While most people dream of living in the hills, Karan Kumar Arya a local of picturesque Nainital made the city of Nawabs, Lucknow his home to fulfill his dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Karan’s parents wanted him to become a doctor, but the 20-year-old had aspirations of healing with a different kind of needle, and now he makes around Rs 1 lakh a month living his dream.
Karan’s father Harish Chandra Arya worked as a driver in a government hospital in Nainital earning enough to run the house and his mother, Vimla Arya is a housewife. Karan wanted to make his parents happy therefore he pursued science and biology, but his heart was elsewhere. Karan was quite an artist since he was a child and when he won many prizes, he realised he was talented too. He found the way tattoo artists lived aspirational and he felt that becoming a tattoo artist would let him follow his passion and also lead the kind of life he aspired for.
However, Karan had to cross many hurdles for this. When he broke the news to his parents they were very disappointed that he would not have a well-paying job, but a few positive calls from tattoo artists changed their perspective completely.
Karan shares, “When my parents realized that being a tattoo artist is also a secure and profitable profession they were convinced, they only wish that I never have to worry about money.”
Karan used to freelance as a tattoo artist from his junior college days in Nainital when he was only 18, he shares, “I realized that this is the work that I can do all day without getting bored or tired.” However, not everyone was as optimistic as Karan, and some even doubted his skills at tattooing. He shares, “Initially, several of my clients would behave poorly with me and not pay me money thinking ‘what will this kid do?’ They would try to take advantage of my inexperience.” But Karan was prepared to put in the hard work he believes is necessary for success.
Karan shifted to Lucknow in the hopes of getting better exposure while also pursuing his degree in Fine Arts at the Techno Group of Institutions, and soon his work began to get noticed. A Lucknow-based businessman was amazed by Karan’s tattoo designs that he had posted online and approached him to start a tattoo parlour with him as partners. Karan hardly had Rs 20,000 but he invested it all and he now co-runs the Replay Tattoo Studio in Lucknow.
Karan shares, “I earn around Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh depending on the total earnings of the month.”
Karan’s unique tattoo designs and skills made him quite popular despite his lack of experience, and soon he applied for the Indian Book of Records. The panel loved his designs and as luck would have it, he won the honor of being the Youngest Tattoo Artist in India for 2021 at the beginning of this month. His studio has been packed with customers since. Karan asks people what they would like in their design, their interests, and more, then goes on to create unique tattoos for them, these range from anywhere between Rs 1,000 to Rs 60,000 depending on the intricacy or simplicity.
Karan was always mature for his age, reading motivational, self-help books in the hopes of constantly evolving his thoughts and mind. He shares an important message for other youngsters like him, “They should read good books. Choose friends carefully because you become what you surround yourself with. And dream as big as you can because you are given what you dream or ask for.”
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
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