From being used as a status symbol to beautifying the body, tattoo culture is not new to India. From labyrinthine designs to intricate geometric patterns, communities flaunted their tattoos for several reasons. Over the years, the subculture made an organic shift to pop culture. And if you are waiting to subscribe to the inked community, here is your chance. The Heartwork Tattoo Festival 2018 is back with its fourth edition. Speaking ahead of the festival, co-founder of Body Canvas Tattoos, Mickey Malani shares his expectations from this festival, challenges of the Indian market and his advice to people attending for the first time.
“We have some legends of the tattoo industry coming from across the country. But there are also artists who do not speak a common language and that is a huge barrier at such festivals,” he says.
Talking about the challenges of tattoo artists, he says, “Outside India, tattoo artists have the freedom to stick to one style and making a living. On the other hand, tattoo artists in India have to find alternative professions to keep afloat because India is yet to mature for artists,” says Malani.
Tattoo artists are also facing a lot of health-related challenges. “There are no medical hands serving this industry. You could be anyone with no knowledge of how to use the equipment or dispose your needles and take care of blood tissues or knowhow of aftercare, and you could be in this profession. That is very risky.”
Ensuring that first-timers are at ease, Malani shares tips for those interested in the festival, “When you have such kind of talent coming to the event for such short period of time, it is good to do the homework. You are more likely to get an artist who can make the kind of tattoo in the very style you want. So you can hunt the artist down,” he says, adding, “Also keep in mind that not all artists will draw in the style that you want. It is a three-day event, so there will be a lot of art displayed. Don’t be overwhelmed or choose something that the artist might not be able to complete. Also, it is wise to have knowledge of aftercare.”