Tattoo artist Vikas Malani shares hisexperience with Riya Pandya on training the acid attack fighters in tattooing. Havingan abysmal relationship with ink since his early teens, he has sketched anempire of tattoo art on his own and has been ruling it since more than 10 years.The most sought after celebrity Tattoo artist of India, Vikas Malani, is now on a course to empower women in a way thatmarks their identity in the society. He recently collaborated with the Chhanv Foundation, an abode to thevictims of acid attack, and conducted a workshop at Body Canvas Tattoo studioin Huaz Khas Village, Delhi, to introduce them with the art of tattooing.
Wecaught up with the artist and got him to share the anecdote in his own words.ON HIS INSPIRATON”Mymother was an artist at heart. She has been my inspiration to do everythingthat I have done. She told me that in India, when we talk about rationality andequality, it should be regardless of age, experience, knowledge, and skills.
Eventhough women are more sincere and dedicated towards their work than men, theyare never given the credit or recognition that they deserve. Which is why wehave been doing a lot of projects on empowering women, not just outside Canvas,but inside too; and this time we wanted to do something special, like breakinga social stigma. Ironically, though being one of the most ancient arts of India,tattoo art it is still considered a taboo in here, and usually people can onlyimagine men doing the tattoo work. I want to bring a change in that and give asubstantially strong place to women in the commercial market.”ON COLLABORATING WITH CHHANV”Itis pretty surprising, but 90 per cent of my clients are women.
They come inwith this energy and vibe that makes the air around them so positive; I amcompletely intimidated by their aura. These ladies specially, have been througha rough past and hardly get any acceptance from the society, leave alone anyrecognition. I realized this when one day I stumbled upon a picture of Laxmi. Igot to read her inspiring story and came to know that there are several otherwomen like her, who have stood up brushing off their ill-fate so seamlessly.
Iwas so inspired by them; I knew they all had immense talents and rightaptitude, and with proper guidance, they could polish their forte. I believethat it is very important to be able to express yourself and there can be nobetter medicine than practicing art. That is the idea of teaching them tattooart; I want to provide them with a medium through which they can expressthemselves and can see their future in it.” ABOUT THE WORKSHOP”Whenthe five fighters: Laxmi, Ritu, Soniya, Madhu and Roopa walked in the studio,they were so full of life and starry-eyed at the thought of learning somethingnew, the air around the studio somehow felt fuller. We gelled so well, theyeven got tattooed themselves and tried their hand at different equipment andcolors.
We talked and preached and learnt so much from each other, that twelvehours later when they left the studio all pumped up, we knew we had beensuccessful in our little attempt to make them feel confident.Thetraining will be held in our Delhi studio or they can even choose to take along distance course. We’ll be providing notes and assignments which they haveto practice and work through, and in every fifteen days they’ll visit us, wherewe will evaluate their work and guide them through their progress. The plan isto expose them to the art of tattooing so that they are able to imagine acareer in tattoo art.”A WORD FROM THE FIGHTERS”Ihave always had a knack for learning new things and a passion for sports.
Chhanv has given me several opportunities to learn different things and keepgrowing, and learning tattoo art is one of them. Tattoos are something I usedto admire from a distance. Pursuing an art like this requires a lot ofcreativity, concentration and benigness, and getting a chance to ace it,especially from a lively mentor like Vikas, was an exciting feat that I wouldlike to give a further try. I will be soon joining my training of three monthsand I am all up for the ride to craftsmanship,” said Ritu Saini, former state level Volleyball player and a member ofChhanv.Laxmi, Director of Chhanv, had interestingviews on the same.
She said, “I had never seen a tattoo before, and honestly,after hearing about how the needles hurt, I was not all up-and-about at theidea of attending the workshop. But the thought of inking my skin withsomething that has held importance in my life, was stirring, and definitelyVikas made the experience very amusing. I believe that tattoos should not bekept hidden. They are a clever way of sharing a message and people can learn alot from it.
Tattooing now has become a passion more than fashion and it has awide scope for creative souls who are constantly looking for a way to expressthemselves.”