In 2008, I graduated with a fine art diploma at the Vaal University of Technology. I then worked as a portrait artist in a gallery in Durban for a year before developing an interest in tattooing. I applied to be a tattoo artist at a studio in Durban by sending my portfolio through. I was hired and given three months’ training. I learnt how to draw with needles, prepare the skin and transfer a sketch from a piece of paper to skin. It was easy for me to adapt because I already knew how to draw. I started off by replicating available tattoo designs. But, now I prefer to talk to my clients and help them personalise their tattoos.
NAVIGATING THE SPACE
After working for a few studios, I decided to open a tattoo parlour in Durban in 2010 because I wanted to be self-employed. Running my own business was challenging; I struggled to make money and eventually had to close it. In 2011, I moved to Johannesburg to start afresh. I was afraid of failing again, but eventually opened a parlour with my business partner Dawid Smith. It is called Black and White Tattoo Studio, and I’m happy that we are running it successfully.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
As a businessman in the tattoo industry, it was difficult to find an ideal location. It also took a long time to grow a steady customer base. Being a tattoo artist is not just about inking; it’s hard work that needs a lot of focus. You have to constantly sharpen your skills and ensure that you’re on top of your game.
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