Celebrity tattoo artist Lokesh Verma wants to focus on quality work
It’s a rag to riches story. And certainly an interesting and inspiring one. Delhi-based Lokesh Verma who worked at a multinational food chain in the day and turned into a deejay at the night developed a passion for tattooing and after years of struggle and he can now be counted among the top 10 tattoo artist around the world. “It still feels unreal. I never thought this would ever be possible. I just kept on doing my best as a tattoo artist and never thought that I would one day be counted amongst the legendary tattoo artists of the world,” tells us Lokesh who entered the tattoo industry in 2003 and has a big list of celebs whom he has inked. From choreographer Remo D’Souza to cricketers Ishant Sharma & Shikhar Dhawan and Bollywood actresses, Tapsee Pannu and Swara Bhaskar, his client list is a glittering one.
Lokesh’s studios in Delhi and Gurgoan, Devil'z Tattooz, is now a trusted name. He has worked in 15 countries and has tutored many artists and is known for his realistic tattoos, the unique and revolutionary soundwave tattoo and permanent tattoo removal. Not to forget he also holds a Guinness Book of World Record. Excerpts from the chat:
Tell us about your journey as a tattoo artist and your distinct style.
The journey was not as easy my entry into the tattooing industry dates back to 2003 when body art was not considered a vogue among the youth. I was one of the very few people to start tattooing in India. I was doing three jobs at a time and had started tattooing around the same time on weekends. In 2005, my passion started turning into a profession. While being a singer or dancer is still considered a hobby more than a profession in India, coming out in front of your family about a career as a tattoo artist for the rest of your life is nothing less than a final nail in the coffin of your dreams. But my parents always supported me.
What kinds of tattoo interests you more?
Personally, I enjoy realistic tattooing the most and specialize in colour and black and grey. I am the first artist in India to start coloured realism and portraits style of tattooing that is mastered by only a few people across the world.
What is it that inspires you?
Any kind of art inspires me. I always get curious about something I see online by an artist; either be it a painter or tattoo artist or a graphic designer. So, if I see something unique which I have never seen I just try to figure out how it is done.
Who is your favourite tattoo artist and why?
Paul booth and Robert Hernandez would be my absolute favourites because they bring something unique to realism tattoos and they are legends in the tattoo industry as well. Each and every tattoo they do is unique and distinctive.
Which assignment would you consider to be challenging?
Every tattoo I have done is challenging because usually, I do colour portraits so it has to be perfect to get vibrant colours plus making the tattoo saturated on a darker skin tone is always a challenge. But a challenge has its own merit as it lets me become better as an artist.
Tell us about Soundwave and Permanent Tattoo removal?
We are known for pioneering Soundwave (Audible) tattoos and Permanent Tattoo Removal (Pico Laser) service in India. Soundwave is a new way to immortalize voices or your favourite tune/sound through body art and is the futuristic, latest invention in the world of tattooing. Pico laser, on the other hand, is a picosecond laser device that uses very short pulse durations to target endogenous pigmentation and exogenous ink particles (tattoos). The medium varies according to the wavelength being used.
You have won so many awards and even have a Guinness Book of World Record. Which award is dear to you?
Every award has its own significance to me and signifies growth as an artist so I feel like every award I have ever received holds its own important place in my life. If I had to choose one I would say the Guinness Book Of World Record, for the most number of flags to be tattooed on the human body, was definitely one of the high points of my life.
I just want to keep up doing the good work. I don't wish to open more studios because it's tough to find good artists who are passionate about the work. So, I want to focus on quality work and feel really happy and satisfied with my work.