Having a tattoo on the body was still considered a taboo not long ago, as it was associated with criminals to show gang membership. Only in recent years have tattoos started turning into a way of self-expression or body adornment. People not only started getting tattoos on themselves, but also giving tattoos as a gift to their loved ones. In some cases, the passion for tattoos even turned them into “tattoo collectors”. Just like any other kind of art enthusiast who likes collecting painting and sculpture, tattoo collectors appreciate the art of tattoos and collect tattoos from different artists on their skin.
“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” – Johnny Depp
If you want to read someone, read their tattoos.
Every tattoo tells a story. Every client comes to me asking for a tattoo bringing along their own stories and reasons. It may be a way to show who they are, or to show the (life) value and belief they are upholding; it may be a record of a romantic or platonic relationship; it may be a piece of memory that influenced them a lot; it may be a chapter of an amazing travel journey; it may be a love expression to their beloved pets; or it may be a record of their newborn baby. I have come across so many stories that, from sketches to patterns and drawings, I re-interpreted into tattoos on skin for my clients.
The first tattoos could have been very accidental. A sharp spit used to roast meat may have left a charcoal mark on the skin, a subsequent reminder of a successful kill. Ancient people used to sharpen their spears with fire leaving charcoal on the edge of the spear. When they got wounded, it left a permanent scar with a black colouring. It marked their wounds forever. These war wounds symbolised valour, bravery, and survival.
The word “tattoo” can be traced back to Polynesian languages, specifically Tahitian and Samoan “tatau” as well as the Marquesan “tatu”, meaning “puncture mark made on skin”. If you look at modern day tattooing as well, it has evolved so much with some companies making wireless tattoo machines with smart motors that can detect it if you try to go too deep in the skin that can push back itself, etc. There’s a continuous journey that we are on in our part of the world of tattooing and that is its story.
So…who am I and what’s my story?
I am Uditha Rangana, a tattoo artist specialised in fine line and micro tattoos, with special interest in Sri Lanka masks and traditional tattoos.
If you ask me how I became a tattoo artist, I will say it is purely my interest and endless passion, topped up with an unrelenting drive and perseverance.
Like many other kids, when I was in school, I liked using pen drawings on my skin, but what has been a little different with my experience in doing this was possibly that when I drew on my skin, I liked to replicate famous musicians’ tattoos onto myself, such as Fred Durst’s, the front man of rap/rock band Limp Bizkit’s, and Eminem’s, etc.
But the real step into the tattoo industry happened during the days when I was in Bangalore, India. I bought my very first tattoo starter kit in my life; that is where I started and the rest is history.
A few years back “Soul Ink Studio” was founded, and Soul Ink is not only my studio but it is also my aim to make an art hub where different artists with different skill sets can gather and work together.
In the coming weeks, I will share with you more about some interesting stories of my tattoo design development, memorable experiences, and insider facts and skills about tattoos. So, stay tuned! Goodbye until next time!