The Rise of Stick and Poke Tattoos

Stick and Poke tattooing is the street name for a type of tattoo art called non-electric tattooing. Think at home artists using needles and whatever supplies they might have and you get the idea.

‘Stay connected’ by If It Ain’t Poke Don’t Stick It. source

Beginning of Stick and Poke Tattoos

Many believe that this tattoo technique is a relatively new trend. Most agree that stick and poke tattoos can be traced to prison culture and the desire for self expression. However, recent historians have proof that this art form actually began at the end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th Around the turn of last century, the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University in Poland, utilized a rather crude method of documentation of the earliest prison tattoos. The researchers simply removed the tattooed skin from dead prisoners and encased the art work for posterity in jars of formaldehyde. Tattoos were simpler and often represent crimes committed by those incarcerated.

Hand poked cactus tattoo done with the stick and poke tattoo kitsource

Rise of the Trend

Hand poke tattoo artists became more popular with the advent of technology and social media. It became easier to learn how to do the tattoos with self proclaimed experts posting videos blogs and how-to articles. The internet offered at home supplies and a simple search brings up a plethora of tattoo items. For those wanting questionable tattoos, Stick and Pokes offer a viable option. Another draw is the price as getting a tattoo yourself generally is a lot cheaper. The trend has even caught on with celebrities such as Cara Delevigne, Sam Smith and Bella Thorne, who all have hand poked tattoos.

Hand poked LOVE tattoo on the butt cheek by Madrien. source

Risks of Stick and Poke Tattoos

While a cheaper, more self expressive tattoo might sound enticing, those desiring one need to stop and think about the risks of DIY tattoos. Unlike tattoo parlors, who have to pass health inspections, an at home Stick and Poke Tattoo does not have health guarantees. Some of the health issues related to home tattooing include:

  1. Bacterial infections: While an infection can occur at any parlor, certified shops have to comply by sanitation standards. You or your buddy next door may not have the most sanitary conditions to work in or the cleanest needles and supplies.
  2. Blood born infections: Without a guarantee of sanitation, the risk increases for blood born diseases such as Hepatitis. One might assume that your friend doesn’t reuse needles and supplies, but there is no guarantee.
  3. Scarring: DIY tattooers generally do not have the equipment to perform a deep tattoo, but a too deep tattoo can leave scarring for life!
Smile or don’t by Trash Poking. source

On top of this, in some countries and states, it is illegal to receive a tattoo if under age 18 or to give a tattoo to an underage, so check the laws of your country or state before deciding on getting one.

The Stick and Poke Tattoo trend isn’t expected to die down any time soon. However, if you or a friend are considering having one to express your individual style, consider buying a Stick and Poke Tattoo Kit – no one wants to end up with a long term disease such as Hepatitis. Experts, tattoo artists and doctors all suggest that those desiring this new tattoo trend, research their options before deciding on a Stick and Poke Tattoo.

Hand poked Rick Sánchez tattoo on the thigh by troppo male non puo venire. source
Playing card based on a drawing by Tuesday source