QUEEN’S ROAD: One of the major issues with getting inked is the fear of being stigmatised in the workplace - or the fear of not even being able to get a job at all. Tattoos used to be common only among sailors, prison inmates, or rebels, but over the last few decades,they have evolved into a form of personal expression. Though there is a debate in work environments about whether visible tattoos are acceptable in the professional world, the evolution of tattoos has brought this controversial form of art to a new social realm.
While it’s not entirely known what spurred us to tattoo our bodies, we do know that tattoos date way back to pre-historic tribes and ancient mummies. Mankind has always had some need or love for the tattoo art form. Many cultures throughout the ages have used hand-poked tattoo techniques for their religious and tribal beliefs, just like in India. A few decades back, you would only see the unlettered tattooed with their own names so they could sign documents.
When tattooing moved from the ancient world to Europe and the United States, the age of electric tattooing was born. And throughout the end of the last century, the tattoo fever kept spreading across the globe. As the years progressed, the type of clients sitting in the tattooist’s chair kept changing too.
In the past, the tattoo shop was far from being an everyday experience located in a respectable environment. Street shops back then usually attracted what society at the time would call a “less than classy” clientele. Still many different types and classes of people gravitated towards tattoo parlours. Again, as the times changed, so did the shops. Along with the shops came an even more diversified group of artists and clients. “I have even tattooed a 65- year- old NRI from the US who got two arm sleeve tattoos. I have tattooed a couple with rings to mark their engagement! Software engineers, entrepreneurs, industrialists, real estate tycoons, architects, lawyers, models, college students are just a few of my clients," says tattoo artist, Veer Hegde.
Young people, says he, are starting to get tattoos as a way of rebelling against society and some are just following the trends of modern culture. Many get tattooed simply for the love of the art. For a few, a tattoo is all about carrying a thought, a belief or a favourite quote with them as they journey though life.
“Tattoos are a higher form of self expression. They are a permanent piece of art or a symbolic statement on your body which can inspire you and direct you in life. A tattoo should be unique like the person you are. Like a fingerprint of your mind. That is exactly why we discourage imitating tattoos that are on someone else," Hegde says. Though the streets of Bengaluru are not yet flooded with tattoo parlours, many have sprouted over the last few years. It is no longer a taboo to have a tattoo according the majority of Bengalureans.
“Tattooing is universal and timeless. Now in Bengaluru and across India, as people understand what tattoos are all about and what power they hold, there is a growing respect for the art form and the artist,'' says Veer Hegde whose shop is called, Eternal Expression Tattoo, for a reason.