KOCHI: Every time Eric Edward introduced himself as a tattoo artist to people in his hometown in Alleppey, he heard one question being thrown back at him. “So you do pachakuth?” It didn’t take long for Eric to decide that he will make people’s dismissive or sometimes even derisive understanding of his art his identity. Another factor propelled the 23-year-old.
During his stay in Europe while studying architecture in Poland, Eric observed that many businesses, even multi-national ones, were named in the local language. “Imagine if I open a branch in New York and the board says ‘Pachakuth’, that would be so cool,” says Eric, talking about his brand and tattoo studio located on MG Road, Kochi.
Considering the buzz he has created among the hip and happening folks of the city, one would imagine Eric to have cemented his goodwill over many years, climbing the ladder step by step by perfecting his craft, as is mostly the case in any creative space.
On the contrary, Eric is new to the city, having landed only a year ago. His studio, started in September last year, is brand new. Currently all booked for the next couple of months, one can attribute Eric’s success to his exquisite skill in shading and a genuine passion for his work.
A three-time architecture college dropout, Eric was determined to earn his living by doing what he loves. Although naturally inclined towards art since a young age, his tryst with tattooing was quite serendipitous. “After passing out from school, my parents wanted me to study architecture.
I enrolled in a college in Bengaluru but realised I wasn’t cut out for it so I dropped out. I travelled and sold my paintings. When I got home, I was told I can pursue fine arts but only after graduating with an architecture degree. I googled the fastest way to complete the course and found that one can get the degree in just three-and-a-half years in Poland. The fee was also affordable so I went. There I met a few amateur tattoo artists and started experimenting with it myself,” says Eric.
After coming back to India and a few freelance commissions later, he realised he had to improve his skill. This prompted Eric to join a three-month tattoo course in Mumbai which involved practising for eight hours a day everyday.While formal training accorded the requisite expertise, it also helped Eric find his niche style that he hopes he would specifically be recognised for. His detailed creations have bold motifs, rich colours, broad strokes and an impeccable play of light and shade.
“The style I am drawn towards is called neo-traditional in the tattoo world. However, I like to add elements of surrealism in my designs. There are very few artists who do neo-traditional tattoos in India in the strict sense of the word. In Kochi, the scene is very commercial. People are not aware that they have to approach a particular artist for a certain kind of work. You can’t go to a portrait artist and ask him to draw a landscape so it’s the same with tattoo artists. I hope for more artists to specialise in a style and a sense of respect among each of us,” adds Eric.
Buoyant at the recognition he has achieved in the short span of time, Eric is eager to teach budding tattoo artists through a three-month course he plans to launch next month. “We are also soon going to offer hand poke tattoo and laser tattoo removal services,” he adds.
Find his work on Instagram @pachakuth