Meet Ondangwa’s tattoo master
By Marx Itamalo
JEREMIAH ‘Messi Tattooman’ Jeremiah is a wanted man. Not by law enforcement, but by clients young and old from Ondangwa and surrounding areas with one common aim; to draw tattoos on their bodies.
Confidente caught with the self-taught tattoo artist from Omashaka to get first-hand information about his work. “I can confidently and strictly call myself a self- taught tattoo artist because nobody taught me how to draw tattoos,” he told this publication at his studio in the Omashaka location on the outskirts of Ondangwa last week.
The tattoo bug bit Messi Tattooman in 2015 when he saw someone drawing a tattoo on a friend using a needle and ordinal ink. “From that day I started experimenting with tattoos, using similar homemade equipment and ink. I was mostly drawing tattoos on my schoolmates and close friends and charging amounts ranging from N$10 to N$20,” he stressed adding through the journey he mastered the art of tattoo drawing.
He used this method until 2019, the time he acquired a professional yet home-made tattoo drawing machine, after googling it and watching it being made on a YouTube video.
“I was getting crazy with drawing tattoos and was watching many YouTube videos in order to hone my skills and acquire new knowledge. It was when I made the machine that things started changing for the better. Word spread like wildfire and many people started coming to me after seeing beautiful tattoos that I have done for their friends or relatives,” the Okapya-born artist told Confidente, whilst working on client who was having a dragon tattoo drawn on him.
The 20-year-old artist discontinued school after completing grade 11 and decided to follow his artistic talent. “It was a hard decision to make, but worth it I guess. This is my calling I cannot escape from it. Before becoming a tattoo artist I was already a good drawer which is why I decide to do tattoos only,” Messi Tattooman narrated.
On a good day, he said, he would see four clients leaving his studio happy.
“But there are also the bad days when no one pops in and I use the days to practice new tattoos on paper and watch related videos on YouTube,” he stated.
And the charges? Cheap and affordable. For simple tattoos, like names and others, he can bill you at N$150, whilst for complicated and complex tattoos that require much attention and detail he asks up to N$700. “The biggest amount I have asked so far was N$700,” he articulated whilst noting that those are some of the most affordable rates one could find in the local tattoo industry.
Messi Tattooman further told Confidente that he also advises clients on perfect colours for their skins and perfect locations for tattoos on their bodies. “As a tattoo artist you cannot just draw a tattoo wherever the clients wants it to be. You should be able to advise them the perfect location for the tattoo they want. Some places are not ideal for certain tattoos and clients might not know that,” he explained further adding even the black, red and yellow colours he uses are not suitable for every skin and thus he has the responsibility of advising clients accordingly.
To anyone willing to walk down a tattoo artist path, he has got some wisdom for you: “You have to be artistic, and have a penchant for drawing and willing to learn new stuff all the time,” he advises.
If you have the right body and want to sport something memorable, get hold of this talented young man. And, of course be prepared to feel some pain.