Posted on November 18 2020
I'm a self-taught hand poked tattooist who got my start in Toronto, but am now based out of St. Johns's, Newfoundland. At the beginning I practiced mostly on my friends who were extremely supportive and wanted to help me grow as an artist. Not long after others began reaching out to get tattoos, so a friend and I had decided to start a joint account to promote ourselves a bit since she was dabbling as well. I personally find the process very therapeutic, whether I'm on the receiving end or giving a tattoo.
Photo by Matt Williams @koy.ote
Was Hand Poke tattooing something you went to after machine tattooing, or has the hand poke style always been your preferred method?
I had my start with hand poked tattooing, but I am open to trying some machine work in the future. I was actually gifted a machine recently, but I'm not in any rush. I really enjoy what I do and I would like to continue to develop my skills in this realm before I dive into something new. I am Inuit on my mothers side, and hand stitching tattoos is also something that really intrigues me. I have a lot of respect for those who have been tattooed with that method, and am extremely excited for the resurgence that is happening right now with indigenous tattooing.
What was it like the first time you put needle and ink to skin?
The first time it was on my own body so it was pretty fun and low key, and I found it was good practice off the bat since I could get a feel for moderating each poke and creating a consistent flow. I ended up tattooing 3 of my friends directly after that first time which was also pretty awesome.
Have you always been a tattoo artist?
I haven't, I got my start in December of 2015, but I've only recently been confident enough to call myself an artist let alone a tattoo artist. I have always had an artistic side to me but it was when I started dating my current partner that I got the support and reassurance it was something I could actually pursue. Those anxieties always creep in but they're also what drive me to become better.
Do you have any memorable stories you can tell?
Nothing too funny and every experience is memorable in its own way, but I really enjoyed the time I got to tattoo my good friends bands initials on his arm in some classic Van Halen font, and also the time I was given a wicked tarot reading after a session from a client turned friend, it was creepishly accurate...
Photo by Matt Williams @koy.ote
So Single Needle Tattoo Kits, I believe that home tattooing is inherently risky, but people have, and will continue to tattoo themselves, therefore making a safe and affordable kit is the way forward... What's your take on this?
Safe tattooing and creating a sterile environment to work in is extremely important when putting ink to skin, so it's great that Single Needle Tattoo Kits are available for those looking to give it a try. The first few times I was tattooing I didn't have the proper equipment, so it would have been great to have, but my main goal right away was to educate myself on proper tattooing procedures and to ensure my next tattoos are done properly. And it doesn't hurt to get your Blood Born Pathogens License for some extra knowledge on potential risks when tattooing.