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What is a Stick and Poke Tattoo?

Posted on August 20 2018

What is a Stick and Poke Tattoo?

The art of stick and poke tattooing is the administration of ink into the skin, with the result being the creation of a permanent tattoo, wihtout the use or aid of any electricity. This practice can also be known under many other names. Examples include; hand poke tattoo, hand tattoo, machine-free tattoo and DIY tattoo. As opposed to the use of a machine, the tattoo is created with the use of a single sterile tattoo needle, which can be known to be attached to a stick. This needle is then repeatedly poked into the skin to create dots and eventually, a tattoo design.

There are a diverse range of methods and tools that are used across the world, by many cultures. The plethora of tools is admirable, fluctuating from instruments like bamboo, through to the use of sharpened animal bones and sticks. Stick and poke tattoos are often affiliated with the tattooing procedure being done at home in a relatively carefree manner, often with friends. The outcome of this is often a much less refined and rough aesthetic.

Although the method of stick and poke maintains an affiliation with lack of precision, this simplicity is often what achieves the attraction towards the use of a single needle and some ink. Although the admirability and beauty of a photorealistic tattoo is unquestionable, they can require a series of sessions with a skilled tattoo artist and a considerable amount of money. The simplicity of stick and poke on the other hand, removes the issue of high prices and other complexities, rewarding a much more personal result.

A typical stick and poke tattoo often consists of a small and simple design, that can be executed by almost anyone with the correct equipment and preparation. When performed by a professional hand poke tattoo artist, the results can be magnificent. Although the outcome may be simple, it can also be remarkably realistic.

Irrespective of the person performing the tattoo and furthermore the reasoning or motivation behind wanting to get a stick and poke, it is always a very personal experience. Not only is receiving a hand poke tattoo a very individual practice, but it also embeds you into the wider culture of stick and poke tattoos, something that is constantly growing. Well known celebrities such as Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevingne all possess stick and poke body art and show them off explicitly. The trend of hand poke tattoos has been soaring for the past 8 years and shows no signs of slowing down in the time to come.

It is certain that the majority of tattoos are performed with some level of reasoning or meaning behind them. Furthermore, in the world of stick and poke, it is common that the person performing the tattoo is also the person being tattooed. If it is not someone tattooing themselves, then it is also likely to be a very close friend or even a relative. This familiarity creates an extra sense of sentimental value attached to the tattoo.