Posted on May 07 2018
My name is Leni and I’m a 23 year old self-taught handpoke artist based in Berlin. I started hand poking almost 2 years ago and since then it has grown into something really important to me. When I’m not tattooing I'm studying in a self-governing school and take care of my dog.
How did you get into Hanpoke?
It was a friend of mine, who is a tattoo artist working in a studio, that introduced me to handpoking. He helped me to order the material to start with and showed me how to prepare a proper and clean/sterile working space. But because he is tattoing with a machine he couldn’t teach me how to poke, so I needed to make my own experience.
Handpoking have become a big part of my life and it makes me so happy to meet really nice people which have my tattoos on their bodies and leaving a session with a smile.
What was it like the first time you put needle and ink to skin?It was on myself. I drew a really trashy looking cactus on my leg and started poking. It was exciting and compared to machine tattoos less painful even though I put the needle too far into my skin. After one hour I had a bleeding cactus made of bad lines with a lot of gaps. I sent a picture to the friend who works in a studio and he said: `Leni, throw the needle away and never touch it again!` - I didn’t listen to him.
Do you have any memorable/ funny stories you can tell?The first time was pretty memorable and funny but also when I poked my dad.
It was on his birthday as a present. He had a 40 year old tattoo made by himself when he was young, bored and maybe a little bit drunk with 3 sewing needles and india ink. So I gave it a little makeover. While poking he fell asleep and started snoring. It was the calmest session ever.
Why do you prefer hand-poking to machine tattooing?It’s calming for me and also my clients. It’s also less painful and not as loud as a machine which is nice for all of those who are scared of the pain and maybe a little bit sensitive. I like that poked tattoos are healing so fast and mostly without this itchyness that you usually get from machine tattoos.
What would you recommend to someone who wanted to start tattooing?Educate yourself about sterile workspaces to avoid possible infections and use proper gear.
Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to hand poke tattooing?
It’s not like tattooing with a machine. A line takes more time so you’ll need patience. There is no rush.
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?
First of all yes, people will continue to poke at home at least in the beginning. I do this too even though I would like to poke in a studio but so far I had no opportunity for this.
Most important thing is the hygiene as I‘ve recommended already. In this case I think it‘s better to start with a kit which contains sterile needles and safe ink.
You can find me on instagram @lenipokes.