NEW DELHI: There is a new millionaire in town. He calls himself an artist, hobnobs with the jet set, and makes his millions by using the human
Okay, so here’s the scenario. Tattoo artists, who till a few years back were a neglected lot, have suddenly become the toast of the town. And what’s more, despite the slowdown, some of them are earning anything between Rs 25-50 lakh per month — sometimes even more than their clients. Ask Michael Cowasji.
When he is not tattooing, Cowasji, a Delhi-based tattoo artist, keeps himself busy by reading up articles on how to become a millionaire. These are good times for him and his ilk. A couple of years back, tattooing in India was unorganised and unrecognised as a career or business option. Today, it is fast catching up as a lucrative business and career alternative with a tattoo artist earning anything between Rs 10,000-20,000 per hour. “It all depends on the person. If he is talented and willing to work hard, sometimes even for 18 hours a day there is absolutely no limit to how much he can earn. Since this business has become lucrative, more youths are using it as a means of livelihood,” says Cowasji who runs his studio Mike’s Body Art at Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi.
The modus operandi to set up a tattoo studio is also very simple. A veteran tattoo artist visits local art colleges to scout for new talent. Students who are good at free-hand drawing are picked up, trained and put on the job. In the beginning, they are usually paid on a partnership basis wherein they would be promised a percentage of the total revenues. Prices are also on per sq inch basis, which may vary from Rs 1,500-Rs 3,500 per sq inch.
But it’s not only about money. Tattooing not only offers fast bucks but also a chance to work with top celebrities. Sameer Patange for instance has worked with most Bollywood stars including Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgan, Anil Kapoor, Jimmy Shergill, Urmila Matondkar and many more.
Sameer, 25 started at an early age of 18 and at the end of two and a half years started single-handedly managing Dr Kohiyar’s tattoo studio and gaining recognition as a young and talented upcoming artist. He continued to work with Dr Kohiyar for another five years, before parting ways to set up his own studio. While running it, he was approached by leading stylist and hairdresser Hakim Aalim to collaborate with him at his salon.