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Busting Some Tattoo Myths With the intention of inking some bold statements, let's talk tattoos.

By Puneet Kapani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Most of us have wanted that statement tattoo that oozes our personality without us even speaking a word. A little symbol that means something to you or a flamboyant depiction of your favourite art, one just can't get enough.

Some of us get bold statements tattooed on for a supposed eternity and others get names of their significant others for the loving gesture of a lifetime. With all said and done, it is pretty clear that tattoos are quite permanent investments and there is sure some conjecture around tattooing and lots of polar opinions regarding those that get tattooed.

Getting onto the bandwagon, let's look into some useful insights about how tattoos have been perceived over the years and some expert opinion on what they stand to be today. With the intention of inking some bold statements, let's talk tattoos.

Tattooing and Taboos
Since forever, tattoos have been a major taboo in India. Culture and tattoos here still do not go hand in hand.
It wasn't too long ago when tattoos were associated with gothic vibes and were something which only bad people got. To ink something onto your body was a big 'no'.

We have come a long way from those times, to now, when not only is tattooing accepted as an art form but people choose their own preferred styles to express themselves through ink. They have their own statements and symbols that reflect their personalities and mean something to them. This was pretty unthinkable not too long ago. We still live in an age wherein many don't appreciate tattooing. Face tattoos are especially looked
down upon even now. However, we have come a long way into times when people choose to express themselves how they like. The time isn't far when 'wear what you want' gets extended to 'ink what you like'. And we sure can't wait!

Tattoo Myths
More than tattoo, taboo's what strays people afraid of getting inked are some popular myths regarding tattooing. Let's debunk some common tattoo myths:

Myth I:
"Getting tattoos cause skin infections and bacterial diseases or even HIV contraction due to the needles piercing the skin."

One of the most popular myths about tattoos is the easy contraction of skin diseases and infections. Some even claim the danger of HIV spreading through unsterilized needles while tattooing. Although one can't claim that these instances are impossible but the kind of fear that has been aroused around this concern is definitely exaggerated. In fact, there are no known cases of HIV contraction associated with tattoos.

All one needs to do is make sure that sterilized needles are being used which is mostly the case with reputed tattoo art centres. A regular cleaning with anti-bacterial spray helps to avoid any such issues from arising in the first place.

Myth II:
"Tattoos fade out with time, chemical exposure or crinkle as you get old."

This gets people concerned about the longevity of their much permanent investment; where they worry about if there tattoos are going to be after all that permanent.

Contrary to the fading theory, tattoos are pretty permanent. The needles pierce even below the first layer of the skin where any external elements cannot reach. Chemicals like chlorine from pools in fact, do not dull down the ink at all. As far as aging is concerned, your skin only crinkles depending on where you have gotten a tattoo but the appearance of the tattoo still remains.

Myth III:
"Tattoos are extremely painful to get."

Coming to the myth that keeps most people back from getting tattoos; it is common knowledge that tattoos are supposed to be painful. How painful is something people like to assume. You sure have wondered after all how painful is getting a tattoo. Putting an end to this myth let's say getting a tattoo is like getting a scratching
sunburn. It's on your skin, you would feel it. But it's nothing of the order that it is described to be.

Art and tattooing
Tattooing is an avid form of art. Many wouldn't know the deep roots it holds in both ancient and modern history. We can talk about the branding and shackling of slaves in the ancient times where tattoos were used to mark them. There is also evidence of tattooing for the inmates of concentration camps, whose survivors bear those permanent marks in their skin even to this day.

However, there are parts of history where people got inked willingly and chose to do it artistically. The art wasn't just meant to look aesthetic but had a deeper significance to it. Princes and warriors, many are known to have had adorned meaningful tattoos. In the modern world, people have their own inspirations as to what they want to in on their bodies. They are driven by their feelings and ideas that drive them to choose art that means something to them. Tattoos are very personal expressions and pretty subjective to interpretation. Sometimes, people get custom pieces tattooed which becomes a permanent mark of their artistic streak on their body.

Tattoo artist as a career
In the present era, there are still elements that remain unknown about tattooing and what it brings with it. It's like this mystical area between art and beauty that is an unthreaded terrain for many. It makes one wonder
about tattooing as a career? What does it mean to be a tattoo artist for a living?

There are many challenges to this profession. Getting an inspiration from a client and creating something beautiful out of it isn't always easy. The subjective nature of work makes it even more challenging as people have different tastes. The service is, well, pretty permanent, not giving much room to fix what a client doesn't like.

Client challenges
Dealing with the concerns and questions of a client is quite tricky. A tattoo artist needs to make the entire process clear while making sure they are still comfortable enough to get one. You don't want them to be scared. Apprehensive clients can move in between sessions which can mess up a tattoo and not much can be fixed about it! It's a social skill clubbed with an artistic one.

Do they make decent money?
People also wonder is tattoo making can be good for their pockets. After all, we still live in times where some people are against them. Well, it really depends. Good art and quality tattooing can always help you make good money. The skill set is fundamental to any monitory gain you will make. It's still a picture in progress and is only likely to get better with more people understanding tattoo art in India.

Some horror stories
There are definitely horror stories that give the artist a scare every now and then. We hear about someone getting a tattoo when they are drunk and regretting it later, or even creating a chaos at the studio. People can get pretty aggressive when it comes to altering what they consider a part of themselves.

Much to happen
There is still much to learn and much to happen for tattoo art in India. An artist can only learn through his/her journey and get better with each ink stroke. With a growing hint of liberalism, people are learning to express
their opinions and feelings at all levels. In this growth space, some are venturing to express themselves through tattoos and the number is only likely to multiply. Tattooing is beginning to be seen as, as much a craft as any other creative one. This in itself is a marker for progress. With growing minds and widening horizons the scope for tattoo art is growing like never before. The ink on their bodies pierces through their spirits. It is fair to say that a new age for tattoo art awaits.

Puneet Kapani

Former Features Editor

Puneet Kapani, former features editor for Entrepreneur India, is self-driven and passionate about happenings and nuances of the world. She writes on lifestyle, gadgets, beauty, wellness, entertainment and technology updates around the globe. She has previously worked with L’Officiel India magazine, FHM Magazine and Times Internet. 

Catch a glimpse of her work at @PuneetKapani on LinkedIn and @puneetkapani on Instagram.

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