Possessed by Your Own Tattoo!?


It’s Halloween, so we’re rightfully covering the spookier side of tattoos. As a proud artist in a tattoo studio, you need to be able to communicate with your customers about the exciting tattoo industry and community news to keep them coming back for more tattoos.

This month, we’re considering how the tattoo community interacts and the festivals dedicated to the tattoo – more specifically, the Thailand Magical Tattoo Festival.


The Magical Tattoo Festival

This is a festival dedicated to the mythos behind the tattoo, and the result is positively electrifying. The festival is held in Wat Bang Phra, which in Thailand is well known as a place where you can get a beautiful tattoo in traditional styles.

The traditionally styled tattoo that many of the attendees will be sporting is known as a ‘sak yant’ and it is a Thai tradition. The sak yant is said to imbue the wearer with protection, but only if they succeed in abiding by special rules. These special rules often involve some form of abstinence, such as refraining from drinking, but they may also require the wearer to avoid theft or other sinful actions.

During the festival, the attendees may become possessed by the animal featuring in their protective tattoo. This often includes individuals flying into a rage; hissing, roaring, moving like an animal might and generally heading towards the main stage where Buddhist monks are praying. These possessed individuals are restrained by those around them and, once calm, the individual returns to sit in their original position.

One blogger who attended this festival remarks on the clear organisation of the event, with plenty of toilets and nourishment available. They also spoke of the spectacular energy experienced by those attending the event, which is of little surprise given the strange, yet ethereal, behaviour exhibited by many of the festival’s participants.

It isn’t always clear is there is something which inspires the individuals to take off, as if possessed, but some wonder if the catalyst could be when they are touched by the holy waters which are sprayed on the crowd at moments during the event, or whether hearing the monk’s sutras brings it out of them.

Whatever the reason for their animalistic outbursts might be, it is certainly an interesting idea that one’s tattoo could affect them so deeply.

Notes for Attending the Festival

If you or one of your clients expresses an interest in attending this magical festival one day, you should talk about the potential dangers of getting a tattoo in Wat Bang Phra. Although the tattoos in Wat Bang Phra are rich with history, there is some controversy regarding the cleanliness of the needles used in this area.

In the aim of maintaining good health, it is recommended that attendees try not to get caught up by the excitement and swarms of people getting fresh inks in celebration of the festival. Instead, recommend that the individual sensibly plans a tattoo in advance of the celebration to enjoy at the festival.

The Importance of Great Needles and Grips

Great tattoos needles are the first step for achieving a great tattoo and failing to sterilise your needles could result in serious complications for your parlour or studio. It is also important to ensure that your needles are properly maintained – needles experiencing heavy use will change their shape and using these defunct needles could lead to scarring. Your needles can also develop barbs when they come into contact with the ink caps, so it’s important to change needles before problems arise.

You also need to think of your own health as a tattoo artist and your ability to continue to deliver great tattoos to your clients. Keeping your hands healthy is very important, which is why we recommend that you invest in some high-quality tattoo grips. Finding a grip that suits your style is important to your ability to create great tattoos every day – larger grips may even improve the quality of your tattoos if you can reduce the shake of your own arm when inking straight lines, and rubber grips will take some of the pressure off your fingertips – helping you to reduce the likelihood of giving yourself repetitive strain injuries that could put you out of work.