From a Chartered Accountant To a Tattoo Artist: Balancing Passion and Profession

CA turned Tatoo Artist

I am Dhruvin Bhanushali, a qualified Chartered Accountant and Tattoo Artist. I belong to a small town known as Ulhasnagar (Thane District) in India.

I completed my Chartered Accountancy in 2017 and presently working at DHFL (India).

Growing up I wanted to be an artist, not just any artist but, a tattoo artist!

Where I could create my marks permanently, where I could show my love towards the art and where people would proudly wear designs carved on them by me.

However, before getting into this journey, I had another important milestone to achieve and that was completing CA.

Everyone has a story and all our stories have something in common — we all start from nothing.

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Here is my story

While growing up I loved drawings and was fascinated by tattoos at a very young age. 

If I go back in time, I can say my love for drawings/tattoos started after I saw my Mother getting two tattoos on her arm. Now she has 3 tattoos, the third one is done by me, it is a Tulsi Tattoo, her dream tattoo.

Ironically people appreciate beautiful artsy things but when it comes to making a career in anything related to art, parents usually from middle-class society do not encourage their kids.

I faced a similar situation.

Coming from a middle-class family where my father was the only bread earner with multiple stomachs to feed, choosing only passion was never an option for me.

When it was time for me to decide on a career, I was looking for a qualification - which was not expensive to pursue and which had great market value and demand after qualifying. 

That is why I decided to pursue Chartered Accountancy from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).

All of you from India would know that the fees to register for the CA exams are not much, in fact very reasonable however passing the exams is a challenge.

So in short, I was ready to work as hard as I could to pursue a degree that would help me to earn more by spending less. It would also give me the freedom to pursue my passion - Becoming a Tattoo Artist. 

So the main aim of choosing this profession was just to make a hell of lot of money and make a way to fund my passion.

And here started my CA journey.

My CA Journey

I was always good at academics. But since I did my school education in Gujarati medium (not English) the transition from writing exams in Gujarati to English was a nightmare.

The only aim then was to clear all the three exams in one shot.

What about my passion for becoming a Tattoo Artist? Well, I kept that on hold for the time being until I qualified as a CA.

To be a Chartered Accountant from ICAI, one needs to clear 3 levels of exams:

  • CPT: First level. You have to give this exam if you register for the CA course before graduating. I registered for CPT after class 12.
  • IPCC: Second level exam. This consists of 2 groups – Group 1 & 2.
  • CA Final: Last level of CA exam and has again 2 groups – Group 1 & 2.
  • 3 years of articleship training: This starts after you clear IPCC, either both groups or anyone of them.

Luckily I gave my best and passed the CA CPT and CA IPCC in the first attempt.

Also during my articleship, I continued to draw, as drawing is a base for a good tattoo artist. So I never left drawing. The principal of the CA firm where I was doing my articles gave me an opportunity to draw the CA firm's logo on one of their office walls.

I would also volunteer at various street art festivals.

However due to CA preparations, somewhere I couldn't give justice to my passion. 

I postponed my tattoo learning until I could save enough money to buy the equipment and join a professional tattoo learning course.

College, articleship, and CA exams consumed a lot of my time, leaving me with very little time to pursue my passion or even think about it. There were many months in this 4 year CA journey when I completely forgot about my dream of becoming a Tattoo Artist. 

Somewhere just before my CA Final exams my dream of becoming of Tattoo artist got so strong. I was again focussed on this goal.

But I knew qualifying as a CA will only give me the freedom to pursue my passion and I gave my best to the last level exams - CA Final.

In May'17, I gave my CA Final exams and passed the exams (in my second attempt I cleared).

I was now a qualified as Chartered Accountant, a big achievement for me.

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Pursuing my dream of becoming a Tattoo Artist

After qualifying as a CA, I started working at DHFL as a Credit Manager (Oct'17).

While working at this company, I started saving money to buy the equipment and machines which I would need to become a Tattoo Artist.

I also started saving money to pay the first installment of fees for the training needed to be a Tattoo Artist.

Finally, the wait was over and on the 1st July'18 (on my Dad's birthday), I started my tattoo training.

A dream which I waited for so many years to pursue.

To Conclude

When I started my CA journey the aim was just to make money and find a way to fund my passion. 

However, this course itself taught me so many things which ultimately helped me to survive in my tattoo journey as well.

I never knew this CA course would bring so much of change in myself and in the way people treat me.

As far as tattooing is concerned, I am a freelancer. And as far as professional life is concerned I am working with a company as a Credit Manager.

My advice to all:

  • We all have a passion for life. You might not know about it but we all have a passion, I believe.  Find that hidden passion, polish that and make it shine.
  • Don't let this stereotype society tell you what you are good at and what you should do or you shouldn't. It's your life, you have got only one. You need not live it as per their conditions.
  • If you still think of doing the thing which you wanted to do when you were a child, and when you were not confused about making living, if that thought is still there, believe me, it's worth trying for it.

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