Cosmo: Tell us about the first tattoo you inked on a client?
Angel Zimik: My very first client was my then-roommate and I had tattooed a minimal universe on her wrist. She was happy with her tattoo at the time but a year later, she ended up asking me to cover it up!
I remember being very excited but was sweating a lot while tattooing it. The human skin is way softer than the artificial skin we practised inking on and it was kind of difficult. Looking back, I can see some lines are shaky and some part smudged, but back then I was very proud of myself.
Cosmo: What changes have you seen in your art ever since the first tattoo?
AZ: Becoming a professional tattoo artist requires a lot more than just a needle and some ink. It takes months and years of hard work (sometimes without pay), and an absolute dedication to your craft.
There have been many changes since I made the first tattoo. The quality has improved vastly and my tattoos heal better. I also learnt a lot about body composition and how to design according to it. Despite all this, I still have lots and lots to learn and have a long way ahead of me. I will say though that my younger self would have been proud of where I am today.
Cosmo: Tell us some of the funniest client tattoo stories that you have experienced till now?
AZ: I had an appointment with a woman who wanted to get inked in a discreet part of her body. And, her husband insisted that we all discussed the design in a private room. Once, the discussion was underway I got the feeling that he was forcing the wife to get his name tattooed on her breast and another one on her crotch. Things got even stranger when the wife started crying and then the couple started fighting in front of me. They left without getting tattooed that day but returned three days later and got it done... 2 tattoos, same design and the same placement.
Then, there was a time a client came to get tattooed with his kid and a babysitter. Initially, it was all fun and games but as the inking began, the child started crying, pulling my pants and calling me 'Mommy.' It went on for the entire duration of the session and was quite an uphill task for me!
One of the strangest moments on my inking table was when a man wanted me to tattoo a design on the lower right side of his abdomen. However, once I began inking, he started feeling uneasy. At first, I thought he was in pain but then I spotted that he had an erection. It was very awkward. I offered to take a break and excused myself. It was truly a strange experience!
Cosmo: Have you ever inked yourself?
AZ: I have inked myself twice. I tried tattooing myself first before doing it on someone else because I wanted to know how my clients would feel.
So, my first tattoo on real skin was a self-inked tattoo was on my left inner ankle - a paintbrush, because I am an artist.
My second self-ink was on my left wrist that says 'IT’S OKHAY' in my handwriting. This tattoo reminds me that it's okay to do what makes you happy. It is not selfish, it's self-love. You are you and that’s your power. Stop trying to fit in or fix it. I purposely spelt it as 'O K H A Y' because that is the whole point of this tattoo...nobody is perfect and that’s perfect for me.
Cosmo: What are some misconceptions about tattoos that you wish people would stop believing in?
AZ: That tattooing alone can spread HIV, hepatitis or other diseases.
Once you get a tattoo you will never be able to donate blood again.
Taking a painkiller or having alcohol before getting a tattoo helps in relieving pain.
Any good artist can do any tattoo.
There should be a meaning behind every tattoo.
People with tattoos can’t have real jobs.