Interesting Things One Need To Know Before Getting a Tattoo
Krishnan is the founder of Inkpulse Tattoo studios at Coimbatore and Chennai. The first-floor studio at Adyar in Chennai is big, clean, open and streamlined. Krishnan worked as a corporate man till some years ago, when the long hours began affecting his health. This forced him to look for a more meaningful alternative. Becoming a tattoo artist was something he stumbled into, but now he considers it to be his calling.
Krishnan shares with Abha Iyengar some not-so-obvious insights on tattoos.
- High Hygiene and Surgical Precision Required: Tattoos require a very high hygiene standard. The artist has to wear gloves and the needles once used are disposed off. This artwork requires surgical precision and a steady hand.
- A Learned Art: There is no theoretical course. It is a learned art, with a professional apprenticeship of minimum 3 months. You practice with a machine and inks first on paper and then on test skins. The needles are of different thicknesses. The filling to the design is done by magnums and round shaders.
- Skin Pigmentation Matters: The tattoos can be black and white or coloured. All 72 colours can be produced on skin, but the darker Indian skin tone requires higher, darker shades. Krishnan says, “That is the limitation of tattoos which depends on the person’s skin pigmentation for the colours to show. We advise based on the skin tone.”
- Age is Not a Problem: Pregnant ladies and women who are breastfeeding their children are not allowed to get it, nor anyone below 18 years of age. Otherwise, anyone can get a tattoo. Krishnan has tattooed a person up to the age of 85, and an Indian grandmother in Coimbatore who is 71 years old.
- Small Stings of Pain: According to Krishnan, the pain is like a series of small stings. It is like the pain one experiences while getting threading done, that is what women who have got inked by him have told him.
- Precautions: Generally, most skins take well to tattoos. All human body heals pretty much the same way, but people who have diabetes take a longer time. Healing takes one month for almost all. Some precautions need to be taken. Do not expose to the sun directly for 7-10 days. For one month, you should not enter a swimming pool or expose it to salt water. Mild (not strong) soap and water are fine for cleaning which has to be done before the healing cream is to be applied. Nowadays, a special plaster can be used to heal it quickly in 5-6 days.
- Reasons for Tattoos: Tattoos are done for decoration, to attract attention to a part of the body, or for spiritual reasons. For example, Krishnan’s wife has a tattoo that says, ‘Thoughts become Things”.
- Difficult to Remove: Clients often get the name of their current boyfriend or girlfriend tattooed. Krishnan says, “As tattoos are permanent, I do discourage this by telling them how difficult, painful and costly it would be to remove the tattoo in the future.”
- Conceals: Tattoos are sometimes used to cover keloids. A darker or pretty tattoo there makes it look less like a mark. Dermatologists sometimes send their patients who have vitiligo to Krishnan. He says, “I have also done pigmentation, and the person has to come for multiple sittings for this, but it can be done. I advise against it but if the client is insistent, I do it.”
- Gaining Popularity: Krishnan states, “The popularity of tattoos is growing. Delhi does a lot of it and Mumbai too. In Chennai, though the industry has been here for 15 years and there are 30 odd studios here, for most of the people to go and get it without any mind blocks is still to happen.”
In conclusion, Krishnan says, “It’s a beautiful thing. From the artists’ side we are leaving a memory permanently, our artwork on someone permanently; for them (the clients) it is something they want personally which is going to last.”