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“I always had a creative bent of mind and was good at sketching but never thought of myself as a tattoo artist.”

As love for tattoo is growing among millennials, tattoo artist are now flourishing in India. One of them is Max, a Delhi based renowned tattoo artist.  He is also the founder of Inkinn studio. He is a self-taught tattoo artist from Delhi who has been tattooing for over a decade and specializes in creating custom designs in a variety of styles. Before starting as a tattoo artist, Max was working as a branch manager at a stockbroking house. After mulling over it hard and fast, he finally decided to drop everything and begin to pursue his passion of becoming a tattoo artist. Sociotab interacted with Max where he shared his inputs on his background, India’s tattoo culture and much more. Check it out.

Inkinn Studio

Question- Your journey from a branch manager at a stockbroking house to a successful tattoo artist

Answer – The journey to pursue your dreams is always full of challenges. I belong to a middle-class family; and having a stable job is something that was given the utmost importance in our society.  Therefore, after completing my MBA, I started working for a reputed bank and then shifted into stockbroking. However, after working for over 10 hours a day and having to follow that same routine each day, I realized something need to be changed.  

I always had a creative bent of mind and was good at sketching but never thought of myself as a tattoo artist. However, during my post-graduation, when I decided to get inked, I loved the process which intrigued me to know more about it. I delved deeper into the art of tattooing and started learning the skills required to be a tattoo artist.

I decided to pursue it further as a career option and bid adieu to my well-paying job.  I started working as a freelance tattoo artist and traveled to gain more knowledge. Two years and many tattoos later, I established Inkinn Tattoo Studio in 2011 to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur.

Question- What changes you wish to see in the tattoo industry and how it can be implemented?

Answer- The art of tattoo making has been around in India for hundreds of years, originally practiced in tribal areas of the Northeast and central India. It is estimated that the Indian tattoo industry generates more than Rs. 20,000 crore every year. However, the industrialization of tattooing is relatively new in India. Even though it is quite a money-maker, the industry is still fragmented. There is no organized structure, rules, and regulations, enforcement of safety protocols, or a governing board/union to keep a check on the standards maintained within the industry. It’s important with more people opting for it as a career option, government can consider making provisions for regularizing the tattoo industry in the near future.

Question- About Inkinn Tattoo academy and tattoo making as a career option.

Answer- When I started my journey as a professional tattoo artist, a decade ago, being a tattoo artist was a career choice that was difficult to explain. During my journey, I faced many challenges for being accepted as a serious tattoo artist. There was not much buzz about the industry and what it can offer. However, things are changing for good as the younger generation’s interest in tattooing and pursuing it as a career option is growing constantly, and the need for quality tattoo artists is also increasing with more people wanting to get inked. This demand is especially evident in the post-pandemic world. However, I have observed a glaring gap—unlike singing, dancing, or photography, tattooing does not have a structured format in which it can be taught. There were almost no institutes to help budding artists learn the art of tattooing and the science of hygienic practices.

Inkinn Tattoo Academy is our initiative towards filling this gap and helping youngsters enroll for proper tattoo training. After spending decades in this industry, I want to share whatever I have learned with artists of the new generation. By teaching the art in a formal and structured manner, I hope that new artists will not have to struggle as I did. There are some institutes in other cities such as Bombay, however, Inkinn Academy will be the first of its kind institute for Delhi. I also plan to introduce this academy to more metropolitan centers hence allowing me to spread more knowledge and proper training for artists who are willing to pursue this illustrious career option.  

Inkinn Studio Founder Max

Question- Which type of tattoo you don’t recommend?

Answer- As tattoo artists, we get a lot of requests from people asking for a specific tattoo. However, as an artist there are a few types of tattoos that we wouldn’t recommend, the first being the names of partners/spouses because one never knows how stable those relationships are, and if things don’t work out too well, the tattoo would need a cover-up.

Finger tattoos are also not advisable, since the skin on the fingers constantly sheds and forms again, which leads to the tattoo fading quickly, and at times the tattoo itself heals in a patchy manner so we try to talk to clients to rethink that placement.

We also tend to dissuade clients from taking designs that lack the presence of black, there’s often a saying in the tattoo industry that bold will hold, however, the truth is that black will hold, so if a tattoo has black in it, it will have a much longer life of legibility.

Question- Did you experience any cultural/generational differences regarding tattoo culture?

Answer- As with most things in life, there are always cultural and generational differences, even in the field of tattoos. Certain cultures do not appreciate the art of tattoos and find them against their traditions/beliefs.

Major differences do tend to appear generationally however since the earlier generations have a mindset that tattoos are more for a kind of person who is up to no good and the presence of them will hamper job opportunities as well as marriage prospects. Currently, things are changing, people are becoming more acceptable towards having tattoos, and workplaces are also becoming more lenient towards their employees having tattoos.

Question-What skills are required to be a tattoo artist?

Answer- To become a tattoo artist, the most important skill that they require is a good background in art, which means being well versed in the basics, perspective, shading, proportions, colour theory, etc.

Learning how to operate a machine is a skill that takes years to develop into a level of extreme proficiency because one needs a lot of experience with different skin types and body parts to understand how to tattoo each part of the body well. Other important skills are hygiene, customer interaction, anatomy, and social media marketing.

Question- From where you get your tattoo ideas

Answer- Tattoo ideas can come from a variety of places, just as inspiration for any other art can come from just about anywhere, tattoos are similar, anything observed by the artist can be integrated into a tattoo. Since this business itself is customer-centric and is based on ideas that they have, we tend to work with them to convert their ideas into designs that can work effectively as tattoos. We take references from the internet and utilize our artistic knowledge to come up with designs.

Question- Few suggestions for people who are thinking of getting a tattoo?

Answer- People who are thinking of getting a tattoo need to put in their effort to research artists and see who specializes in the type of work that they are thinking of getting on themselves. Talk to artists at length about any concerns you may have, about the process and cost, because it is a lifetime commitment that you are going in for. Right before getting a tattoo do not drink heavily and eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and come well-rested and bring food to eat.

Question- Your views on tattoo removal procedure.

Answer- Tattoo removal is a very tricky process; it costs more and hurts even more than the process of getting tattooed. It takes multiple sessions, and depending on the place it is being done from, the removal might not be 100% complete, there may still be some traces. We would recommend getting tattoos that you do not like anymore covered up with another tattoo.

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