This is the story of Sanket Varhadi of Lines and Shades Tattoo Studio in Mumbai. He describes himself as ‘a boring accountant turned tattoo-designer’. “I graduated in accounts and got myself a job too, but after a bit I realised how much it sucked up the creativity I had, and the creativity I had not tapped because I was looking at settling in life! I had to give it up!”

Sanket always admired tattoo-art, but it was just in the back of his mind when it came to pursuing it as a passion and career. Once he realised that he didn’t belong to the 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM working world, he finally picked up a tattooing instrument and there was no looking back. He stepped into a more ‘happening’ world of tattoo culture, where his art could breathe a fresh air of excited curiosity.

“I give all the credit to Rahul Ghare, my mentor and one of very good friends in the industry. It is because of him that my tattooing skills have levelled up. He was very helpful; he leaves no trade secrets when he is guiding you through the art of tattooing.” Sanket was alsways kind-of inclined to art, and cheerfully remembers winning many art competitions at school and college level. He once also won an award at a tattoo-on-paper competition that his college had organised. It was judged by Ketan Vaidya, a renowned tattoo artist.

Today Sanket stands tall and takes pride in his tattoo art, and loves the work he does! He loves all the different styles of tattoos, but realism remains his favourite. He also specialises in old school tattoos, dots and lines, and is now dipping his needle in colours too.

He has trained under Mukesh Waghela at his studio in Calangute, Goa, called Moksha Tattoo Studio, and gives all the credit to him for making him what he is at this time. During this period while working with Waghela, Sanket has attended the Heartwork Tattoo Festival in Delhi but the Pune Tattoo Festival is going to be his first independent participation. And he says he is not prepared, “I am definitely not there for the competition, I want to be there to meet all the tattoo-greats, show the best of my work and soak in as much as I can from the festive vibe at Pune. I want to channelize my potential into doing what I thoroughly love doing!”

His journey from being an account graduate to a tattoo-artist is amazing. He did his first tattoo, the Maori piece, on himself, and he will also never forget the friend who always had the trust in Sanket and got his first tattoo done from him, that’s where everything started. His life as a tattoo-artist has taken him many places, from a tattoo studio in Andheri, Mumbai, where he was partnering with someone, to his independent studio, Lines and Shades, in Thane. With every piece Sanket is adding a feather in his hat to becoming an all-round tattoo artist.

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