There’s something inherently organic about hand poked tattoos. Part of this comes from how their overall appearance tends to be less perfect than if it had been done via machine - the lines are infinitely more subtle, and the shading varying from point to point. Often elements of mysticism and fantasy creep their way in, like crystal balls, mermaids, fairies, full moons, and tarot cards. Artist Tati Compton’s work is a prime example of how truly inspired hand poked tattoos can be when done by a professional.
Based in Los Angeles, California, Compton has only once dabbled in machine work, and says that she much prefers the art of hand poking. In an Interview with ID Magazine, Compton says that she initially learned how to hand poke when she was 21. “My friends in [San Francisco] were doing stick 'n' pokes so that's when I first became interested in doing them, as we would do them on ourselves quite often," Compton explains. "I learned how to stick 'n' poke from my best friend who I think learned it from the internet.” After many years of practice, and presumably hundreds of tattoos later, she has absolutely mastered her craft. Creating everything from animals to portraits of women, and occasionally gods, her work is often sexual or sex positive in nature. In recent months, she’s even taken to tattooing nude women in handcuffs, sexual encounters with the devil, and an absolutely intriguing depiction of a woman looking at her own genitals via a mirror.
But Compton’s artistry doesn’t end with skin and ink. She recently collaborated with musician Ty Segall to create the album art for his side project, Fuzz. The magnificently psychedelic, rainbow dragon-creature gracing the album cover is beyond impressive. New York based Prize Pins also sought to collaborate with Compton for their Artist series. Comprised of five enamel pins, the limited edition collaboration is a take on Compton’s style of tattooing reflecting elements that are often found throughout her work, like skulls, hands, ouroboros and women. Just this week, it was also announced that Compton and Prize Pins had created a blanket decorated with pieces of her flash.
Although based out of Los Angeles, Compton is a traveling artist who frequently guests at tattoos shops around the world. So if you’re a fan of the renowned hand poke artist, you’re in luck, maybe she'll be hitting your town soon.
You can see more of Compton’s work on her Instagram.