Leaving a mark

Tattoo artist Sameer Patange on the finer details of his craft.

Published - June 25, 2015 04:38 pm IST

At a time when tattooing wasn’t quite the buzzword in the country, Sameer Patange’s year-long break from advertising gave him all the time to carve a niche as a tattooing artist. A self-taught professional, now imparting his insights to budding artists at Kraayonz Tattoo Studios, Mumbai, he is making the best use of his identity in a thriving industry, which he still feels has a certain amount of taboo associated with it.

“The scepticism initially surrounding it was owing to the fact that it didn’t earn a nod from the white collar section. People came in with an impression that the practice is mostly relegated to the underbelly of the society. The last half a decade, the culture change was possible only because of the surgeons, celebrities and other influential people taking to it,” justifies Sameer.

He doesn’t forget to credit Bollywood, as he delves deeper into the reasons that ensured him the spotlight. But he has been disappointed on several occasions, when his clients merely touch down at his studio for the work he has done with the celebrities including the likes of Salman Khan, Shruti Haasan, Hrithik Roshan, Sushmita Sen, Kangana Ranaut and Sanjay Dutt. In such situations, he doesn’t mind cautioning them to come for the artistic streak in him and not otherwise.

Even as he is encompassed by an intimidating market today, he remains assured that his 14-year stint has paid him rich dividends. “The new school of artists are definitely well equipped with the skill, in almost a third of the time that we took to learn them. But even as they give their best initially, you see the finer details and the defects coming into play when the tattoo starts healing. There are lots of technical aspects which you can’t hone sans experience,” clarifies the tattooing veteran.

How does he explain to clients who aren’t sure in their choice between temporary and permanent tattoos? “I’ve seen drastic results of things that are forcefully made to stay on your body for a time span. Some artists mix chemicals, kaali mehndi and shoe polish in their techniques that tend to have dangerous after effects like rashes, scars and nasty spots. I’d rather suggest a permanent one with products that have been put through tight scrutiny and make them choose something that suits their body,” he quips.

In discussion about the stars in the south not embracing this trend, he says, they’re just playing the catch up game. He answers, “It was quite similar in Mumbai too where Sanjay Dutt’s tattoo evinced interest from the fraternity and the rest followed suit.”

Elaborating on how Hyderabad has opened up since his first visit to the city four years ago, he is delighted that most of his previous clients have taken the equation forward and made efforts to stay in touch with him.

On the other front, he is looking forward to the Heartwork Tattoo Festival that he coordinates with an artist friend of his in New Delhi, later this year, which shall also be graced by eminent American tattoo artist Paul Booth.

His tattooing workshop in the city is on till June 29.

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