Hand poked work has seen its fair share of bad press, what with any kid in a punk house able to pick up a needle and some Indian ink and fashion themselves an artist. But truth be told, hand poking is derived from one of the oldest methods of tattooing — there's no electricity or machine involved here. For as many grimy stick and poke scratchers as there are out there, there’s twice as many hand poked artists whose level of talent rivals or surpasses any machine artist, and Berlin's Bregs is a hand poke artist you really ought to know.
Initially trying her hand as a printmaker, Bregs traded in her love of printing for a tattooing apprenticeship three and a half years ago. “After trying it out on myself and a few willing friends, I fell in love with the slower process of creating something lasting and permanent as well as the control I was able to quickly grasp after having dealt with the heaviness of a machine,” she explains. “I really enjoy how nicely the ink sets into the skin shortly after. The process itself is meditative for me, and I am able create this safe, mellow atmosphere to share something permanent with another person.”
Hand poked work might be slowly creeping its way into the western mainstream, as we begin to figure out what the rest of the world has already known for quite some time — there is a methodical beauty in hand poked tattoos, and artists like Bregs are on a mission to prove it.