Nitin Chauhan hails from a small and scenic city of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, India. We would like to call him the Tattoo Baba as we know a lot of tattoo artists who romance the art of tattooing, but Nitin is philosophical about it, and thinks one expresses their deep feelings and emotions with tattoos, and that getting a tattoo is a healing process…
“One day I want to give everyone a free tattoo. I think that way people will be able to express their deep feelings and emotions freely…” says Chauhan when he is asked what his tattooing dream is. Nitin accidentally took up Fine Arts in college because that way he could do away with not attending college and ‘chilling’ with friends in the canteen. Nitin might come across as a brash guy, but his roots are quite modest, his family has had apple orchards for so many generations, and he humbly likes to stay-put in his mother land after a professional-life gig in Delhi. He had a corporate job which got him good money, but like every other headstrong artists, his work life started creeping his creativity and happiness, he knew it was time to give that up and find his true calling.
His love for tattoos was not brewed upfront until he went to Pune where he got his first tattoo from Saurabh of the Sabby’s Tattoo Studio, and a series of tattoos after that. He thought, “Since I am good at drawing, this is definitely what I want to do!” He considers himself lucky, he trained under Saurabh, learned how to handle the needle, basic hygiene, tattoo care, and the whole tattoo culture. He also worked there for a bit and says he learned a lot on the job.
On returning to Mohali, Nitin put up his first tattoo studio, an impressive one that too, in 2010, and since then there is no looking back. He also creates music and has written a book, due to publish early next year. He says that he educates his clients about how every tattoo should have a story to tell, and warns people against getting a tattoo just because it is ‘cool’. He doesn’t consider himself as one of the best tattoo artists in our age, but definitely is open to a lot of learning and much experience that comes on the way.
He is the country’s first tattoo artist to tattoo his father on national television, for a reality show. His life has been quite an example for many boys from this small city who otherwise only have dreamt of sports as a career option.
He describes his style of tattooing as ‘unrealistic, with a story behind every piece’. Technically, he deals with a lot of linework, dotwork, geometrical patterns and black & grey shading. He gets inspired by people’s stories and customises every tattoo accordingly, he wants people to experience bliss and he wants to ‘heal’ every individual coming to him for tattoos. He is not really new to tattoo conclaves and conventions, but he has never really thought of participating in one so far.
He is a wandering soul and thinks the Nepal Tattoo Convention was one of the best he has experienced so close by to India. This year on, he is participating in the Pune Tattoo Festival 2016 and is overly excited. Other than tattoos, he is bringing his range of hand-painted shoes and kids’ t-shirts with minions on them. He is going to be there to add to the vibe of the festival, the music and soak in the environment where his love for tattoos was nurtured, and take back as many nuances as he can. He is bringing his ‘pahadi’ charisma along. And it is quite worth it to come and watch him in action.