Tattoo is a difficult art to master, owing to the precision it needs and more so because its canvas is the human body. While one may be good with pencils and papers naturally, tattooing someone is a whole different game altogether. It needs more skills and a whole setup. In the age of the internet, where everything is just a click away, is it possible to learn the art of tattooing by self-learning? The answer to this is yes, and an example of it is Ryan, a Noida-based self-taught tattoo artist.
For Ryan JB Drew, going to a tattoo school is not necessary for being a tattoo artist. "You just need to be in love with your art and strive to be perfect in it." He says this after his own experience of being in a tattoo school which didn't help him. Later, he turned to YouTube to master his skills and is one of best tattoo artists in Noida now. He has his studio in the market of Sector 18, Noida by the name Tattooinkfixers.
Naturally, the nature of Ryan's profession allows him to meet and interact with various kinds of people from different walks of life. Thus, over the years, he has gained a rich bank of anecdotes to tell. While reminiscing one such anecdote, he tells us the story of a lady who wanted to tattoo the name of her boyfriend but there was a twist. She was actually married. The dramatic part was that her husband entered the studio the moment Ryan had tattooed first letter of her boyfriend’s name. What followed was like a scene from a Bollywood drama. Says Ryan, "The husband asked me to stop the tattoo and was leaving the studio with his wife angrily. That's when I requested charges for my service, he agreed to pay but with a new request, to ink his name on her hand instead of her boyfriend's. This, the wife promptly turned down."
In another interesting incident, two teenagers brought their dad to the studio to get him tattooed. While the kids were deciding on a design, the dad comes to Ryan and secretly requests to add his girlfriend's name's first letter to the tattoo.
While talking about such unusual encounters, Ryan says that couple stories are one of the most interesting ones. He tells that a couple contacted them to get a tattoo on a weekend when the studio is closed. Also, it was Ryan's girlfriend and his partner in the profession, Khushi's birthday. Thus they denied the request. However, after several repeated complaints from the couple, Ryan dropped his plans and did the job. However, the next day, the couple shows up again, asking him to cover up the tattoo as the couple had broken up. Ryan tells that he gets a lot of requests for covering up the old tattoos or any marks.
We asked him what are the most popular tattoo requests? He says that name tattoos and 'Maa Paa' tattoos are one of the most common requests. Apart from that, people sometimes come to Ryan with zero ideas of what to get tattooed and ask him for suggestions. They sometimes come with a design they find on the net simply because they like it. Ryan believes that because a tattoo is a permanent mark on someone's body, it becomes a part of people in a way. Thus, it should always carry some meaning. He believes in understanding the need of customers and tries to understand the purpose and reason behind the tattoo before he starts his work.
Ryan says that he loves and enjoys his work because every single day, it's a new design and new people. His favourite part is understanding what the client needs and designing the tattoo based on that. While his main client base is the youngsters, he doesn't usually take clients below 18 years of age because the body is not developed fully. In some cases, he takes such requests only after the parents' consent.
While talking about the pricing of his services, Ryan says, "People expect us to charge equal to our competitors but we are not the same, we give our best and, on the basis of the hard work we put in, we charge. The prices are usually decided on the basis of tattoos, whether it's too complicated or too easy. It usually starts with five hundred for small tattoos. In case of complicated and big tattoos, we charge the client session-wise. We also charge on the basis of how much time we are investing and the prices can go up to fifteen thousand to thirty thousand.
Tattoos may have become very popular lately, but there are still several myths about getting them, the most popular being that you cannot donate blood after you get a tattoo. Ryan tells us that after six months of getting a tattoo, one can easily donate blood.
He tells us that if someone wants to join the military, they can have a tattoo that is not visible or exposed in a uniform.
On the question of whether getting a tattoo is painful, he says that pain during and after the process defers from customer to customer. It is more painful in some parts of the body like bones, ribs, fingers, and neck. Tattoos mostly leave you with a burning sensation when it is freshly inked.
While talking about how one should take care of a tattoo, Ryan suggests regular washing and moisturizing the tattoo. He also suggests avoiding the pool and saving the tattoo from chlorine water, especially when it is freshly inked. He suggests using dermalize sticker as it heals the tattoo and is waterproof and dustproof. Avoid sunlight after a freshly inked tattoo as tattoos fade because of sunlight and sometimes, it even gives a burning sensation.
He also tells that a tattoo can be removed but it could leave a mark on the skin and thus, it is better to cover it up.