If you’re still wondering whether to commit to that swallow tattoo, this might not be the trend for you.
I have recently been enamoured by this new form of tattoo art, called the Blackout Tattoo. Honestly, you do a simple Google search and you’ll have a bunch of articles and images to feed your curiosity.
But, what are these tattoos and why have they become such a huge trend recently? To put it plainly, a blackout tattoo should, and is, relevant to every inked individual out there. I’ll tell you why. But first, a little background about blackout tattoos would do good for your general knowledge.
The blackout tattoo was initially devised as a clever and literal form of a cover-up, in case you got someone’s name inked who was no longer part of your life and you’re dying to omit them from every cell in your body (pun intended). Only, it was a cover-up that looked way too good. Hence, it began to catch on as a form of art, in itself. Yes, there is always the option of laser removal, too, if a cover-up is all you’re looking for. The only problem is, for most people, it’s just too painful and expensive.
Vikas Malani of Body Canvas adds that such tattoos make for a great way to mask any skin deformity that would otherwise, be too prominent. “It’s a great way to cover up any marks or pigmentation on the body to avoid the questions that isn’t something everyone likes—easy, safe and comparatively economical. But it should not look like a blank patch; rather more like a creative job.”
Dr Ajay Kashyap, renowned plastic and cosmetic surgeon at MedSpa, on the other hand, opines that these could be rather unnecessary in this regard and should be avoided. “Blackout tattoos when used solely as a purpose to artfully camouflage a certain area could cause one to overlook various other skin problems that you would otherwise be forced to notice,” he explains.
Moving on to the part where blackout tattoos are the current rage in body ink; some of the work done by renowned Singaporean tattoo artist Chester Lee is creating waves on social media. Most of his recent works are what we now know as the blackout tattoo trend, with men and women, alike embracing and flaunting it openly. “If done right, it’s one of the most beautifully offbeat kind of tattoo you could ever get yourself. The customer who wants a blackout tattoo is rare. They could be a free thinker, a liberal soul; someone who is a cult in his, or her own self,” Vikas says, while adding that out of 1000 customers, he will get only 1 of whom would opt for something like this in India.
Internationally, there’s a different story unfolding. Mickey Malani, co-owner and partner, Body Canvas—who is based in UK—gives us a clearer picture on blackout tattoos and the trend that’s building around it. “In India, I’ll still give this trend another 2 to 4 years before it actually catches on. Abroad, of course, it’s already a thriving form of body art,” he informs. He goes on to talk about how there is a select group of really cool international tattoo artists who are really pushing the bracket on such tattoos—Chester Lee and Hanumantra are some that are worth checking out.
What Goes Into The Making Of Such A Tattoo?
Vikas says it takes at least 6 hours for a normal blackout tattoo to be completed. Mickey adds that the bigger the tattoo is in size, the more the sittings and the more needles that are involved. “You’re getting something so bold and solid on your skin so it’s definitely one of the most difficult jobs—not just for you as an enthusiast; but, also for me as an artist,” he reveals. Even if the slightest bit of empty space is left, it could spoil the look altogether. “You’re rendering the skin so much that it becomes difficult for the skin to absorb the colour without being saturated,” he adds. The solution is to go forward with these tattoos using special Rotary #1 machines—these aren’t readily available in India just yet. “The hard hits from such machines really help giving blackout tattoos the real colour, depth and intensity they require.”
Do They Require Any Special After-Care?
About the after-care, Mickey says one just needs to be sensitive and knowledgeable about what you’re getting into. “Except that the nourishment needs to be a bit more than usual because you’re literally filling up the skin—no shading, no, outline; just solid filling,” he explains.
In conclusion to my research, this is what I deduce: Every art form has its own audience. You may or may not be an art person; you may or may not be a tattoo person; and then, you may or may not be a blackout tattoo person. It doesn’t take away from the fact that these are, by far, some of the most intriguing and intense forms of tattoos I have come across. Yes, it is going to be way more grueling and painstaking than your basic tattoo would be. But, if done right, it can be one of the most compelling works of art on your body. Tattoos, as it is, are one of the most intense forms of commitments you can make to art. It’s with you for life. Blackout tattoos are the next level in that form of commitment. You’re going to be scrutinized, yes (aren’t we all?); you’re going to be questioned and chided, yes; you are also going to be judged, hell yes. But, it’s all about how important it is to you.
From where I see it, blackout tattoos are more than just a mere cover-up; they are more than just a mere trend. They are a story that either hides another story, or tells a newer one.