Underground Tattoo Studios in Iran
08:38 AM
Kambiz tattoo.jpg
Yesterday, France 24 News had an interesting story on underground tattoo studios in Iran, and how artists operate to stay far from the reach of officials, who use Islamic law to arrest and prosecute those practicing the trade.

Outside of the law, Iranian tattooists face other challenges, such as finding decent tattoo machines, ink and other supplies -- much of which is brought in from abroad through friends and travelers willing to take the risk.

Sara, a tattooist who has been working in Tehran for several years, talks about the challenges he faces:

Sadly, the authorities are against this art form, for the same reason that they oppose things like men's ties - they think it is a sign of Westernisation. They shouldn't worry, because many customers actually request tattoos with Iranian elements, like images of Zarathustra, Akhemenid soldiers, Faravahar symbols, Nastaliq calligraphy, and even images of The Book of Kings.

About seven months ago, a policeman posed as a customer. However, when he saw I wore a scarf and a hijab, he changed his mind and said he would not report me. I was very lucky, and since then, I've become more careful in choosing my clients. Fortunately, my work is of high enough quality that when one of my customers is satisfied with their tattoo, they'll refer me to more clients.
In the article you'll also find images of tattoos, like the ones by Kambiz, shown here, as well as a video of Kambiz working (and copying another artist's tattoo from a printout). It's an interesting look at what people will risk for the art form.

kambiz tattoo 2.jpgFahavar, a symbol of Zoroastroanism by Kambiz.

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