Self-taught tattoo artists, often referred to as “scratchers” in the tattoo industry, are individuals who have embarked on a unique and independent journey into the world of tattooing. They do not receive any formal training or apprenticeship to refine their art, all they achieve is through trial and error. Practicing on friends, family, willing volunteers and sometimes on themselves too. They heavily rely on resources like books, videos etc. We too have one such self-taught artist “Saiyam Patel”. Sam is the man behind Sam Tattoo India. Having started learning tattooing by watching YouTube videos, saving money to buy his own machine and going to friends and family’s homes to do their tattoos to owning two tattoo studios in Mumbai, he has come a long way. The road was not easy but it was worth it.
Today, Sam has his own standing in the tattoo industry. Almost all of the artists in the Indian tattoo industry know and respect him and some from the international tattoo industry too. Besides working hard and being determined about where he wants to take his legacy one of the other important things to be known and respected and revered in the industry is to participate in conventions and tattoo showdowns to showcase your art. Sam has a number of accolades to his name and he managed to bag one more at Ink Soul Tattoo Festival in 2022. Sam was only there to support our other artists who had decided to participate, but when he saw that there was an opportunity for him to show his skillset he didn’t back down. The category he participated in was cover up tattoos. Sam is a fantastic cover up artist. He chose to cover up an old chest tattoo that our human canvas had.
It took hours of tattooing on the human canvas and trying his very best to cover up the tattoo on the chest, chest cover ups are harder than they look, but Sam is no stranger to a tricky placement. He chose to cover up the tattoo with a Shiva design accompanied by a galaxy in color in the background. To say it turned out superbly would be an understatement. It was now time to go up the stage and let the judge decide our fate. There was our human canvas standing on the stage and waiting for a judge to hand out cards to the canvases.
Soon enough our gracious human canvas had enough cards in his hands for us to know that we are going to be winning in this category too. At last, the host started announcing honorable mentions first and then actually announcing the winners of the category. 2nd runner up was announced, it wasn’t us. The tension was building, it felt like a climax of a movie playing out in front of us. Sam’s badge number was 8 that was stuck on the human canvas’ pants, we were screaming number 8 number 8 like a bunch of lunatics.The people standing around had also joined in started yelling Sam’s number, it was a sight to behold. Then she said “’and the first runner up with a divine design is”…… Sam Patel!!!!! We were jumping like maniacs and shouting his name and hugging anyone we could find, even the strangers around us were coming and congratulating Sam and us after the announcement. Sam walked up to the stage and we were feeling so proud that we could burst with happiness. It was the last day of the convention and 3 out of 5 of our artists had won in their own categories. It is safe to say that we left our mark there.
Sam always says focus on the art and the rest will follow. He continues to prove this time and again, we couldn’t have had a better mentor than him. Here’s raising a toast to Sam. ‘’As you ascend to greater altitudes, remember that the sky is not the limit, but merely a stepping stone. Here’s to your continuous journey to even higher heights!’’