For hundreds of years tattooing has been a part of Indian culture and tradition. The reasons for tattooing ranged from conservation of identity, to demarcation of cultural boundaries, but the tradition of tattooing has still remained an integral part of so many tribes and communities. Over the years tattooing has grown as not just a fashion but also as a notable art form. Almost 20 years ago, the art of modern tattooing returned to India and has grown into a hotbed of amazing art and creativity. Paintcollar brings to you 10 tattoo artists who have taken the tattooing world by storm with their skill and passion. Get Inked Now!
1. Lokesh Verma
Self trained and with an impressive amount of experience under his belt, Lokesh Verma is the founder of Devilz Tattoos in New Delhi. He has learned under and worked with leading tattoo artists across the world including Paul Booth, Tommy Lee and Alex de Pase. He has dabbled in all kinds of tattoo styles such as traditional, portraits and new school but prefers working on realistic tattoos and specializes in black and grey and color tattoos. He believes tattooing to be a unique art form for self expression and enjoys the amount of artistic freedom you get in the field.
2. Kevin Andrade
Kevin Andrade, born and raised in Mumbai, is a tattoo artist at The Flying Lotus Tattoo and Piercing in Andheri. He absolutely loves tattooing, and has an impressive experience of 9 years and over. He is the doting father of an 8 month old and his wife Kruti, is also a tattoo artist. He says that tattooing has given him the opportunity to interact with many wonderful people which has allowed him to experiment with different styles and genres of tattooing. Kevin believes that his true calling has been the ‘biomechanical’ aspect of tattooing, which is combining movement of the body with mechanical art. His work has also often been referred to as ‘nerdy tribalism’. His process is ‘Design, Compose and Tattoo’.
Check out some of Kevin’s best work below!
3. Niloy Das
Fascinated by art since his childhood, Niloy Das always wanted to do something different in life. He was introduced to tattooing in college and took it up as a hobby which he practiced using a self-made tattoo gun. This hobby soon turned into a career choice for part-musician, part tattoo artist Niloy Das with the opening of his studio Lizard’s Skin Tattoos in Kolkata.
Niloy Das is also endorsed by leading tattoo equipment brands in the world. He already has two tattoo studios in Kolkata and is gearing up to launch a third one in the City of Joy. Das loves dabbling in all kinds of artwork but has a special preference towards working on conceptual realistic tattoos. His work is bold, deep and conveys something beyond the visual.
Here is some of Niloy’s and Paintcollar’s favorite work.
4. Alex Shimray
Born in a the Ukhrul district of Manipur and brought up in Nagaland, Alex was fascinated by tattoos since his childhood, as tattoos are significant in Naga culture and traditions. Alex first encountered tattooing in Pune and worked in the city as a freelancer. He then moved to Delhi where he started his own studio along with a friend. In 2011, Alex joined Devilz Tattoos at the invitation of Lokesh Verma (owner and founder of Devilz Tattoos) and has not looked back since. His years of experience have only added to his portfolio and he has evolved as an artist. Alex specializes in color tattoos and is also a master piercer. He wants to be known as a contemporary Naga artist, an expert in fusing the trendy with traditional. Alex has a way with color and some of his tattoos are beautifully composed. It’s almost as if skin is his canvas and he paints the tattoo onto it.
5. Duncan Viegas
Initially aiming for formal education, Duncan Viegas worked in a call centre in order to save up for an animation course. Three years later, Duncan got a tattoo apprenticeship and realized that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. In school as well as in college, Duncan was always doodling or sketching, and his love for the art coupled with sheer hard work have put him where he is today. Duncan, along with his partner Dionne, owns Inkfidel Tattoo in Goa, a studio that offers custom tattoos in an assortment of styles. Duncan likes to dabble and try out all kinds of different tattoo styles, though his favorites are new school, geometric, watercolor and realism. In order to cater to a wider clientele base, Duncan tries not to stick to a particular style of drawing and believes that learning through experience rather than formal training has made him a versatile artist.
Here is some of Duncan’s amazing body artwork!
6. Sameer Patange
For someone who took up tattooing in his college days to earn some extra pocket money, Sameer Patange has come a long way. Sameer graduated from Rachana Sansad School of Art and was only 18 when he got into tattooing. Sameer has also been featured in a BBC documentary on tattoing and its evolution in India. Many celebrities including Hrithik Roshan, Kangana Ranaut, Sanjay Dutt, Emran Khan (etc) sport tattoos done by him. Sameer has over 14 years of experience in the field of tattooing and successfully runs Kraayonz Tattoo Studio and its four branches across the country. ‘Tattoo Republic’ – India’s most successful tattoo festival was also the brainchild of his. Sameer divides his time between conducting workshops, attending international tattoo expos and conventions and pursuing his passion for tattooing.
7. Eric Jason Dsouza
A child who sketched on notebooks and desks instead of paying attention in class, Eric grew up with a love and fascination for art. Though he decided to go to college to make a name in the travel industry, he ended up finding his calling elsewhere. In 2006, Eric got his first tattoo apprenticeship at Kraayonz Studio and went on to work there for 6 years. Eric has won multiple awards for his work and is one of the first Indian artists to have won an international award. He has extensive experience and now co-owns Iron Buzz Tattoos in Mumbai. His work is breathtakingly detailed and some of his tattoos look like photographs imprinted on skin. Eric skillfully breathes life into even the simplest of images and concepts, making them seem alive and real.
8. Rahul Mitra
Hailing from Kalimpong in West Bengal, Rahul Mitra has been creating art through tattoos since 2006. He started off with only a needle and paint and now owns his own studio Birthmark Tattoo and Customs in Bangalore. He believes that when you tattoo someone, you build a trusting relationship with the person and somehow you become a part of that person’s life. In tattooing, you learn, and execute that learning in the form of your art. He specializes in cover-up tattoos and loves working on detailed color tattoos and sleeve tattoos, but does not limit himself to any genre of tattooing. He likes to keep his mind open to his client’s ideas, so that the creative juices keep flowing and he can provide every client with a customized tattoo. He believes that creating art (through the tattoo) is like building a bridge to meet with the client’s expectation of a great tattoo.
Here are some of Rahul Mitra’s finest tattoos!
9. Siddhant Nigam
”I’ve discovered a canvas, behind its colors I forged myself”
And that encapsulates Siddhant Nigam’s journey into and through tattooing. Initially trained under the guidance of Eric Jason Dsouza and Sameer Patange and only four years into the field of tattooing, Nigam has come far. His tattoo studio Inkarnation is in the heart of Pune and comes highly recommended. He enjoys doing work involving black and grey realism, color motifs and geometric patterns, but he doesn’t limit himself there and his tattoos end up reflecting different styles and techniques. Siddhant’s work comes across as confident, original and inspired.
Here are some of his and our favorite of his tattoos
10. Zaheer Chhatriwala
Drawn to art and creativity since his childhood days, Zaheer has always believed it to be the purest form of self expression possible. A brief stint with graphic design and a degree in fine art later, Zaheer discovered tattooing as a hobby. He soon fell in love with it and decided to make it his profession. Today, Zaheer owns Studio Z in Mumbai’s Bandra and specialize in niche and customized tattoos. He draws inspiration from a wide range of intellectuals who have chosen creative fields and accomplished in them.
In an interview Zaheer gave to ‘Homegrown’, he says “One major aspect of tattooing that has driven me to pursue it all my life is that it has taught me one of life’s biggest lessons: that dreams and fantasies aren’t bound by the same rules as reality. But if we gain the courage to defy conventions, never fear failure, stop letting society interpret what you ought to be and stay true to ourselves and apply that belief to all aspects of life, our dreams and fantasies can coincide with reality and we can know true happiness!”