Some call him Nigeria’s tattoo wizard, others just regard him as a talented artist. He is known as Bizzyaski, but his real name is Abisola Ojikutu.
Bizzyaski’s impressive clientelle is a testament to how far he has come since committing himself to the art of striking needles in peoples skin to imprint lasting designs.
From Charly Boy to Iyabo Ojo, or Karen Igho, Iyanya and K Solo, Bizzyaski has made a name for himself as one of the best in the craft.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Daniel Fayemi spoke with the Olabisi Onabanjo University graduate of Philosophy on how he found himself in the business, how he handles the pressure of drawing tattoos on ladies boobs and privates, his success story and so much more.
How did you go into tattoo drawing?
I have always had this belief that aside education, I must have a craft that I can rely on if I am unable to get a job with my certificate. I have passion for arts because I draw a lot. My mom gave me the idea, because she runs a beauty salon, she invited me to learn tattoo drawing from someone. Then, I agreed and started going to the tattoo studio whenever I came home from school.
I observed what they were doing, collected new samples and materials from them and I started practicing in school when I was in 300 level then. I was just practicing till I finished school in 2008, that was when I learnt it fully for six months. After, I started my own tattoo business and it has grown to what we have now.
When you started, did you mean to do it full time or as a hobby?
I had in mind that it’s going to be big someday. My belief is that the more you put passion into something, the more it grows. I knew it was going to be bigger someday so I took it as my work which will take me somewhere. Aside tattoos, I love fashion a lot so what I do here is more than tattoo. I do other beauty jobs so that one can complement the other. I knew it was going to get big and we thank God for today that we are one of the best in Nigeria.
I also went for some other brush up in California, United States. There’s a tattoo studio there where I did more updating because you have to keep yourself updated.
How has the patronage been?
We thank God because we get our customers through referrals. We started with few customers but now, on our website, people visit to book for sessions. Celebs call in, regular customers call in, and even from outside Nigeria.
Which celebs have you drawn tattoos for?
I’ve done for quite a number of them. I have done for major celebs, including Karen Igho, Iyanya, I’ve done for K Solo, Iyabo Ojo, Terry G, Charly Boy too. I also did for AY dot com and a whole lot of artistes that I can’t remember now, but I have done so many.
How do you control yourself as a man when ladies, including celebs expose their private parts to you in order to draw tattoos?
Being a professional, I don’t allow that to disturb me. Truthfully, there are times you get aroused and your body moves but my focus is always on doing a perfect job so I can handle it very well.
How comfortable is your girlfriend with you drawing tattoos on other ladies boobs and bums?
My girlfriend trusts me, and she knows it’s my job which brings food to the table for both of us so, she doesn’t mind at all.
People say you are expensive, how true is that?
People say that I’m expensive but I will say I’m affordable because when you are paying for a good job, you should pay good money. You should at least pay something that would be encouraging but my charges are normal and affordable for those that knows the worth. It is those that don’t know the worth that think I am expensive.
What sets your work apart from other tattooists in the country?
The special thing about my work is that when you see it, you know it was done by a professional. Another is that we have a very large collection of samples. Some of the works I got are from the samples they saw on the website. Even for multinational companies, they saw samples and that is why they always contact us like we did for the Nokia Asha half dollar event. The work sells itself, it’s very professional.
What kind of equipment do you use in the studio?
We have equipment for making tattoos. We have Rotary 2014 machine, the tattoo gun, new needles, the inks and so on. We have equipment for removing tattoo also, those are the lasers. We have gadgets for other beauty routines that we do too like the one for teeth whitening and others.
What’s your reaction to those who see tattoos as a sin or as being immoral?
I see tattoos as a way of expression and I see it as fashion. Like I always say, there might be a day when we will all be wearing slippers to the office because it is something that is trending. Fashion can come in any way, I see tattoo as a fashion that is in vogue.
Tattoo was even generated from our culture. We Africans are the ones that started tattoos with our tribal marks and body paintings, they now modernized it abroad and brought it here. It is only in this part of the world that we regard people that wear tattoo as irresponsible but out there, it’s not like that.
What are categories of tattoos?
We have temporary and permanent tattoos. Temporary is the one that you print out and you imprint upon the skin. It won’t last more than a week, maximum. If you are in a cold country, it can last for up to a month but in this hot weather; it will wash off within a week.
The permanent on the other hand is one where you have to use the machine, the needles will be used, and it strikes the body. It is when it strikes the body that makes it permanent. There was no remedy for removing permanent tattoos but now there is remedy as we have been removing permanent tattoos for like three years now.
What about the scars, people say removing permanent tattoos leave ugly scars?
It’s just like someone that falls and gets a bruise, later it would blend back. What the laser does is to extract the ink from the body so there is nothing like scars, except you don’t use the right treatment or you don’t use the right machine.
What else do you do in this studio?
We do pink lips, we do tattoo removals like I said, we do stretch mark removal, we do hips and breast enlargement, piercing, slimming, teeth whitening, permanent make-up for women and we remove women beards too. We do hair removals too.
But you don’t do bleaching?
No, we don’t do bleaching.
You must have made a lot of money from this business. How rich has tattoo drawing made you now?
I can’t dispute that we make a lot of money but we buy expensive equipment too. There are some things we weren’t doing but when so many people are calling to inquire if we could do them, we go into them to satisfy our customers. I would just say I am comfortable.
How would you advise someone who wants to draw a tattoo but doesn’t know how to go about it or is afraid of the pain?
One thing is that every tattoo has a meaning. There are designs that have different meanings. Someone might just call me and say he wants to draw a scorpion. Normally, I’m supposed to draw it and collect my money but I would advise you first. I would try and convince you to try and get another design.
I will ask what the scorpion means to you, but if you say it doesn’t mean anything to you and you just saw it on people and you want it, I will enlighten you, scorpion means so and so. I will try and convince you to draw something that is meaningful.
There are religious tattoos, occultic tattoos and many other types. This is because we have what we call tattoo regret, where you regret getting a tattoo. It depends on the person that draws it for you. By and large, I advise my clients before drawing tattoos.
Like how much would it cost to set up a standard tattoo studio like yours?
To set up a studio like this, you should have up to N2 million .
Who’s your girlfriend?
I’m in a relationship but I can’t disclose her identity for now.
What does she do?
She’s a student.
Thank you for your time?
– DANIEL FAYEMI