CHENNAI: For many people, a 9-to-5 job is all it takes to kill their ‘passion’. They ask, ‘Is that what I want to do all my life?’ Many find what they want to do as interest, hobby, incident or in this case, through a friend. Sekar, a tattoo artist, bid farewell to his job as a system manager and found his bliss in tattoos.
“My friend who owned a tattoo parlour, opened a paintball business in ECR. I began to help him and was involved for a year. That year I had a lot of practical training at the studio and soon decided to open my own tattoo studio. It’s been five great years now,” he smiles, as we chat at Yantra Tattoos, Nungambakkkam.
But he didn’t find it easy to get started. He had already used up all his savings and was yet to build an establishment. “No loans. With the help of my wife and family, we opened a small studio with minimalistic furniture. After which, as our business grew through word of mouth, I used the income to improve it,” he says, adding that the sofa we sat on was a replacement for plastic chairs.
Having inked 2,000 designs, Sekar believes that more than academic knowledge, a person needs a sound training. “Tattooing is more about stenciling, perfection and a personal touch to it. Initially I practiced a lot on paper and fake skin. When I began working on people, it was easier as the ‘canvas’ is smoother. So, yes, a proper practical training is required.”
But guess what’s more important? Observation. “I used to listen to the little queries of clients, and the responses they received. You learn a lot more that way. Even now, as an artist, I observe their mannerisms because that is important. You need to understand their personality, let them talk, make them comfortable, and have patience until they trust you completely with the needle,” he grins. Customer handling is about 80% of the task.
With a single dollar inked on his chest, Sekar hopes to get more tattoos from other artists at different conventions that are held in the country. “I’m happy here. Unlike my previous job where there was never the opportunity to see in real-time how my work made a difference to people, here, I get to see their excitement and satisfaction almost immediately. It feels great!”
Along with a female artist, Sekar may extend his business soon. Yantra Tattoos is located in Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. For details, call 09444227772.