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Shree Kisi of Mohan’s Tattoo Inn, Ankita Sunuwar of Deeper Shades House and Tulove Thapa of Gagan Tattoo Inn share their love for tattoo art and also give WOW readers – planning on getting inked for the first time – some expert tips.
Text by: Garima Golchha
wow photo file ©Gokul Shrees
How long have you been a tattoo artist for?
Shree: It’s been more than a decade that I started tattooing. But it was only around eight years ago that I started working as a professional tattoo artist.
Ankita: I have been working professionally as a tattoo artist for about five years. I started when I was 14 years old.
Tulove: I have been a tattoo artist for a decade now. I began right after completing my SLC.
Did you practice tattooing on yourself before inking others?
Shree: I was lucky to have really good friends who trusted me to practice on them first.
Ankita: I basically started practicing in one of my friend’s studio, Deeper Shades House in Thamel. The senior artists at the studio helped me understand the machines and get acquainted with the proper techniques. It was only after a couple of months of practicing on fake skin that I got my first client.
Tulove: I practiced first on dry/fake skin and later started inking friends.
What was the first tattoo you made?
Shree: A dragon tattoo!
Ankita: I made a tattoo on my wrist.
Tulove: An AUM tattoo on my friend’s arm.
What is your current style?
Shree: I prefer doing realistic tattoos, but it’s important to accommodate client needs.
Ankita: Although I do all kinds of tattooing styles, I focus more on traditional tattoos and design.
Tulove: I don’t have a particular tattooing style. I usually just try to meet the customer’s chosen design. But, I enjoy doing fine lining art such as the Mandala.
What has been your longest tattooing session?
Shree: My longest tattoo session was eleven hours long. It was a continuation of a tattoo done by Mohan dai. The picture was a painting by Alex Grey, the great.
Ankita: It was a tattoo on the chest which took nearly eight hours to complete. It took a lot of time because we took a lot of breaks in between as it was very painful for the client. It was memorable for me. My client was humorous and we spent the whole session laughing and cracking jokes, despite being exhausted.
Tulove: The longest continuous tattoo session I have done has been around 12 hours. It was a full arm tattoo.
How many tattoos do you have yourself? Which one is your favourite?
Shree: I have a single tattoo, still in progress, and it is my favourite!
Ankita: Strangely I don’t have any myself. But I do intend to get my full sleeve done in the near future.
Tulove: My favourite one is of a female Buddha I have on my arm that my brother made.
How is tattoo culture viewed in Nepal?
Shree: Unlike seven years back, I think the art of tattooing and tattoo artists are now honoured and respected.
Ankita: I feel that people are now more appreciative of this art form compared to in the past. People’s perspective towards tattoos has changed a lot. Society no longer views people with tattoos as thugs. People are actually more willing to get tattoos these days, be it a small symbolic tattoo or full body. However, I do think that the tattoo industry in Nepal is still very male-dominated. Having said that, female tattoo artists are on the rise and I am very grateful to be among the few female tattoo artists in this industry.
Tulove: I don’t think people have a negative connotation towards tattoos nowadays. Society as a whole has more respect for this profession.