbon butterfly: Epilepsy awareness

Butterfly: Beauty, metamorphosis, rebirth, and change

Maori: Create your own identity

Inguz: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Om: Beginning and end of life

Anchor: Strength and stability

Lotus: Achieving enlightenment

Zen circle: Inner strength and enlightenment

Birds: Freedom and hope

Roses/Hearts: Passion

Stars: Brightness, progress, hope

Cross: Faith, believe that Jesus is on earth

Infinity: Unceasing love and faith, rebirth and reincarnation

If you are on medication, let the artist know as it may affect healing. (Keshav Singh/HT, Instagram)
Before getting inked, contact a doctor if you have a heart or blood-related condition. (Keshav Singh/HT, Instagram)

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First Published: Jul 17, 2018 13:10 IST