There is something about body art or tattooing that appeals to people across the board—whether rich or poor, old or young, cool or misfit, happy or troubled. Why exactly is this? Perhaps it is the promise of longevity. Or it could be a desire to share a message with the world. It could also be in memoriam or simply a way to explore your creativity. Whatever the reason may be, the popularity of tattoos has only grown over the years. As I too have a tattoo of my own, I am no stranger to their appeal. Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Lokesh Verma, founder of Devil’z Tattooz and co-founder of Heartwork Tattoo Festival, to explore this subject.

Listed as one of the top 10 tattoo artists in the world, Verma is the only Indian tattoo artist whose name features among legendary artists like Paul Booth and Scott Campbell when one searches on Google. Moreover, Verma is known as the pioneer of Soundwave tattoos (audible body art) as well as permanent tattoo removal through the Pico Laser service in India. He owns three studios in Delhi-NCR at prominent locations in Greater Kailash, Gurugram, and a new one in Dwarka, and will soon be opening one in Europe too.

Having been an artist since the age of six, Verma won an international award for art at a young age. However, he was most fascinated with tattoos and chose this as the medium to pursue art. His initiation into the field was all his own—he collected money to buy a tattoo machine and taught himself the methodology for putting the needle in the machine. His father became his first subject, and later he practised by making tattoos on himself.

In 2003–05, his practise picked up as people started lining up outside his place to get tattoos from him. At that time, there were hardly any professional tattoo studios in Delhi providing high-quality tattoos. He says, “I personally have OCD about hygiene. Therefore, I wash or sanitise my hands ten times a day, and this really helps in running a tattoo studio. Today we have over 20 artists working as a team, learning from each other and growing happily, and this is just the beginning of many more decades to come. I also hold a Guinness world record with my team for tattooing the maximum number of flags on the human body.

From making just five tattoos a month, Verma has come a long way. He explains, “I’m doing what I love and getting paid for it, I couldn’t ask for anything else. I don’t take the credit for whatever I’ve achieved. Neither do I believe that I’ve worked harder than others, as it was all fun and games for me. Money was never the goal when I started, and this attitude helped. I happened to be at the right place at the right time doing the right thing 19 years ago as a hobby. I had no idea that it would take off in the future! I consider myself beyond blessed.”

Each of Verma’s 20 tattoo artists, under the Devil’z Tattooz banner, specialises in something unique, so every client can find what they are looking for. Whether that is biomechanical tattoos and cover-ups or clean, minimal lines, In fact, this is what Verma describes as the USP of Devil’s Tattooz. Having made a name for himself, he also trains students in exclusive batches of four apprentices, and over the years, has taught hundreds of talented young individuals.

Verma shares the reason for the enduring appeal of tattoos by saying, “Apart from emotionally helping people who have lost their loved ones, tattoos also help countless people around the world physically change their appearance.” For example, people who have lost their eyebrows and hair through alopecia can get eyebrow tattoos and SMO (Scalp Micro-pigmentation). Some people who have white spots can get the skin colour of a tattoo design on top of it. It usually helps them regain their confidence in a big way. “ If you too are in the market for a unique tattoo, reach out to Verma’s team at www.devilztattooz.com. 

Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog, www.nooranandchawla.com.