An Interview with a Tattoo Artist

The youth looks up to people who don’t hide behind a façade. Now I don’t really have any faith in our politicians; they lie, they cheat and they have a lot of money which is unaccounted for. Of course, thankfully, a younger generation of politicians is emerging, who believe in our nation and in its populace, but until the number of such politicians increases, I won’t be vouching for any of them.


The Indian economy is growing tremendously. This can even be observed in the current world wide financial crunch, in which India’s growth rate has decreased to, shall we say, a very minor extent. Our industries have enormous potential and our industrialists have carved a name for themselves in their respective fields. However since I don’t personally know any reputed industrialists I decided instead, to seek knowledge from the world of art.


He is not a painter; painter’s express themselves enough through their paintings and don’t need to give interviews. Mr. Lokesh Verma is a well know tattoo artist, who has established a name for himself in the city of New Delhi. Besides the fact that body art has suddenly become a craze among the youth of India, I felt that this interview would be a perfect opportunity to learn the reasons for Mr. Verma’s choice of entering this slightly “unconventional” profession.


Listed below, is an excerpt of the interview.


VP: So why a tattoo artist? Was this something you always wanted to do ever since your childhood?


LV: Not in school actually, but ever since I was a kid I always wanted to do something different. I never really wanted to sit in an office each and everyday like everyone else so that was one reason.


VP: What are your educational qualifications?


LV: I did my B.Com, my MBA but I had already started tattooing side by side.


VP: Where did you learn how to tattoo?


LV: I learnt it on my own, I bought the machine and the ink and I just started practicing.


VP: So your establishment in Delhi is called Devil’s Tattoo. Does the name symbolize something, or is it just something you fancied?


LV: No actually before I started of with this I used to play music here at a local bar called Tonic and I use to go by the name of DJ Devil. Also my friends use to always call me by the name of devil and I guess that kind of stuck.


VP: You mean like a nickname?


LV: Yeah, exactly. So when I opened up my tattoo parlour I couldn’t think of an appropriate name and ended up just calling it Devil’s Tattoo.


VP: I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that your profession is definitely an unconventional one. It isn’t management or medical science, where you need a degree to get a job. So was that ever a worry for you when you started out?


LV: It actually was. But what I realized was that it all depends on how bad you want to do something in life. Anyone can do absolutely anything that he or she wants to do. You know, right now I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I earn almost four to five times the amount of money that my MBA friends are making, so the money is good and my work speaks for itself.


VP: So you’re saying that you have job satisfaction?


LV: Oh yeah, definitely. I love my work. I think this year the only off I’ve taken was on 2nd October. I work seven days a week.


VP: Initially, were your parents apprehensive about your choice of work? Did they ever try and dissuade you?


LV: Totally, it took a lot of convincing but like I said earlier, all that matters is how badly you want to do something. People refuse to think out of the box, they still want to stick to the old ideas and it’s really hard to follow your heart in India, but what matters is what you want and nothing else.


VP: Then you agree that body art still has a long way to go in India? Isn’t it mostly the younger generation that is interested in body art?


LV: No, the craze has been spreading; body art is already very popular. Three years back I would do say about twenty tattoos a month, where as now I do about hundred a month. So business is booming plus even the clientele is increasing. Everyone gets a tattoo now days, men at the age of forty-five, fifty come to me for a tattoo, women, housewives, corporate people, everyone. It’s also growing because of Bollywood and you know India is a land of followers, so whatever celebrities do everyone else does as well. So all the stars getting tattoos and piercings, I suppose that helps as well.


VP: Do you offer courses to people interested in learning the skills required for tattooing?


LV: Yes I do, I have about four students learning with me right now.


VP:. What are the most popular tattoo’s going around and any particular favorites?


LV: I like realistic stuff. The face of the Buddha,, the smoky effect and tribal signs. People these days go in mainly for black and white designs. Men like big designs, the kind of stuff they see on the body of wrestlers whereas women like getting butterflies, dolphins and flowers. These days getting your partners name tattooed is also a popular trend.


VP: So how many tattoos do you have in all? And have you ever tattooed yourself?


LV: I have one full sleeve done; there are about nine tattoos in that. I have a forearm fully done and two tattoos on my legs. I have tattooed myself; actually I did the forearm tattoo on my own as a sort of practice.


VP: Thank you very much for your time


LV: Your welcome to come around anytime.


Compiled by:

Rohan Malhotra