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Mumbai, India / 2021

Tanaya Saha

An immunologist who chose art over her medical profession

I clearly remember the very first day holding a machine. It was so exciting!

It is not uncommon to see Indian parents questioning their daughter’s ability to earn and become financially independent through art as a profession. Things are gradually changing and improving, however. The problem remains for a vast majority of India that lives outside tier I and tier II cities.


This is the story of Tanaya, a brave 25 year old Mumbaikar who took up immunology as her field of studies due to parental pressure. She studied at National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi where she was completing her PhD. Since publishing research papers takes time, she decided to carve out some time for something she really enjoyed as a kid but was never encouraged to continue beyond what was required at that time. Tanaya had learnt the basics of drawing and sketching as a kid in school.

When Covid-19 hit and when everyone was forced to sit at home, she thought of returning to her artistic self. She remembered her struggle when she wanted to get inked, but was not pleased with her experience and felt that she could do much better. She wanted another tattoo, but this time, she decided to learn the art herself.

That led to Tanaya joining the August 2021 batch of the famous six-month course of Aliens Tattoo Art School after clearing her schedule of academic responsibilities.

Making that decision was one of the two toughest parts of her journey of becoming a professional tattoo artist. Like anyone in her place would, Tanaya too felt nervous and skeptical of her abilities, especially about ever being able to make portraits and realism.

The second toughest part was the initial stage after joining the school. However, that was made easy for her by her mentors at the school who not only hand-held her towards artistic excellence, but also encouraged her to believe in herself.

She started training with a sketchbook and pencil and gradually studied all techniques necessary to understand the tattoo art. The first few months were very challenging for her since the techniques were different than what she was used to, but as someone wise once said, “Nothing good ever comes out of ease and comfort”.

“For me, I clearly remember the very first day holding a machine. It was so exciting!”, she said.

She started with simple line art tattoos and then moved to portraits and realism where mentoring helped a lot in terms of getting that confidence and flow. As of today, Tanaya has made more than five jaw-dropping tattoos including a  colour tattoo that had a unique impact. Making those tattoos gave her a sense of joy, pride, and achievement.


“I have a lot more to learn and explore styles to hone my skills. My next step is to gain experience and grow as an artist. There is nothing better than being your own boss, working as a freelancer or working contractually”, she says.  The part that she would miss the most about the Aliens Tattoo Art School would be discussing tattoos, art, ideas with her peers and mentors.


Tanaya has a message for all parents: “Please believe in your kids and listen to them, let them make some of their own mistakes, do not hold them back. Kids have tremendous potential trapped inside them which can come out with the right kind of support and encouragement from parents”.


Did this story seem relatable to you? Do you know someone who hates their 9 to 5 and wants to get out of the rat race? Share this story with them. Click here to learn more about the six month tattoo art course offered by Aliens Tattoo Art School.

Tanaya Inteview

Tanaya Saha's Interview

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