From marketeer to an emerging tattoo artist, Mitul Patel’s, of Ket Tattoos, Surat, tattooing journey is as freeing as a bird flying off its cage. To become a tattoo artist Mitul not only broke family norms, but also went against family expectations. “A Gujarati family would never let their son play with his career, and his source of income, they need stability. They always said, “What will people say if I gave up my job to become some kind of a tattoo artist!?” For people in a small town like Surat in south Gujarat, tattooing was never heard of. It was out of people’s comfort zone, and more so, a ‘time-pass’ thing that holds no merit, it was just a matter mirth”, says Mitul as he walks down memory lane from his days before he finally gave up his mindboggling day job to become a full time tattoo artist. But he was a freelance tattooer from quite some time before he took this plunge.
Mitul launched his first studio in 2012 and the second studio very recently, on September 9th, 2016. He has named both his studios after his brother Ketul’s (Ket); the name he also got as his first tattoo at a local funfair. Now, his parents know what Mitul’s tattoo art means to him, and as he emerges as one of the few important names in the city, they are more than happy for him, they take pride in him and his work. Like many other tattoo artists, Mitul was also good at drawing and he always sketched, but he had not tapped his talent the way he should have. He is a self-made guy; he bought a few equipments, learnt tattooing by watching videos on YouTube, attended many seminars, conclaves like the Heartwork Tattoo Festival, Delhi and the Goa Tattoo Festival in January 2015-16, and workshops, but never had enough resources to enrol in formal tattoo training.
Nonetheless, he always made sure he provides good hygiene standards, and care. The challenge he faces is that most of the time people who come to get a tattoo never turn up with a concept in mind, “I have to make sure to tell everyone that getting a tattoo is like marriage, it is permanent, and will be on your skin forever, so it would be best to have every tattoo you get tell a story. Many of them also find tattoos expensive, but everyone wants to get at least one tattoo for sure. It gets difficult at times to justify the price but then good tattoos don’t come for cheap”, says Mitul.
“The response I used to get back then in 2012, and now, the scenario has changed completely. People are taking tattoos seriously. Slowly but steadily things are changing here”, says Mitul. He specialises in traditional line tattoos, black and grey pieces, and uses vibrant water colour style. He has been preparing a concept piece inspired by realism, and is ready to launch it at the Pune Tattoo Festival 2016. He wants to invite many great tattoo artists to his studio to share their art with him and the people of Gujarat. This is the first time he is participating in a tattoo conclave, and his excitement cannot be described in mere words, you have to be there to feel it in the air.