It’s the sign of the times. You love someone? Say it with a tattoo. You’ve broken up, there’s a tat for that, too! Folks who love football have the sport running not just through their veins, but also on their hands via an inking and for some, it’s the craving for sassy graffiti that has them queuing up at a tattoo parlour. On World Tattoo Day today, BT takes a look a Mumbaikars who’ve worn their love for the skin art, literally, on their sleeves, with myriad designs — 3D, dot work designs, geometrics, water colour tattoos, realistic ones, and more.
MUMBAIKARS ARE HIGH ON HOBBY TATTOOS, 3D DESIGNS
Sunny Bhanushali, who’s been in the tattoo business for close to a decade, affirms that tattoo love is only growing. “Even five years ago, no one did realism tattoos in India. Tattoo artists just made ones with thick outlines and shading. But realistic tattoos are big now — these tattoos have 3D elements and mimic an actual photograph. Dot work and line geometrical ones are also in. Spiritual tattoos like chakras and say, an aura, are also big. Calling it an extension of their minds, people feel connected to their tattoo. Today, clients seek out a design of their choice online and ask for the same. ”
Arun Alva, tattoo artist of a Bandra-based parlour, says that people use their tattoo to flaunt the things they like. “It’s like putting your hobby or passion out there for everyone to see. Girls go for words like ‘wanderlust’ in simple type font on their wrists and ankles. A popular design would be a paper plane flying out of a scenery. Minimalistic tattoos with just a single word is big, too. ” He adds that there is also a resurgence of the mandala. “It’s combined with a wolf and lotus — almost cult-like in design. Some are inspired by Game of Thrones. What doesn’t work are glow-in-thedark tattoos. They are just meant for parties and wear off easily,” he says.
WITH 521 TATTOOS, MEET MUMBAI’S TATTOO KING
Jason Mathew has been asked to take off his shirt more than he’s ever been asked his name. The 27-year-old Bandra resident has a whopping 521 tattoos! “And counting,” he grins, adding, “I get that request many times. In my studio and at parties, I am often asked to take off my shirt and I oblige.” Among numerous tattoos covering his body, 442 are just logos. Ask him why and he says, “We are surrounded by brands wherever we go, they are a part of our lives now, can’t escape them.” Besides the aesthetics, the tattoos also double up as a timeline of his life. “They depict my bicycle, my first mobile phone, my fave TV channel and so on. Of course, the special one is my first tattoo — a skull design that I got way back in 2007. “Skulls were huge back then,” he explains. Jason’s penchant for inking led to his entry in a record book thrice — in 2014 for 144 tattoos, in 2015 for 177 tattoos and 2017, for getting 100 logos in 10 days.
Needless to add, the hobby cost Jason a neat bundle. “I’ve spent around five lakhs so far, but it’s worth it,” he says.
You’d think that after 500-odd designs, it must be a cakewalk for him to sit through the process, but, no, he still gets the heebie-jeebies each time he gets a tat done. “I still get scared before undergoing a tattoo, but I guess I am more mentally prepared, now,” he says. His next? “It may be in the armpits. It will be a pattern design as that stays for long,” he reveals.
Any pearls of wisdom for tattoo buffs like him?
“Why get celebrity pictures tattooed on your bodies? Or even bother to copy their tattoo designs?” asks Jason, with a parting shot, “A tattoo should be unique, so wear your own style!”
DITCHING RINGS FOR A TATTOO?
Supermodel Behati Prinsloo wore an engagement tattoo of three dots that ran vertically down her ring finger and it went viral! Singer Ariana Grande also got an engagement love tat with the name ‘Pete Davidson’ written above her ring finger. Back home too, Mumbaikars have gotten ring tats.