Interview with India Tattoo

   Hello India Tattoo! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It really means a lot having you here. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. When did you discover your talent for arts? Namaste, I'm thankful for your invitation and it's an honor to be part of your magazine, again, thank you for this opportunity. My name is India and I was born in Portugal. As the daughter of an Indian father and a Portuguese mother, I discovered my passion and talent for the arts at a young age. I can say that having an artistic family has greatly contributed to who I am and where I am today. In my childhood, I learned painting, drawing, as well as techniques in sculpture, tilework, and ceramics, as my mother is a ceramist and a talented artist. Due to my Indian heritage, I feel that the themes represented in my work are influenced by it. The details and the richness of ornamentation come from Indian inspirations.

Q: What made you start tattooing? How it all started?
A: I believe that my keen interest in tattooing stemmed from it being another artistic expression that I wanted to explore. I started tattooing at the suggestion of my husband while we were in college. Regardless of the class, I was always doodling in my notebook or creating drawings to give to my classmates. It was very easy to find subjects at the beginning and it was a significant boost that propelled my career forward.

Q: Are you a self taught artist? If not, who helped you? Tell me more about the beginnings.
A: While I'm mostly self-taught, I received guidance and support from fellow tattoo artists, especially during my initial years. Their mentorship helped me hone my skills and navigate the industry.

Q: Was it hard to learn the basics?
A: Learning the basics of tattooing was indeed challenging, especially mastering techniques like maintaining a steady hand and understanding skin dynamics. It required patience, practice and dedication.

Q: How long took you to figure out your creative direction? Did you have like a period of finding yourself?
A: It took time to define my creative direction, experimenting with various styles until I found my niche. There was definitely a period of self-discovery and exploration, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I had a lot of time on my hands, I developed a new portfolio focusing on floral and ornamental projects. During the quarantine period, I even tattooed my own legs with some of these portfolio designs, marking a significant turning point in my career. From then on, I began tattooing more in this distinct style, which eventually evolved into my signature feminine and delicate aesthetic.

Q: I love your style. Very feminine and simple. The tattoos look like a beautiful decoration on an old book cover, I love seeing them on people... After all, we've got stories too! Why this style? What do you like the most?
A: Thank you for appreciating my style! I'm drawn to feminine and delicate designs because they resonate with my aesthetic sensibilities. I love the intricacy of the details and how tattoos can beautifully adorn the body, akin to decorating the pages of an old book with stories.

Q: It's nice to see a big tattoo that just "naturally" follows the body shape. For example, the leg tattoos or the sleeves. Those are my favorite! Do you negotiate with your clients when it comes to proper placement or the design?
A: Proper placement and design are crucial for a tattoo to complement the body's natural contours and create a cohesive aesthetic. I'm specializing in freehand tattooing, which allows me to draw directly on the skin on the day of the session. This approach aligns with the client's trust, their body's aesthetics and my creative vision. Collaborating closely with the clients, I ensure their tattoos not only reflect their personal stories and preferences but also harmonize beautifully with their physique, resulting in a truly customized and meaningful tattoo experience.

Q: Tell me more about the creative process. Do you draw for each client before the appointment or?
A: My creative process involves thorough communication with clients to understand their vision. I have a website system that allows me to speak with my clientes, where they can send me their reference images so we achieve the best result. Trust is a key for my creative process. I feel that my clientes know me and my work so that allows me to continuously develop my freehand technique but I always send a preview of the design beforehand so they can evaluate it. I meticulously adjust details in real-time to ensure that the tattoo complements the client's body and achieve harmony, adapting as necessary to create a cohesive and visually appealing result.

- Any rules for those who might change their mind "last minute" I bet you gotta think about this and save time and energy.
I think all this process avoid last minute mind changes, it didn't happen a long time but the best way to avoid this is to have clear references of the project and good communication with the clients.

Q: You are from Portugal, are these type of tattoos very popular there? Lisbon is beautiful and sunny so I bet many people want to look good with tattoos on them in the summer and here you are! Tell me more about the local tattoo scene.
A: Yes Portugal is a beautiful country, full of vibrant colors and culture. The sun always smiles upon us and the sea is refreshing our skin, it makes Portugal a worth visiting place. The tattoo scene in Portugal has been increasing significantly, Lisbon has become a melting pot of cultures, and of course tattoo art is part of that. We have great artists in Portugal that also tattoo around the world but have their own studio in Lisbon which has allowed them to have more access to information, techniques, studios etc from the global tattoo scene.

Q: You are very talented and creative. Have you ever thought to experiment with other styles or maybe try color tattooing?
A: Thank you for your kind words, it means a lot to me. I always try to improve my work although I think my style it's very defined. At the moment, I want to start applying more techniques to it and who knows maybe colors. Exploring new techniques keeps my artistic journey dynamic and exciting.

Q: You are not dealing with a lot shading, color blending and that funny stuff... It may look all simple, but I bet some designs require an extra time to finish, am I right?
A: Despite the "simplicity" of my style, certain designs can indeed require extra time and precision to execute. I'm very precise and meticulous with my work and my designs are always full with elements which I place harmoniously to always have a feminine and delicate look. Each tattoo is unique, and I pour my heart into every piece.

Q: You meet all kinds of people every day. You are very professional but also very approachable. Which is the right balance! I guess, some of your clients talked about the meaning of the tattoo... During the session... What are some of the most interesting experiences with the clients?
A: As a tattoo artist, I cherish the meaningful connections I form with my clients during the sessions. Hearing their stories and sharing their experiences adds depth to my craft. I also think that my clients come to me because somehow, they feel connected with my art and with my personality, I like to call that energy. So normally my sessions are like a terapeutic sessions where my clients are open to talk about any subject in a safe environment. Yes, sometimes they talk about the meaning of their tattoo but it always goes beyond that.

Q: Tattooing is a gift... talent is a gift and with a lot of work and dedication one can for sure excel and fulfill their dreams. Getting a tattoo is also a gift... What a beautiful energy exchange, right?
A: Tattooing is indeed a beautiful exchange of energy and trust between client and artist. It's a privilege to create permanent art that holds personal significance and individuality, marking significant moments in their lives and sharing a spiritual journey together. It's a gift to be part of my clients spiritual journey and bring their uniqueness to life.

Q: What do you like the most about being a tattoo artist?
A: For me the most rewarding aspect of being a tattoo artist is the opportunity to express my creativity while leaving a lasting impact on people's lives. Each tattoo carries its own story and meaning, making the journey incredibly fulfilling.

Q: I'm super glad that you are a successful female artist! In the past, this profession was male dominanted like most, but nowadays, I'm so so happy that I'm seeing new female artists who are super talented and successful! How do you feel about this?
A: I'm proud to be part of this new era of tattooing and to witness the growing community of successful female artists challenging the traditional norms. In my personal opinion, this shift was inevitable with the mainstreaming of tattoo culture and advancements in the tattoo technology. Tattooing is no longer solely associated with "bad boys" or "girls," punks, or any specific subculture. The machines are no longer heavy, weighing 5kg, and making a lot of noise. Tattoo studios are evolving beyond the stereotypical hardcore aesthetic. We are living in an era where even the elderly lady down the street might want a small tattoo. Machines are now lighter and quieter and studios have completely transformed to accommodate diverse artistic styles. As a result, women in this industry have found space to grow and express themselves without boundaries. They are introducing new styles and techniques, decorating their studios to reflect their femininity, sophistication and establishing deeper trust and connections with clients.

Q: What in your opinion, makes one a good artist, from ethical point of view?
A: Ethically, a good artist demonstrates respect, integrity, and professionalism in their work. They prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of their clients while upholding the industry's standards and practices.

Q: Where are you located? Please write down your contacts, social media links and studio address.
A: I'm based in Lisbon, Portugal, where I have my own temple to receive all souls that want to connect with me. I'm always available for booking. I have a website/mail system that allows me to connect with the clientes. The bookings normally are for 6/7 months ahead due to a lot of demand and my travels as a guest artist, by via email I can always find the suitable date.
IG: @india.tattooartist
Website: www.indiatattooartist.com
email: india.tattooartist@gmail.com

Q: I think it is easier to get into tattooing nowadays... There is so much info, regarding tattoo art. Either magazines, seminars, online courses, even tattoo conventions and guest spots are an excellent opportunity to meet new people and learn a lot... Do you agree?
A: Absolutely, the accessibility of information and opportunities like the tattoo conventions and guest spots have made it easier for aspiring tattoo artists to enter the industry and expand their skills. Also like we spooke earlier the studios are different now and they allow new talents to be appretices in their studios and be closer to great artists, wich for me it's be best way to learn, improve and minimize erros thought their careers.

Q: Any favorite convention awards and publications?
A: I only participated in two conventions so far, as my style is still not good in the eyes of the tattoo gods, I feel that there is a little room for the fine line style. Fortunently Lisbon Rock Fest did their first Fine line award, wich I won the first place. It was very thrilling to showcase a piece of my art to an audience not only on the stage but also in the booth where a lot of people came to say hi, congratulate me for my work and also ask questions about my technics and my method of work. I felt very inspired by all the styles and artists are there 90% of time, most have different point of view and techniques that I might apply in the future. So far the best tattoo convention I've been was the Gods of Ink, where the best tattoo artists of the world are present. For this convention tattoo artists cannot just buy a booth to show their work. They are personally invited by Miki Vialetto, publisher of the famous Tattoo Life Magazine and co-organizer of the convention. So can you imagine the level of the art out there.

Q: What have you learned during a guest spot?
A: Doing guest spots is one of the best learning experiences a tattoo artist can have. Before being invited, I approached several studios because I admired the resident artists and wanted to learn from their techniques. It was also crucial for me to explore and utilize different materials and customer service approaches. Engaging in guest spots broadened my understanding of the tattoo world and allowed me not only to enhance my work but also to establish connections worldwide. I started in 2022 with a Euro tour, visiting countries such as Germany, Switzerland, England, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. In 2023, I ventured overseas and received an invitation to Australia. I would love to tattoo in the USA as I have many American clients who travel to my studio in Lisbon to get a tattoo, so it would be a pleasure to bring my art to them.

Q: I think social media can blur the lines between quality and fake publicity zero talent and skills... One must be very careful where they are getting their info. Your thoughts?
A: Social media can be a double-edged sword, offering exposure but also blurring the lines between authenticity and artificiality. Nowadays, social media has been the best thing to happen to the tattoo industry. Artists are able to connect more rapidly with their clients, showcase their work for free, and shorten the gap between artists and studios. I think clients need to be careful and do their own research so they don't fall into the hands of a bad artists or become victims of scams, which have unfortunately become more prevalent lately.

Q: If you were a beginner today, what you would do differently?
A: I don't think I would change something, because luckly I had a good artist around me and adviseres that helped me minimize the mistakes and pushing me to be better every day. I would advise to have a million sketches and another million flashes, training... consistency is the key, practice a lot on fake skin, follow and pay workshops of your favorite artists so you can improve and learn from them.

Q: What are your thoughts about the global tattoo scene? Would you change something?
A: The global tattoo scene is dynamic and diverse, showcasing a wide range of styles and cultures. The internet help us to be connected worldwide, studios also have a big role here as they welcome artists from all locations and backgrounds. I just think all artists have to find their place because there is a room for us all. While there is always a room for improvement, I appreciate the community's vibrancy and creativity.

Q: The American tattoo scene is huge and very diverse. If given a chance, would you like to try your luck in the USA?
A: Working in the USA would be a thrilling opportunity to explore new horizons and connect with a broader audience. Some of my favorite artists are in the US at this moment and I also think that Europe is getting saturated with great artists, the American tattoo scene's diversity and innovation are incredibly appealing and I can't wait to showcase my art out there.

Q: Ah, where is the ultimate creative hotspot? Los Angeles, New York?
A: Los Angeles and New York are undoubtedly creative hotspots, each offering unique inspirations and opportunities for collaboration. I admire many artists in these cities and would love to work with them. But definitely one of the most creative hotspots is Berlin, which is pretty much the center of Europe and I've been seeing a lot of artists coming worldwide to the city to showcase their work, me included.

Q: Do you have any favorite artists there you would like to work with?
A: I can say that I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to work alongside great artists who inspire me a lot, such as Jesica Noir, Nora.ink, Sashatattooing, Sana.ink, among others. I would love to have the opportunity to meet Deanna art and Ryan Ashley.

Q: Three career highlights you cherish the most?
A: Winning a first prize at a tattoo convention, establishing a loyal client base and being recognized for my unique style within the industry. A forth one would be beeing invited by the best tattoo studios in the world to work alongside their artists.

Q: Your advice for those who want to try getting into professional tattooing?
A: Prioritize passion, perseverance and professionalism. Practice diligently, seek mentorship and always prioritize the client's satisfaction and well-being. With dedication and hard work, success is attainable in this rewarding profession. Never forget, everything depends on you and you only save the good energy and get rid of the bad.