Posted on October 07 2020
I am a self-taught handpoke tattoo artist now based in Montreal,Canada. I have been practicing this technique for about 3 years and gave hundreds of tattoos while traveling around the continent.
Was Hand Poke tattooing something you went to after machine tattooing, or has the hand poke style always been your preferred method?
I started with hand poke and it's definitely my preferred method. Though I did experimented with a tattoo machine on my legs and on friends, I soon realized that it would require years of practice and probably someone to teach me before I could tattoo well!
In contrast, because of the slow and gentle nature of hand poking, i could learn different techniques on my own, and progress naturally. At some point, I'd like to learn machine tattooing, and it would have to be done properly with a mentor, but for now I am going to stay with stick and poke.
I like how minimalist and ancestral this technique is;I find it extremely relaxing and love how easy it is to set up my work space almost anywhere!
What was it like the first time you put needle and ink to skin?
God. Terrible. My friends and I were using sewing needles, which is just the worst, most painful way to tattoo... obviously, but that's what we knew at the time. Later on my travels, I encountered a professional hand poker (which i didn't even know it was a thing), who taught me his technique using actual tattoo equipment and that changed my life! The first time I used proper tattoo needles, I knew i was going to be doing this for a long time; It's like when i first got my bike, i couldn't walk places anymore if that makes sense, haha.
Have you always been a tattoo artist?
No, it kind of just happened to me. I've always been artistic, I probably started drawing before anything else. When i was 18 ish, I started getting into tattooing and would poke some shitty little tats on myself after watching my brother do it. Then I started drunkenly tattooing my friend and it grew from there; people start contacting me and I developed my techniques. I became more aware of the importance of hygiene and good technique. The process defined my style and here i am now, hand poking for a living!
Do you have a memorable story you can tell?
A few years ago I tattooed RITA in a heart on a lover, and on myself his name; Carl. (lol) He didnt take care of it, the tattoo turned really bad and when it healed it said PITA. then we split and I turned mine into take CARE haha.
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?
I totally agree with. I started the risky-hard-shitty way and I'm lucky nothing ever happened but looking back, I realize how it's just not something to mess with. I know some tattoo artists aren't so stoked on making this practice so available and i understand why, but as you said people are still going to do it so I think it's great to promote safety first baby!
INSTAGRAM : @r_i_t_a_handpoke
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