Ink Your Imagination At Mumbai’s Ingenious Tattoo Studios

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Tattoo Art

Artistic, skilled, imaginative are some words that aptly describe the art of tattooing. But the vision, hard work, knowledge and time that goes into making the simplest of tattoos is beyond words. Tattoos have been used as cultural symbols among many tribal populations in India. Though the tradition has been prevalent in the country for some time now, contemporary tattooing has only recently acquired a mainstream and upmarket status. It is Dr.J A Kohiyar who is credited as the Godfather of  tattooing in India and has trained several talented artists. And it is our very own city, Mumbai, which is home to some of these remarkable tattoo artists and studios of the country.

We give you a peak into some of the renowned tattoo studios headed by exemplary artists in Mumbai. From their inspiration behind designs to the trends in vogue and the pricing involved, we bring to you the artist’s views on tattooing.

Winner of the 2012 International Tattoo Convention at Goa. Image by Ketology Inkholics.

Ketology Inkholics: When Ketan Saindane started tattooing over a decade ago, there was nothing called as formal training. Drawing was always passion for Ketan, the owner of Ketology Inkholics situated in Vashi. “When I began I didn’t have a machine and so I started making my own machines”, says Ketan who is also a commercial artist. He started as a freelancer, working from home and finally set up his studio 5 years back. “People consult me for the design and we mutually finalize what works best. We also need to keep in mind the person’s budget,” adds Ketan. Ketan has a keen eye for talent and has trained several young artists who have participated at several tattoo conventions. “Not many people do portrait tattoos. But that is something that Inkholics specializes in,” adds Ketan. They have also been awarded twice internationally for their work. The basic cost for a tattoo is Rs.1500 which is required for the set up. Ketan explains, “A set up used on a client for one session will not be repeated when the client comes for another session after say 15 days, hence a set up cost is incurred.” He sums up tattooing saying that it requires patience, a sense of art alongwith a sense of medical science & engineering.

Where:   Inkholics Tattoos, Shop no 2, Plot no 11A, Basera CHS, Sec 10, Vashi
Contact: Ketan9819010674

Contemporary Shiva tattoos are trending. Image by Studio Z.

 Studio Z:  Zaheer Chhatriwala studied graphic designing from MIT and then pursued Fine Arts from Rachna Sansad. He says, “The only way of learning tattooing is through another artist as there is no formal training in India.” That is how Zaheer joined Kraayonz and worked there for 3 years. He set up his own place, Studio Z, around 2 and half years back. Located at Hill Road, Studio Z offers specialized and niche work. “People largely come to me through word of mouth so they know the kind of work I can offer,” explains Zaheer. He consults the client to understand the person and then sketches the design on paper to get an approval. Speaking on the latest trends, Zaheer says, “I have seen a growing trend of Shiva tattoos. Writing people’s names has died out. But people are largely pursuing customized designs with a personal touch.” Basic designs start from Rs.2000 as that is his set up cost but he does not charge per square inch or color. Zaheer prefers to charge as per the detailing the tattoo involves or the time (hours or days) required to make it. He also specializes in cover-ups, which is mainly covering up badly done tattoos and is a tougher job.

Where: 4th Floor, Bindiya Society. Opposite Nature’s Basket, Hill Road, Bandra (W)
Contact: Zaheer -9820967870

Narrating personal stories through the art of tattoos. Image by Body Canvas.

Body Canvas: Body Canvas is the brain child of brothers Vikas and Micky Malani. Vikas started tattooing in 1998 when he was encouraged by a Spanish friend. He then acquired practical knowledge from Mr. Shantaram and Dr. Kohiyar who are his idols. Vikas’ brother Micky has done a professional course in tattoo making from London and has also been part of several international conventions. “We set up Body Canvas in 2003-04 and also got machinery with latest technology from UK. I started the legacy of tattoos by learning from people in India but Micky took it forward by gathering international expertise.” Body Canvas does commercial tattooing for ad films and movies and also has a vast celebrity clientele. However a majority of their clients are from the corporate world. Elaborating on their designs Vikas says, “Every design that we make has a story weaved into it. We give it a personal touch and create a fusion of sorts hence every tattoo has a USP and no two people have the same design,” says Vikas. The prices start from Rs.1000 but can go upto one lakh depending on the area being covered by the tattoo. “There have been times when we have worked for over 3 months on a single tattoo design,” says Vikas. They have studios in Andheri, Versova, Malad and Bandra as well.

Where: Shop-3, Plot-160/b, Abbas Compound, 29th road, Off Waterfield Road, Next to Sigdhi hotel, Bandra (W)
Contact: Vikas – 9819184454

Designing a tattoo that works best for you. Image by Al’s Tattoo Studio.

Al’s Tattoo Studio: One of the oldest names for tattoos in the city, Al’s was launched over 9 years ago in Bandra and is run by brothers – Al, Arun, Aj and Olly. “Though my brothers run the studio, me and my parents are also very involved in it; like I do body piercing,” says Anita, Al’s younger sister. “We started by using local machines that were built by Al and worked on battery. Later we started researching on how to get machines from abroad as they were not available here,” explains Anita. She adds, “The entire R&D and testing of machines was first done on us. All of us have tattoos including my mother.” Talking about Al she says that he learnt tattooing by simply observing Dr. Kohiyar without formally training under him. When it comes to tattoo designs, Anita says, “We design tattoos with inputs from the clients which could involve collating many ideas together. But we don’t encourage people to follow trends because a trend may fade tomorrow but your body is there for good.” They consider themselves to be counselors and not just tattoo artists for customers. The price range of each tattoo varies as per the design. The pictures at their studio are proof of the umpteen celebrities that are regulars with them.

Where: 1 Natraj 68, Hill Road, Opposite St. Peter Church, Bandra (W), Krishna Chandra Rd, Bandra (W)
Contact: 022-26443326

Unique visualization for every client. Image by Kraayonz Tattoo Studio.

Kraayonz Tattoo Studio: He made it to the Limca book of Records for being the youngest tattoo artist in the country. Now with over 14 years of expertise, Sameer Patange is one of the most renowned tattoo artists in the country. The only formal training he received was under Dr. Kohiyar who is rightly called the Godfather of tattooing in India. “He was impressed with my work from the beginning and I got the opportunity to take over the reins of tattooing from him,” says Sameer who started by helping Dr. Kohiyar on a part time basis. Eventually Sameer was handed over complete management of Dr. Kohiyar’s studio. He established his own studio, Kraayonz, in Mumbai over 6 years back with his partner Deep.  Speaking about the inspirations for his designs, Sameer says, “As an artist you can derive inspirations from anywhere and everywhere. We actually try and get into the mind of the client to understand what he wants and try keeping it as natural as possible.” Kraayonz encourages people to go for customized tattoos. “When you have artists who can visualize something unique for every client, you should explore that option.” adds Sameer. Their prices vary as per the intricacies of the design and the work that goes into it. B-town veterans like Hrithik Roshan, Vivek Oberoi, Kangana Ranaut, Ajay Devgun and Sanjay Dutt are regulars with Sameer.

Where: Shop No 6, 16th Road, Off Linking Road, Next To Mini Punjab, Linking Road, Bandra (W)
Contact: Sameer98203 42044

Work of art. Image by Studio62.

Studio 62: An innovative concept and the urge to create a creative space for artists gave birth to Studio 62. Located at Goregaon, Studio 62 was founded by Smit Jain, Deepak and Mathanraj Chettiyar in September 2012. “When all of us were in our struggling period, we had no place to work and brainstorm. That inspired us to take up a place on rent and put together this creative space.”  Studio 62 is a novel idea wherein people pursuing any form of art can meet like-minded individuals, showcase their work or just draw creative inspiration without any charge. The studio has a team of in-house artists and several freelancers who indulge in various arts like painting, sculptures, murals, customizations, tattooing and more. Deepak and Mathan themselves are tattoo artists who have their own inimitable styles of tattooing. Armed with a Fine Arts degree from Sir J. J. School of Art, Mathan says, “I’ve always had a flair for sketching which coupled with my background in Fine Arts helps in tattooing. I do conceptual tattoos and do not repeat the designs as every concept is treated differently.” Speaking about current trends he adds, “A famous trend which not many people in India offer are dotted/ dot work tattoos. We design these tattoos which are becoming a huge rage.” Dotted tattoos mainly comprise of geometrical patterns including circles, triangles etc.

Where: Studio 62, Opposite Rosary Church (St. Thomas Academy School), M.G Road, Goregaon (W)
Contact: Mathanraj – 9833088768

Creating a unique design. Image by TattoStar Collective

TattooStar Collective: TattoStar Collective was set up in November 2010 by brothers Swapnil and Harshad Gawde. Swapnil, a graduate from JJ School of Arts began freelancing in tattoo making from home. As his popularity and clientele grew they decided to set up a studio.  Their designs are known to include an element of fantasy and hence attract several customers. Harshad says, “While some people come with reference designs, there are some who have absolutely no clue as to what they want. So our role is to create a design for them or help them choose one from our gallery.” Situated at Carter Road in Bandra, TattooStar collective is popular with youngsters for temporary and permanent tattoos. “A lot of people want to get names inked. But the latest trend is tattoos on the forearm.” The studio which relies on word of mouth charges basis the size (square inch) and design of the tattoo. Their clientele includes people from all over the country and even few from abroad. They also offer a 3 month training program for those interested in pursuing tattooing.

Where: Off Carter Road, Near Cafe Coffee Day, Next to Subway, Bandra (W)
Contact: Harshad 9892333013

These creative ideas and artistic minds are surely going to lure you into getting your very first or next tattoo. And once you’ve made up your mind, you definitely know where to go! Did we miss any fabulous tattoo studios? Write in to us at story@mumbaimag.com or comment below.

(All the images have been sourced from the Facebook pages of individual studios)

Post By Esha Verma (33 Posts)

Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.

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Esha Verma

Esha Verma
Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.