As expected, we've gotten a lot of hate and backlash for writing about appreciation for stick and poke tattoos. Every single stick and poke tattoo doesn't just have the best reputation. We're going to start with that fact. Everyone can get a needle and some ink, but not everyone can tattoo. Tattooing, as we all know, is serious business. Regardless whether you're tattooing a traditional style eagle or a phallic biomechanical style tattoo, it all goes down to the tattooing process to see how it ends up.
We'll shed more light to what stick and poke tattooing is about. We won't try to change your views and convince you to get a stick and poke tattoo, but at least, show you what you usually get wrong about this form of tattooing. Again, it has a lot of risk. It's also more difficult than tattooing with a machine due to the possible complications and the fact that it's one wrong poke away from becoming a tattoo hazard.
"It's so gross and unsanitary."
This statement goes along with the connotation of every stick and poke tattoo with jailhouse tattoo (see below). And even when you take away the 'jail tatt' from stick and poke tattoos, there are still a lot of dumbasses picking their best friends' skin with a dirty needle and a Bic pen. Any reputable tattoo artist who specializes in hand-poking can give you the typical, nasty, bloodshed we all go through from getting tattooed.
"You're probably infected with all kinds of disease right now."
See more above. Very conditional. Like everything else, there's a very high possibility of screwing up if you have no idea what you're doing. Pretty much like tattooing with machine. You're gonna have to trust who's behind it. But the risk is a bit higher with hand-poking. It takes someone capable to do it because a stick and poke tattoo can go incredibly wrong. So, if you'd rather not risk a disease or infection from getting the tattoo done by your college boyfriend, then go search up who's the nearest stick and poke tattoo artist in your area.
I think tattooed people who say this about stick and poke tattoos are forgetting how others see them as ex-convicts for having tattoos. How ironic. There's no denying that stick and poke is widely associated with prison tattoos, though. But one shouldn't overlook the fact that prisoners have to use improvised materials in jail and sometimes to build their own DIY machines. So technically, not all prison tattoos are hand-poked.
If there's something I won't contest, it's people's personal opinion, no matter how shitty. And I am guilty of the same opinions at times, so I'd rather not be any more of a hypocrite. There are all kinds of tattoos, in terms of quality. There are the superb ones, done by the some of the most skilled of them all; the nasty ones, done by the worst scratchers in history, etc. It's pretty subjective. But something I actually understand with people who intentionally get 'shitty' tattoos is the way they like it just as it is. They intentionally got it that way. And by shitty, I mean, simple, doodle-like tattoos that look more like they belong at the back of a high schooler's notebook rather than on skin.
"Why are you condoning this?"
We aren't exactly encouraging everyone to go get themselves a hand-poked tattoo because they haven't lived yet if they didn't. All we want is to kind of brush the stigma that clings to the word 'stick and poke tattoo'. Personally, I think it's rather sad that the way of hand-poking has been reduced to something such as a prison mark. It does seem more acceptable when stick and poke is done at some old man's sanctuary in a Southeast Asian country, rather than on a bed in the comforts of your own flat with a good friend. The way I see it, it all goes down to capable hands. Tattooing without a license is illegal in many places, so do as you please at your own risk.
Look at this, you wouldn't have had your beloved stick and poke tattoo if it weren't for decades of practice and experimentation. And you know where it all started? Among the techniques were you guessed it, hand-poking. They didn't always use safety needles or pen ink (sarcasm, anyone?) back then, they had to make do with fish bones, charcoal, thorns, splinters, among many others. Do your research. I don't think anyone should be allowed to love something on its glory days while shunning what came before. It's like saying One Direction is better than The Beatles.
If there's something you people got right about the stick and poke-loving folks, it's this: we are so hipster. (Catch my sarcasm?)
As of now, I'm getting ready to perform my first stick and poke tattoo. It's on a friend from the local music scene and I'm learning and practicing as much as I can to be able to do it properly. Dis-moi merde!