The Pistache Podcast – S1 E10 – Machine vs Hand Poked Tattoos? What is the difference and is one technique better than the other? Are all tattoos made the same? Nick and Jamie look into the history of tattooing and talk about different techniques and styles. They also talk about one of their other businesses, a hand poked tattoo studio in Bayonne, France called Indigenous Tattoo. Listen and (hopefully) learn something.
S1 E10 – Machine vs Hand Poked Tattoos? Podcast Video
S1 E10 – Machine vs Hand Poked Tattoos? Podcast Transcript
This transcript has been generated using experimental artificial intelligence, so it’s not perfect at the moment, but it is improving. thanks for listening.
Hi, everyone, we’re back with The Pistache Podcast. If you like, you’ve been hearing so far and you want to support the podcast. Please subscribe, right? Five stars if possible. And reviewers on your podcast app. If you could do that right now that be amazing, you’re going to get loads of instant positive karma coming your way and share the podcast on social media with your friends or family. Anyone you think would enjoy it, even if it’s someone you don’t like. That really helps us out as well and we’d massively appreciate that. We also do a lot of customization work for private clients and brands, so get in touch with us if you’re interested in us customizing some shoes or sneakers for you. Also, we do a lot of live events where we do live painting, screen printing, customizing shoes. So if you’re looking to hire artists or events, you know who to ask. You can also follow us on social media at Pistache Artists pretty much everywhere, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We were so easy to find and other sites like Pinterest and Linked-In. Thanks. You support I getting a lot of new listeners. We appreciate all of you. The new and the existing ones. Enjoy the podcast
Welcome back to The Pistache Podcast. Sorry this week if the audio quality is a bit not up to scratch because I’ve got a bit of a cold, so I’ve got things to dose up here so hopefully won’t affect the sound too much. But say sorry to Kai’s mum. So be sounding like Mick Jagger unless I say so. Sorry. Kai’s mum hot drinks that. Let’s sort out your hot drinks and iswhy is over, that’s all.
John, take over a little bit the reins. So basically today’s podcast we’re gonna be delving into tattooing, which as people will know from listening to the podcast, we have a tattoo shop. So we’re basically going to be looking at essentially machine tattooing kind of vs. traditional tattooing methods. Obviously, people know that from what we’ve said that we actually hand poked tattoos, even though especially Jamie more to me did a fairly decent amount of machine tattooing before we kind of I guess you could say specialised in hand poked tattoos. But we do essentially that. So anyway, just as a bit of background. So we’re really gonna be kind of the main sort of I guess, question and theme of this is going to be which is better. And I mean, that’s kind of like not to just literally say which is better, but basically essentially comparing them, comparing techniques kind of maybe almost like help people is a little bit of a guidelines as to maybe what kind of technique to choose basically going down that path. So as usual, we’re going to give like a tiny little background, but I’m going to try and keep it a bit shorter this time. I generally tend to ramble.
So, yeah, any way to give a very, very brief background am I actually can outline the machining just because it’s slightly more concise or slightly quicker than kind of delving down the whole traditional tattooing methods straight away. So I mean essentially tattoo machine was invented and actually Guy patented it at the same time in 1891, New York, and the guy was called Samuel O’Riley, as far as I can tell. Everyone’s pretty clear about that.
So not not an indigenous American, Irish, American now. Sounds like it. Yeah. And actually, funnily enough, I just saw something pop up when I was looking at that apparently was a modification of Thomas Edison’s electric pen, which I’d never even heard of. The electric pen purloining apparently was some pen that was going to help with like easing writing.
Now, that would work. I think he had a lot of inventions in a library. Prolific inventor. So I think probably any good inventor, you just knocking them out and you want one in every 100 or whatever may be to be the light bulb or the telephone or something really magic.
Really useful. Yeah, that doesn’t seem to have taken off now. Yeah, it might be quite interesting some of the contacts. I literally can’t imagine how that would be useful.
Like I said, I saw it pop up by, just didn’t have the time to delve into it and stuff. I thought that was quite funny. And obviously, on the other hand, that invention obviously had a huge impact on the guy to then invent the electron to machine.
I listened to a podcast with the author that most people like or Neil Gaiman, and he was talking about how different styles pens influenced, how writing was done in different periods of history. So in a lot of people ask, I guess, famous writers like him about his technique. A lot people say, oh, just do. It doesn’t really matter. But he was talking about how in certain periods fountain pen to dry up quicker if you weren’t using it, which is a bit similar to using, say, one of our sponsors, POSCA. They’re really thin nibs. If you stop and you pause for, say, ten or fifteen seconds and you go back to try and draw with a really thin, it’s dried up and you got to recharge the pen. Yeah, definitely. So you’re saying that certain period in history people would write longer sentences and they’d sort of previewing what they’re going to write and then just try to knock it out. You get longer sentences and less time thinking while you’re writing them. So he says if you’re a duplicate writing from certain periods, you’d be better off using a pen from that period because it forced you to write in the same way. That’s a bit of a side. Yes, interesting, all the same. Something I never heard either. I mean, it does tie into the tattooing in some ways because obviously a machine you can just pull a line. And once you started, you kind of want to just pull the whole line because obviously try to go back and recapture line, especially on thin lines. Yeah. Is more difficult. Obviously, once you get really skilled machine tattoo, it’s not an issue. You can really do that. But especially if starting almost holding your breath, try to pull a straight nice line. And that’s sort of the trait wherever. See with hand poking or any other traditional technique, you’re building up the line, going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. So it’s kind of less an issue. But I mean, I guess that does sort of.
Yeah, I mean, that will fall into kind of stuff that we’re going to talk about. I mean, you know, and basically so obviously the machine was invented that late. Eighteen hundreds. But really the popularity of tattooing in what we could call modern culture, modern tattooing.
It seems like really from the 60s is when it really kind of started to kick in. And there was there they actually have a term called Tattoo Renaissance, which, as far as I could tell was around the 60s. And that’s when it really started to hit a lot. People have heard of Ed Hardy.
You know, it’s one of buying his the bootleg version, right. Clothing at your local shitty market for two pound people, things like Ibiza logit. Yeah, he was a famous tattoo, super influential.
And he was probably the main name when you hear about that tattoo renaissance in the 60s. He was probably the main guy. I mean, it was certainly a handful of others. But like I said, he he’s the one. He’s recognizable. And then basically, you know, through the 70s, through the 80s, it kind of just starts hitting mainstream. You get pop stars. Think Janis Joplin was famous for getting tattooed. You know, like people like that. And then kind of even through the 80s, 90s and then up to present day, it’s gradually become less kind of cliquey, I guess you could say where it was more that the bikers, the gang members, the sailors, you know, those the prison, you know, all those kind of typical things.
As we all know, if you go to, say, a tattoo convention nowadays, there’s a million different styles, people doing all types of different things. And it’s not just full of bikers. Even if I think about it, even looking back on the 80s or something like that, I think still probably even then most people I saw are getting tattoos even when we start getting tattooed in the 90s. Yeah, that was mid-nineties. There wasn’t an enormous amount of people I knew who had tattoos outside of maybe bikers or people in those kinds of realms.
You know, I mean, I guess when you look at that, it’s still when you’re talking about bikers, sailors, gang members, presence is almost going back to the original sort of indigenous cultures. They are marking very specific things like there’s a specific reason all the sailor ones as like how many hours you’ve been at sea, you know, where you’ve been. As a lot Hawaiian influence runs, obviously, if you’ve been to Hawaii.
But yet people don’t always just connect the dots suddenly enough talking about that, like when I was kind of looking at all this stuff. Sailors obviously have had a very specific kind of connection in the let’s call it Western tattooing, i.e. states, Britain, everything like that. And they were tattooing through the seventeen hundreds and stuff with needles on the bow. You see a lot of photos of that. You know, like one say there’s tattooing and other actually not bad work. Some of it. I mean some of it’s crazy and a bit crappy but some of it was like when I started delving into it wasn’t too bad is going to be our next thing.
We only tattoo on boat on buckets and they’re kind of with a safety pin or a B.
Anyway, just as a side note, that was quite interesting. In fact, talking about that. Another thing I saw, which I wasn’t actually totally aware of because I certainly never thought about going in the army. That’s about the last thing I do buy. I apparently saw in Britain tattooing like visible tattoos i.e. above the neck, hands, fingers and style of tattoo as well, i.e. non-offensive stuff like that has only really been kind of kind of allowed since slight 2015 apparently when in the army I think in the army.
Yeah, I think that’s right. And certainly in America it’s still an issue even nowadays. Neck tattoos and hand tattoos apparently as to whether you can go in the army when you’ve gotten or when they’re ISIS tattoos and things like that, when they’re doing conscription or whatever.
If you’ve got your face tattooed, would you not have to go to Vietnam or so?
I don’t know. Apparently there’s issues with having to get it covered up and stuff. I mean, this is literally on the total side. No. And I don’t know much about it, but I did see it pop up when I was doing a bit of research. And it’s something that I literally had no idea. Maybe someone could set it straight on that on the exact laws. But like I said, apparently in Britain, from the very although I saw they were not getting enough people signing up for the army.
So that’s one of the things that they dumped in 2015. So that actually it didn’t kind of, you know, squeeze the numbers of people who were going to go frontline infantry in. Because, I mean, I’m guessing Foreign Legion and other places. And she I very much doubt that would be an issue. But who knows?
Without really talking about that. That really. Dairy Foreign Legion, dude, we’re hanging it is in beer is when you will be listening to the podcast. He talks about getting arrested, a lot of the fighting about the stupid stuff we did. So late teens and I remember being in one of the ice cream shops that we actually had a fight with someone different time. But a guy just came in last wearing like her or is it you call it like a pork pie, her like the brim all the way around. Yeah. We’re the cammo print in it and it’s do came in news late start asked me what legion or you know what. What do you cook. I don’t know. What if I was in the army, what kind of soldier. And I was like no I’m just wearing the hat. And I suddenly was like oh shit. Did he was in and it was like an to do in the French Foreign Legion. I’m pretty sure I remember him biting through the side of a beer can. And then he just looked he just looks sketchy. And then he bought some ice cream and had a taxi waiting for him outside. Then he just so fucked off. We definitely are the current database like it does kill you. Don’t fuck with him. You look like he almost killed you with his with his look.
You know what? Talking of Foreign Legion and stuff. I don’t know whether we’d mentioned, but we kind of recently through it. Actually, a tattoo that you would earn on a girl. And we met these films and they actually gonna do maybe two sort of short films, one solely on the tattooing and them a slightly longer one of generally what we what we do in general, especially more the Pistache side. Yeah. I think the dude was in the French Federation, Gera and the really interesting couple he’s really into, they’re kind of into hiking and like Mountain. Yeah. They did a film about walking across from one coast to the other of the Pyrenees. Really, really cool. They already called dogs. But yeah he was in it as well and he’s super nice. Yeah. For sure. But I reckon as well he’d probably like to be messed with. He killed someone. Anyway we went off on a total tangent as usual. So yeah. So that was really kind of like a very brief history of the machining.
Like I said, going down the whole hole of traditional tattooing is a totally different ballgame because as people know, it’s like people have been more or less tattooing forever. Yeah. I mean, when I again, when I tried to look into it to actually get some dates and stuff, seems like people are more or less saying that there’s kind of whether there’s proof of it or not. The people have been pretty much tattooing across the globe since what’s called the Neolithic times. Now, the Neolithic times is kind of like 12 to 6000 years ago. So that’s a pretty large timescale. But that’s kind of more or less afterwards, if you want really want to kind of go into specifics of stuff that people have found, let’s say proof, say the oldest tattoo findings that say the out, the oldest mummified or however you’d call like, you know, skin that’s that’s been found with tattooing is someone called O see the Iceman.
And they date that to roughly 3000 B.C. So a decent amount of time ago. And he was found in the southern sort of Austria and out kind of region, apparently, which I think actually the name of the region has something Ötzi in it, which is hence the name. So that kind of gives you an idea. And he had like 61 tattoos. But this is something which to start with certainly would have been a part of original tattooing is it was probably medicinal tattooing. Yeah, he had 61 tattoos, but they were all marks and they very much kind of were following Meridien line. Yes, things like that. Acupuncture. And there’s quite a lot of findings of ancient mummified, whether it be Egyptian, all types of different places where it seemed like that was a very integral part probably of getting tattooed, I guess.
And I think with his one some being a speculator, he’s going from one doctor possibly to another one. And he was locked out. Shame because I don’t know what his language skills are be like. I mean, obviously, human history is super complicated going back to those times and and constantly changing.
Like we’ve mentioned a few times, everyone thinks this was happening and something happens or someone finds something which totally turns everything on its head. But like you said, probably going from one place to another like a Graham Handcock.
Wanna see a more revised version of human history. And Randall Carlson, there are two people.
Super interesting, Ari Fleischer or anyone. Check those guys, for example, let let’s just say tools. Apparently, they found some tools in Europe, which were from something called the upper Palaeolithic period, which is kind of like a subdivision of the Stone Age. The Stone Age is again like fifty thousand ten thousand years ago.
But just to give people a rough idea of things that have been found and like I say all over the world, Europe, all types of different places, mummies have been found in Alaska, Siberia, China, the Philippines, Egypt, ancient sort of proof of tattooing.
We actually on our Facebook page are tattoo studios called Indigenous Tattoo, Indigenous-Tattoo.com for the Web site.
We will say if you just put Indigenous Tattoo on Instagram, on social media, on our Facebook page, quite lotto’s will post not just our work will post if people have had findings of new tools or. Hide bodies. Bodies have been preserved well in ice.
Yeah, like new findings, generally information about traditional ancient tattooing plus some of the time, including our kind of travels, like we say, we’ve travelled a lot around Asia and had a lot of influence as far as why we even went down the whole. Spoke traditional also tattooing thing. Right. And then there’s lots of different methods. So this is another whole kind of thing to go down. But I mean, to really kind of let’s break it down. If we say to talk about Asia real quickly, because like we said, that was a big influence, especially on you wanting to do traditional or I won’t be quick on this point.
Yes. Yeah, the bulk of it. And yeah. Yeah. For sure.
So there’s like for you, for example, one the first times you saw tattooing without a machine was in the Philippines when you travelled to the Philippines or Asia and Borneo as well. That was kind of like a trip that you did. Did you do those two together or was. No, no part of the Malaysian treglia?
Borneo went through Malaysia and then into the Malaysian area. Borneo didn’t actually see any tattooing there. But I saw people with with tattoos and, you know, in the rainforest, right?
Yeah. I think there’s the Dayak or something like that is maybe like Rebozo and even the different tribes and stuff like that. So the Filipino stuff has kind of made it. The reason why I’ve started with it is, like I said, partly because that kind of took you down that sort of path of seeing. And you’ve actually got traditional like sort of Filipino tattoos.
The flowers on your flowers from Borneo are there. Yeah. Sorry. So the flowers are from Borneo. I’ve got like you got Filipino on your leg. Yeah. Like snakeskin.
Okay. Right. So they often refer to it as hand tapping the Filipino technique. That’s because they kind of have like a like a bamboo hammer, Germany with a thorn or a piece of metal depending on the time and they kind of tap tap on it. So obviously, hence the name of the hand tapping now. I mean, there’s a lady who was essentially the last person doing this method in the Philippines. Now she’s Kalinga, which is a tribe out there. And it’s quite far out as far as I know. Mean, like, say, I haven’t been there. You’ve been to the Philippines, but it’s kind of like a mountainous region and they’re like up in the mountains. I think her name is something like Phang Odd or gay or something like that.
There’s a lot of them are women, Wang or Oad or Wang odd year.
I mean, they go like, who knows. Exactly. But she’s reading redoes. Yeah, she. She’ll know. Will you go down the whole of like reading different articles. But we did mention her in a previous podcast actually. She’s like 102, 101, something like that, years old. And she basically was the last person she learned from her grandfather, I think. And, you know, there’s a whole kind of story behind it. But she actually now we mentioned last crytek for which I definitely if anyone’s interested in traditional tattooing, definitely check out his Tattoo Hunter series. It’s really interesting. It’s really cool. But she now actually has several grand great grandchildren or great grand nieces who’ve actually I think there’s multiple people who have basically been taught by her.
And it’s kind of renewed the whole sort of killing tattooing technique. Yes. And stuff, which is which is obviously pretty cool. I mean, to kind of follow on on the whole traditional kind of Asian ones, which again, is Burby and certainly you’ve got more knowledge than me about this is the whole kind of Thai Cambodian sak yant tradition of tattooing, which to break it down very simply is similar to what we do with the hand poked tattoos, but basically have a lucka, a long pole connected to the needles. And you actually kind of stretch the skin out, say if you’re right-handed. So stretching the skin with your left and people can go and check this out very easily and kind of resting the pole inside your thumb and your index finger and basically like poking in with a long pole that’s almost like on the top of your thumb.
I think it is different. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. Hey, you can hold it. So that’s a that’s a very. Afterwards the cultural aspects of it. Basically you could probably explain better than me, but it’s very much following like Buddhist and Hindu traditions.
Yeah. A lot of it is. I guess you can cook doing it with chem sack where it’s a wooden or metal pole. I’m assuming that the wooden pole would be, you know, the metal would just be a new version of an evolution. Yeah, exactly. Bit like not quite turning into a machine, but. Right. So someone was lucky enough to spend at least get spent a few days with and watch. Shimoda is called La Diao Pizza. He can go and do some research on who’s he’s not from Thailand, but spent quite a bit time in a Thai prison and learn how to do that tattooing. And it generally uses very slightly thickened needles and other people do. And he and people who learned of him, you’d actually get loose needles and tie them on with sort of natural threads onto the pole. So it’s a slightly different variation on tattooing, but the actual style of it. You pretty much. Well, a lot of it a lot people were sort of you see people on Instagram go to Thailand and they get like a tattoo and then they’re sitting and, you know, they post picture them doing some kind of prayer in front of some temple.
And then they come back and they realize some someone’s just scammed them. And they’ve I saw one that we had a guy over and the person had written and or the person who’s dressed like a monk in Thailand had written just spring rolls in in some kind of Thai script on the person’s back. And then they’re on Instagram thinking they got some kind of holy like a magic tattoo. Maybe, you know, maybe they are just going to get a lifetime supply of free spring rolls or something like that would be bad. But often a lot of times with these things, people think that you just go to the country and you’re going to get something super authentic. I mean, we also know somebody went to a Polynesian island and got like a tattoo from there. I mean, you look at it, they just butchered his skin and their prey just dressing up in traditional dressing. How do we make money off tourists? You get some cruddy ink, make some cruddy tattoo equipment, make it look super authentic, sit there and just knock out tattoos. They know the person’s body on once a lifetime holiday and never coming back.
So, I mean, again, that dude super pleased with it. Yeah. Even though, like we said for us who are tattoo as and looking at it from a even a slightly technical aspect to it, just the visual aspect, you said it’s really scarred. They’ve really gone at it. He said it was super painful as well. Yeah. Basically to people that if you are going to go and travel to Asia or Polynesia or wherever it is and get a traditional tattoo, do some research before you go. Definitely worth it because there’s a lot of scam artists out there. Like there are a lot of the real thing. You got.
You definitely don’t want to if you’re going to bother doing it, do the research for showing another person who, if you’re interested in this, to look out, be Colin Dale, who’s already so influential. Well, he tatties with them without machine. But I mean, we’re pretty more interesting in his non machine machine work. But he was sort of saying a lot times this symbol actually chooses a person, so. Right. I think even if you do go to Asia and get Thailand to get spring rolls tattooed on you, maybe the evolution is just kind of happened. Referrer probably for a reason, maybe got a bad symbol as well as you got a good symbol.
Yeah. I mean, going off on a tangent, like we say, there’s there are these traditions all over the world. Colin Dale is actually someone who is of, as far as I can tell, of European descent, even though he’s actually Canadian. He has a shop called Skin and Bone, I think is in. Is it is he Copenhagen or is he. Yeah, I think he’s Copenhagen. But his work’s incredible. And he does a lot of like kind of Scandinavian, Nordic runic, a lot of beautiful dragons, which are really incredible. And he also does really they’re quite big pieces for hand like. And done tattooing. And they are really it’s a real reference and a big inspiration, certainly, especially for me, just because I really do like all of the Scandinavian northern European. That’s that’s mainly what I do. Yeah. So yeah, definitely go and check him out. Another tradition is. And again, not spoken about it a few times. I went to Japan a couple of years ago. Is there a tradition of and you hear basically two words in general.
Izumi and to BOERI now the Exuma actually kind of apparently literally translates to inserting ink. And the Burri translates to carving by hand. Yes. So you actually both of them are references to tattooing. I think your resume is probably more of a broad tattooing term and it’s a boreas probably more of a reference to the actual traditional method because they their technique is very similar to the to the Thai Cambodian technique. Not surprisingly, I mean just distance and everything like that, like a long stick, like you said thread. They use silk thread. They put the needles, wrap them up and they basically make different sort of groups of needles depending on what they’re doing, thickness of the line, how big it is, etc. and and tattooing in Japan.
And again, I’ve mentioned this before is a very it’s got a crazy history. They’ve got like an indigenous culture of tattooing. And then it seems like really the big boom in what would be recognizably Japanese tattooing and these are these kind of body suits with the koi carp, samurai flowers, kind of floating clouds, all of that kind of element. From what I could tell is really like kind of started in the Edo period, which is roughly sort of 16, 18, hundreds more or less is the EDO period. And it was basically it was a time in Japan when lots of changes were happening again. Edo, obviously is an old word. Well, is you? Is the original name of Tokyo before it actually came the capital. And basically there was like a lot of artistic stuff happening at the time. And it was a very kind of. They often refer to people as pleasure seekers. You hear this word floating word. Yukio, I think is in Japanese. These were basically there was like the tradition of woodblock printing was really like defined in that era and apparently basically like the woodblock printers actually became the first tattoo artists. So they kind of translate it even the tools and especially visually what they were doing onto skin. And funnily enough, I mean, a lot of people know in Japan that they have a very large manga culture.
I think people have a misunderstanding of what they Shangri-Las may write. I think people just think like a carer, a ghost in a shell, or that they don’t realize like say, Hok asi is manga. Yeah, like. I would I wouldn’t know exactly what definition would be. I don’t know.
I should have probably looked at that but yeah. I don’t know to tell you the truth. It’s a very broad term. I mean I was even talking like say if I say about manga, lots like people like you say sort of talk about the comic books. Basically, it’s kind of the main thing that they think of. And when you go to Japan, you see a lot of all ages reading comic books, these illustrated stories. And funnily enough, apparently the actual thing that made people want to get tattooed on their body was there. There was this like comic book that came from China and it arrived in this Edo period. I think it was called Sue Sui Codeine or something like that. People obviously can have a look if you just kind of delve into it. It was like a an illustrated novel and basically it was that these kind of rebel heroes and stuff and they actually had their bodies covered with like dragons and flowers and stuff. And it made a huge impact on Japanese society at the time. And that’s kind of where the original demand and the original tradition of what we think of nowadays of these famous body suits, sleeves, Japanese tattoos, basically.
So I had a quick look, manga and it says manga comics or graphic novels, crates in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century.
Okay, so there you go. That kind of is probably a follow on from this Edo period. So the late eighteen hundreds would be the end of the day period. And like I said, this was all these influences that happened over those couple hundred years and it says they have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese are.
Right. Yeah. So. So defining it isn’t easy. I’m in Japan. In Japan actually. So you had this huge kind of wave of people getting tattooed in the star of this dragons and all of that tattooing and then it and then they like the kind of Meiji period, which is basically when the emperor retook control of Japan. He got banned almost right then and there. Just because main reason was, is as far as I can tell, the Japanese didn’t almost want to be looked at as, quote, savages by the Western world.
And there was these exchanges with the Western world because the borders have been shut for so long and no foreigners could come in and come into Japan. And, you know, it’s a very long sort of strange history behind it. And then it got really realized with the occupying forces after World War Two. So 48, 49, something like that, I think. But basically when it got banned in that major period, obviously no one could legally get tattooed. And this is where you get this whole thing of the underworld tattoo yakuza connections because it basically infiltrated into the criminal kind of aspects.
And even now today, it still has that connotation, even though tattooing isn’t actually totally illegal nowadays, it’s got lots of funny rules. Shock value for sure. Yeah. Pete? Yeah. I mean, you know, site earn and when I’ve been there, definitely. I mean, I was there in the winter. So luckily for me, I wasn’t kind of no one could really see my tattoo. So as more through talking to people, what do you do? I’m a tattoo artist and then even just the shock value of that.
But they do understand it’s different in the Western world when you’re saying about the woodblock artists becoming tattoo artist who made me think about something that I would say strictly on Facebook. And quite a few groups just were artists, just exchange ideas, different art groups. And a lot of times people are wondering how do they actually make a living off their art? Tattooing is quite a viable way to make a decent day to day living here.
The you definitely the average say price per hour as an artist is pretty good.
Yeah. And a lot times artists are undervalued. I mean, we have a lot of people who always want to apprentice on the tattooing and an apprenticing on. They are learning what we do. And it took a long time to work out for me to do more than negotiating, to actually work out how much was the value of us coming in painting. Say your event for two days in a row. How was the actual value of that? All right. And you know, it’s pretty high where a lot times the artist is almost the person who’s not gonna get paid for some reason, you know. A lot of times I’ll be like, oh, you know, be really good exposure. Was it Chris Rock? Or someone said, I can’t feed my kids an exposure. You know, and obviously some things are great. It’s like if someone suddenly is like going to just give you exposure and it’s gonna be worldwide exposure. Say, like. Just like Banksy says he wants to collab with us, which he isn’t saying, you know, I mean, but you’d be like, yeah, sure, I’d do that for free because obviously there is some kind of promotional value that is like a payment.
The knock on effect of that could be gigantic as well. We’ve done some research labs and events with really big brands and they’ll push things out and you get obviously then you get paid very well. But sometimes their social media thing, you’re like, oh, I got 12 new followers of doing something massive with a gift and be quite restrictive as well depending on the brand. So that probably plays into it as I think they’re just on a side note saying he quite a good way if you’re thinking about it, for you to monetize your art if you’re an up and coming artist. Yeah. Because a daily you’re very unlikely to be doing say you can do three or four hours work in a day and come out with, you know, a couple hundred pounds for your time. And the materials aren’t super expensive. It’s not that expensive to get into it relative to learning other professions where you might sort of earn that kind of money. Yeah, it’s true.
There’s definitely a good point. Yeah, something that we’ve noticed. So like I was saying that we kind of went through Asian sort of stuff. There’s definitely like there’s kind of ham po techniques from the Americas. Sometimes they were apparently referred to it as cut lines and they would use thorns to prick, which is probably often people say the most similar to maybe what the modern ham poking movement is.
I mean, to be honest, when I look at the modern ham poking movement is just as similar, if not more similar to what the sailors were doing on the boats. You know, it’s literally it’s taking something that’s pointy, putting it in some ink.
And then just poking at ink in the skin, because I mean, the way we do it, we just use the best quality ink and needles we can find. Yeah. The same that you use for machine work as well.
Sure. So because they’re single use sterilized till it takes away that whole aspect as well of having to sterilize equipment which is quite a pain in the neck.
Yeah. So you do then get the whole it’s called sort of stick and poke where people are almost doing shitty DIY kind of tattoo. I guess that date back to like the sort of punk music really.
Right. Yeah. That definitely had quite a large impact on on tattooing.
So you still see that bit out there now and we get a lot of people who come at us and ask us questions. They’re like, oh yeah, I’m using, you know, like Indian ink or, you know, fountain painting and like sewing needles and stuff. I’m like, well, you can just do beading shit. Tattoo is going to blow out scared. It’s going to look terrible.
Why not really go apply some good needles and some good equipment? It doesn’t cost much like you said.
Yeah, for pretty much say, you know, 50 pound $50, you can go to an online tattoo supplier who’s not going to ask you for any credentials. They just wanna sell you equipment. And I think they’re obliged for that money. You can pretty much get everything you need to do a pretty decent tattoo. And what we always tell people is just going get a hygiene diploma or actually look at the hygiene of it. It’s at seeing yourself. That’s one thing that made me start tattooing anyone else. At least now you’re doing it in a clean way, even if the actual tattoo is gonna be a piece of shit. You’re not going to infect anyone, nor do you think fucked.
Yeah, it’s definitely it’s a really important aspect.
So yeah, the stick and poke thing is a spin off of that.
How’s that? And like we said, the punk thing is probably a spin off of the sailors doing on the boats, etc. Like we said, everything is connected. I mean certainly you can’t resort to talk about traditional tattooing without delving into the whole Polynesian sort of thing.
And I mean for sure to start with the word tattoo comes from I think it’s most people say it’s a Thai Haitian word. It sounds like tattoo, but it’s actually spelt t h t a u. So that’s the origin of the word. And it’s true that just simply say for us, when people find out that we’re doing traditional non-machine tattooing, everyone immediately thinks of these Polynesian methods and thinks that we’re doing that. I think for some reason that definitely a lot of people also think that really tattoo in culture comes from Polynesia, which we’ve already explained it was done all over the world. It doesn’t come from Polynesian culture. It’s just that they’ve got a very strong tradition of it.
I think I think the origins of tattooing is literally people getting cut and getting in cars. You’re working down a mine, get charcoal in a car. You kind of got a marking that says what you do in some ways, isn’t it? Yeah.
And it’s very linked to scar fication, I said, in places like Africa. You know, just a question of how dark his skin is where, you know. And then it turning into methods of marking certain things, what you’re doing or medical things or all that kind of stuff. I mean, basically, you know that in Polynesia, you’ve got the most a lot of people seem to genuinely think that the New Zealanders, the Maori thaat Moko.
I think the Maori style’s always like people will come. Because I quite like doing Mark Asone or in French call it Mark is your style tattoo because I feel like all the Polynesian styles, it’s got the most different symbols. And you know, you can really create a tattoo for someone. They can come and tell you the story and you can really create something really personalized with their whole encyclopedia of symbols where the other stuff, the other styles almost more stylized a bit and not say they’re less symbolic, but they’re less. Symbols basically even say, Mark does what I’m going to say about the word. They call it the tattoo coming from to Heesen, it sometimes you get the sort of pretentious tattoo artists saying they do like tattoo how like do some kind of version of how they think. And it made me think about people who study Jiujitsu as well, like Brazilian jiu jitsu. After a little while, they’re doing jujitsu, but they can’t just be like just doing jujitsu. They have to go for a Brazilian Portuguese like version of what they’re doing. And you’ll find I think it’s pretty fair to say that even though we really like this hold traditional what we call traditional sort of style of tattooing, you probably get a lot of very cool people there, but you also get a lot of pretentious idiots who think they’re like healers and all this kind of shit who are doing tattoo how you know, lt’s very intertwined into that world. So there’s a lot of bullshit in it where I guess it’s similar to things like acupuncture, yoga, reiki, all these things you might talks about before where you get people who really know what’s up and then you get all these pretentious people who’ve done like 10 hours of it and think they’re like a fucking master or something. So yeah. So to look out for.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I mean you know, we’ve we’ve sort of mentioned cultural appropriation a few times in recent podcasts and this whole thing of like you know, that is very intertwined as well. Especially I bring it up in the Polynesian stuff because of all of the the way they tattoo. And like you said with the. As far as I can tell from the actual time, Moko New Zealand Maori tradition.
Like you said, it’s not it’s it’s just as complex, say, as probably the mark is and sort of style stuff, but it may be less rich as far as how many symbols and stuff. So it really was very much like the tattoo artist. And on top of it, it was very much something where it’s higher ranked people getting tattooed as a symbol of your high rank. I said the tamako. I don’t know if it’s tattooing in general or whether it’s the face tattoo, but there is these famous face tattoos. That’s what a lot of people think, the spirally kind of images and stuff. It’s funny because there’s two things I wanted to mention about that. Now it’s quite widely accepted that there was an ancient method which is basically totally disappeared. People think it was probably done with albatross bones, but it was it was carved by something I think they called it Booey UHI in in Maori culture and it was actually more chiselled into the skin and then ink was put into the holes in it. Yeah, you see those very old photos. Yeah. And and you can see that it is very much like grooves in the skin. And this seems to be something that for whatever reason, just totally disappeared. As far as I can tell, nowadays, no one is doing that technique. They don’t know exactly how he’s done it. And yeah, also lots of problems because of their Ivan. And I mean, I can’t remember what the word is, but apparently they even had like a specific thing, like almost like a feeder to Fiji when you got that kind of tattoo. There was so much swelling is that the guys couldn’t eat when they were getting it done. Yeah. And they always had this kind of funnel thing that they put down your mouth and put soft food in. So and there was a lot of problems of disease and people dying because of it.
I think they said as well, I dunno if it’s still a thing or it probably is some artist because you’re gonna get artists who are more say specifically with Maori tattooing. Some people think, oh, it can only be done by Maori or the Maori in New Zealand. Other people are more open to do what you want with it, and you got to have everything in between and obviously raises a lot of questions and you’re gonna get people to do it respectfully, respectfully. And it’s hard to think, right, I’m going to try and manage this and tell everyone what to do, because then the moment you’re telling her answer, you gotta be super clean. You gotta be like you can have no faults.
And what exactly? You’ve got a B, I mean, talking about that, that’s why I said that kind of goes down this cultural appropriation kind of thing. And I actually found and I’d never heard of this, that apparently in the Maori culture there’s another word and I’m sure I’m killing every one of these things, every one of these words, pronunciation, but it’s called Keary to he, I think, and it actually literally translates to drawn skin. And as from from what I could tell is it’s really like a word in a term that the mouths of Obasi created because it’s because it’s a traditional term where you could actually do a tattoo which has a Maori kind of flavour. Yeah. So i.e. it could be done anywhere. It doesn’t have to be done in New Zealand. It can be for any reason. So it doesn’t have to follow the traditional reasons and it can be done on anyone by only one.
So there is that in India. tamako.
But then you then get some people you think that still shouldn’t be done and you know you get oh for sure there’ll be different opinions, but at least I guess like the the actual people who are doing it. Have you kind of thought about this and tried to maybe separate the two things where there’s the real straight traditional and then there’s the whole thing that’s influenced?
I guess what it does come down to certain point again is if you got like a row of say, I’ve got some triangles down the side of my leg, that part of mockers and tatty the shark’s teeth, child protection around an area of the tattoo based on. My son was born. But if you just have a triangle. Who says where that triangle comes from? Because everything comes from the same roots at the end of the day. So once things get a little bit more stylized, yeah, you can say that’s a Maori tattoo or that looks like a Samoan tattoo. But then a lot of people then mixing in elements. When I was trying to actually learn all the different styles and what they mean, I had found a really good book I think is just called Polynesian Tattoo. And it’s just photos. And I almost if I’m sitting on the toilet, I’d open it up and look at page and try and make sure I knew try and decide it was. Yeah. And decipher it. So sometimes be like, oh, that’s a mix of Samoan and Maori with X, Y and Z symbols in it. And then look and see how correct I was on the analysis of it. And some of them are more almost more sort of Samoan stuff almost goes into sort of more towards Islamica where it’s kind of repetitions of things that almost looked like textile patterns over there still have signification there. But once you get your head, you can see the differences quite easily. And yeah, I was gonna say initially as a lot people come and go, I want a Maori tattoo and what they want is a Polynesian tattoo.
You’re a Polynesian inspired. Yeah. They just call it Marea Maori tattoo. That’s why I was kind of delving into it more specifically the Maori rather than the different, you know, because like we said, there’s Samoan techniques, there’s Taishan, there’s Mark Esan, there’s all types, all the different islands. You kind of have it. And it comes back to that thing again, like what I was saying, where people think because the word comes from that tradition that tattooing started within that culture, whereas like we say, I mean, really, people were certainly tattooing themselves across the globe before these islands were even inhabited. Yeah. You know, looking at just the dates that I gave out at the beginning. Yeah. Those are some of the last places inhabited and the world because they’re so far away. You know, and then that kind of delves into that whole. Where did they come from? Where did they travel from which continent to get to those? I certainly know that my godfather, who you’ve mentioned before, who’s a Malay and a real Malay, Malay, they definitely consider themselves tied to the Polynesian culture. And you can see Borneo and all those kind of elements. Indonesia, they’re very you know, the Indonesians and the Malays language is very similar. They look at them.
And then it all goes back to how far back do you want to go? Because you’ll come from some little thing that prarie walked out the sea. That’s probably total bullshit as well. Who knows? But obviously all tied into the same origin story, you know, like. I mean, anything’s possible. We’re all really surprised if aliens came down or whatever. Turns out to be the truth. I kind of feel like it’s nicer to feel like we’re all unified rather than trying to create deceleration. And you can respect and respect your heritage and your culture. But I don’t think you have to disrespect anyone else’s or other people being interested in yours, you know?
Yeah. Now, I, like you said, we both don’t see a problem with it. Like we said, it’s a matter of personal opinion. Some people do. Some people don’t. So, I mean, that kind of gives you at least a bit of a kind of background on different methods, the machining, the traditional methods, different. You know, a few examples, like I said, because I mean, if we went through the whole thing, we’d be sitting here talking for hours and hours about it, you know?
So, I mean, once you kind of have got there, it comes down to the thing of like, you know, what are the benefits of each technique? Yeah, like we said, certain ones like certainly if you just really sort of go through it quickly, the machine, obviously the speed is one big thing.
That’s why that’s why it was invented it for. Yeah, exactly. Like it was this facies electric pen. Yeah.
You know, speed is getting beaten up. Zandra Yeah but yeah. So that’s I mean that’s really the main element to machining is self-explanatory. It’s logic afterwards there is definitely very fine work, especially good good machine artists. Yeah. The lines very defined, very thin line. Yes.
Certain shading techniques, things like that, which is not that they’re not doable with traditional techniques, it’s just there to do them like we would like. We know to hand poke something. You can do it. Ultramarine I mean again, Colin dels a perfect example. His lines are cleaner than 99 percent a machine. Tattoo artists. That’s the years of experience and everything like that. But even when he’s doing it, it’s going to take out a lot longer than doing a machine and burn it with the machine. But then there’s the kind of things that we say about like with the hand poking. It’s definitely generally less painful. The technique that we do compared to the machine just simply I mean, it’s self-explanatory. The machine, this shoot in a needle out 140 times a second. The way of the machine, all those kinds of things compared to us poking, we can definitely just poke just enough into the skin. But then that’s another thing, is that like the whole healing is a big aspect to choosing the techniques as well, because the machining obviously is more aggressive on the skin just because it’s puncturing the skin so much more. It’s a good few weeks to heal the machine year compared to a hand poked tattoo. A few weeks is literally almost the equivalent of a few days yet if you’re going to compare the two. And now when I’m talking about hand poked tattoo, it’s slightly different and certainly very different if. Then going into the day, tapping techniques in the Polynesian techniques and that kind of thing, which apparently are just as bad, if not often described as more painful than the machine.
I think I think all of us. I was going to say, really, if we’re going through the benefits of each technique we got, they got to then make an assumption that is being done by a good artist or the best possible artist. Yes. I think with any of those techniques, yeah, you can make an assumption that one is done without machine and Germany going to heal quicker than the machine and that the machine is going to be quicker.
For example, more painful.
Yeah. There’s another thing like if we get into slave, just dip into one specific say like if you do take the Japanese technique. Now, this isn’t just about the technique. This is about the inks they use. They’ve got high quality inks. They’re inks called doomy, I think is the word for ink in Japanese. And so they have very high quality just from purely from the point of view of how they mix it, the pigments used and everything like that. But they’re very well known for the colour. So say, like, for example, when I was in Japan, I saw that a lot of even the traditional guys were doing the line work with a machine.
The question of speed more than anything, because they’re generally these big pieces, sleeves, back pieces, that kind of thing. But they’re still colouring in with the traditional technique. And the reason is, is because even though it’s slower, they can apparently the colour remains bolder and brighter. And that’s because of the healing. Yeah, because you’re not getting this like, you know, it’s not kind of harming the skin so much. So you’re not getting this scabbing, which in turn kind of presses the ink deeper in those immediate kind of couple of weeks, you know? So in the long term, these tattoos stay brighter. I mean, they’ve even got like a whole tradition of something called narrow ink, which actually comes from the whole woodblock thing, which is they’re also well known for it. And sometimes you hear it is referred to as narrow black, which has this blue green tinge to it. Yet that’s also. So that’s also another element to choosing different, different reasons. I mean, certainly the you know, there’s a reason to go and get a Polynesian one. There’s a reason to go to Japan and get one. There’s a reason to just get a machine one. There’s a reason to go all over the place and get different things setting.
A lot of it comes down to the style of it, if you like, a sak yant Thai style tattoo. If you get it done with the machine, it’s just not going to look like the real thing.
This is another thing is the aesthetic of what does the traditional thing look like. And if you want that traditional thing, better to veer towards the traditional tools because like you said, that the machine can’t replicate those little dots. Literally it can’t.
You know, well, the thing is. It’s just such a hassle that you might as well just do it with our machine and try and replicate where the machine jointness. Just do it without machine. And it’s the same for, I guess, what has ever become called American traditional, which is all the sailor type tatties. I do know how poker’s are trying to do those and make it look as good as it is with a machine. And obviously that’s your thing. Just go for it. But at the end of day, you might as well just do it with a machine and get the actual look and the style of that tattoo done in the right way.
Yeah. And in the proper way. Yeah. For sure. And those things like you said there, the the real way to do it, if you go to a master person he’s going to be doing it with a machine. It’s a is something that’s been born out the machine thing with a lot of those guys.
I guess nowadays people coming into tattooing now they haven’t got Tassie’s like we have that date back like 25 years when tattoo shops was just maybe someone at their house or chassis shop with the machine, maybe went with the old artwork. If you an artist, let us know. It’s just it wasn’t like a whole oh, I just specialize in this. Like Wadia wasn’t so stylized and you couldn’t just buy pre sterilized all the materials need line. You had to make your own ink, you had to make your own needles. It was obviously more of a commitment to kind of even start doing the work.
And there was so many fewer people getting tattooed. Like I said, even though I was talking about this tattoo renaissance and boom is that pre 60s. It was super rare. Yeah, it was super small pockets of people, they say in the Western world doing it, Merica, Europe, that kind of thing.
And I heard a lot of them will read it in America, even going back to that sort of 60s machine work that a lot of them were. If they didn’t apprenticeship there, they would do say maybe a year of just tattooing without a machine as part of their learning curve, even if they were just going to end up doing it with the machine. So they were kind of learning it in the way the old machine is would have learned it. And there’s a benefit that isn’t there’s not less time wasted.
There’s a lot of people delving in nowadays who are machine tattooers from the outside, the whole kind of hand poking. Like we said, it’s such a simple idea and technique, i.e. take something, whether it be a needle or even literally a thorn or something, put it in. Something can poke in the the the whole general idea is very simple. But then in actual fact they’re doing awful tattoo’s most them, unless they’ve actually got that kind of unless they’ve really learned it properly in the way that we did and gone to people and and, you know, spent time more. More importantly, actually learning it. They look at it as something that’s so simple and they’re doing terrible tatties because afterwards it’s like anything. It takes time to learn to machine. It takes time to learn to hand poked tattoo. It takes time to learn to do the Polynesian and the hand tapping techniques. It takes time to learn anything. I mean, the Japanese guys are doing apprenticeships when it’s really under the traditional method, especially in apprenticeships for like 20 years. Yeah. Fifteen to twenty years before they even get the moniker of tattoo artist.
You know, like I said, guys names into our experience in martial arts where you get people to dance a couple years and I think the fucking share. Yeah. And you don’t get checks and then suddenly you have a reality check where you’re maybe not as good as you thought you were.
And by this point, I think impossibly even. We’re definitely going to be able to shower all the people who’ve helped us on the tattoo journey because that’s ridiculous. Everybody picked out a few of the really influential ones who oversee talked about a few people already, so we’ll exclude them. But there’s Charles. He put out a book called Hand poked tattoo and that literally got me started on Hand poked tattoo and was having trouble with machine work and sort of was wondering what to do because we were obviously reasonably well known for our another tattoo artist where we live. Wanted to help us learn how to tattoo because I thought we just hate their business because just being ourselves, wherever. So I had to just learn how to machine tattoo on myself. And then when I asked people online and, you know, some really good tattoo artists actually helped us out with that. But really is getting this book totally changed around. And I got to actually meet Charles. And so I thanked him for that. And it was quite a sort touching moment, definitely for me, hopefully for him as well, that he still inspired us to to do what we’re doing and change our direction.
Yeah. I mean, I must admit that when you first told me that you were going to start Hamm poking, I don’t know what the hell are you even talking about? I was like. And like I said, I’m quite aware of through our Maori friends and through trips to Asia pre-dating when we were tattooing of. I was fully aware of traditional tattoo techniques more than, say, your average person. And I had not you know, I was like, you cannot start hand poked tattoo you sly ear in a strange way. It felt like we were kind of maybe going backwards. And I mean, I say this. I just couldn’t deal with the machine. I hated it. I literally just did didn’t like it at all. And from the very first time you hand poked tattoo me and then the type from that time, then I handpicked myself. It was like a love affair that, you know, I just I love traditional techniques anyway. So what I mean say is that like you said, that that was huge, a big like out Charles, where we live as well.
It’s called the bay. Our bay, which is bay on let bear is. So you got sort of like a coastal places go. It just become one big sort of urban area and out people to come in and open up a tattoo shop. And there’s not really that many people doing harm poking outside of us or who lost by sea tattoo shops open. And then they shop because everyone’s trying to do all styles of doing it in a machine and they’re doing those quick prints.
You know, they’re not like doing the proper time you need before you open your shop.
Or even if they are, what you end up with is that say you want to get the American traditional rose tattoo. You can then go round 10 20 artists, see who thinks best or see who’s just going to get the cheapest and you end up in competition where for us art is so niche that you either like what we do and you’re coming or you’re going elsewhere. So there’s not really that sort of competition element which makes us feel slightly. Not even in the tattoo. Not we’re not interested in it, but it feels like something else almost a year in like a different thing.
I mean, like we said, we’ve actually got some good friends who are really good machine tattoo artists who work literally round the corner from us.
Yeah. And people are almost amazed sometimes. And this is kind of to make the point of, like we were saying, choosing the method for the tattoo. If people come in and they want an American traditional or they want something we literally like, you’d be much better off going and see our friends around the corner and people kind of look at you like you’re crazy. But like you said, I don’t see any competition. I mean, we actually met them in a roundabout way, not even through tattooing, funnily enough, like them wanting us to do a Pistache exhibition in their tattoo shop. You know, so what a while back. So that kind of had a part. But like you said, it’s like I mean, you certainly have gone to more conventions in the world, conventions and all those stuff. I just like to travel around, especially in Asia.
Just checking out what people are doing. But like you said, the whole tattoo world and the machining and the competitive aspects. So I said the baby, the beer, it’s on get by on is not even 20 kilometres. What’s that like under 15, pretty 12 miles. And even in Bylon itself, if you walk out of our shop in two minutes, you’ve already walked to other shops and then you go into the town centre and as well, another 10 year old in walking distance, probably no more than 10 minutes on foot. You could go to 10 tattoo shops.
The other person I thought definitely qaÃ on the hand poked tattoo be Holly, who’s known as boue tattoo. If you’re looking online, anywhere she oversees really helped us get started. And she showed me how to convert from using. Needles to Magnum’s for doing lines, which is obviously a bit technical if you’re into tattooing, obviously makes a big difference and opens up a whole new world, a size and and the types of techniques you can actually achieve with the tattooing. So big shout out to her.
Yeah, she was going to say, especially for me actually. That was huge when when I went up. You’d already gone up and seen her when I went up with you to see her and you and her actually did a tattoo or me. But having her talk it through and obviously on me, I was feeling it. And I’d kind of I’d been a bit sort of, you know, I was a little maybe not scared, but I was just like I was hesitating and I was hesitating about like just doing that first one on myself. Yeah. And I hadn’t done it up until that point. I hadn’t machine myself and I’d only done machining when you are tattooing other people and doing tiny elements of it. So moving onto that on skin rather than on all the practice kind of fake skin synthetics, all of that kind of style stuff. And that basically really was the thing I needed to motivate me to do the first tattoo on myself, which I literally did almost immediately when I got home. And you haven’t stopped since, you know. So a big shot. Holy shit. That was really big.
Yes. I think I mean, that probably covers quite a decent amount of what you really wanted to talk about, what they released. It’s a an opening point. And as usual, we’ll be sharing links with a lot of the other artists who do this. So no doubt we’re going to get feedback on all the shit we said totally wrong. Other people’s opinions even say Nick’s really into rooms. And it’s like anything else where you start off the basic thing. And then when you get into the mid-levels where you still get the dangerous thing, where you think you know something, but you don’t realize you still had to know nothing. And people get really fixed viewpoints about where they came from. All these how you should be using a lemon when he gets the high levels. It’s like with martial-arts, when you get the high levels, the people are generally more open because they pretty made a lot of these mistakes themselves. They can see the path. And then really it’s another thing that maybe comes down to the intention of what you’re doing with it.
Yeah. And your personal relationship with the thing like you said, you’ve got the knowledge. Yeah. Then how you’re using it the personal way you’re using it, you know, they’re not having issues if other people use it in different ways. Yeah. You know, it’s like it’s for sure. It’s like you said and I’m definitely on that path and have been on that path for a long time, even pre-dating when we were tattooing. It’s been something which has been interesting for me for years.
But I often say to people, especially a lot of people come to get them and I kind of explain all of that, which sometimes probably I’m explaining a bit much. And that’s definitely like I can do that to a fault. I think I’d rather explain too much than too little. And I’ve got to say to people, this is my personal relationship with the runes, but I am explaining at least the history which alphabet, why I’m using it, what the Norse term is for it. If it’s obviously annoying, you know, like those elder kind of thought, younger thesuccess, the Anglo-Saxon Th-They thought there’s medieval ones which kind of got extended to correspond to Latin alphabet. I mean, you know, it’s you learning forever. But like you said, I feel like I’ve at least kind of built up like something of creating bind runes and using the runes in the different ways that people kind of come to me who are interested in it.
And then obviously, you know, more than you did five years ago about it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have been doing it five years ago now. Exactly.
It’s a lot like or I shouldn’t be doing it now because in five or 10 years, I’m gonna know that much more again, you know?
I mean, that’s the hard thing was sort of just starting doing something or going on those paths. Remember, with Taichi specifically, we had one teacher and I don’t want people to think it’s one of those kind of like Aikido demos or something. So people are blasting people out the way you just by looking at them and shepard fairey. But with one specific type teacher, you would sort of go to try and touch him. And it’s like trying to touch a ghost and then he’s put you off balance without really doing anything and you can feel it. And it’s it’s an interesting thing that you sort of go away. And at that time it starts to sort of give taichi lessons when the main teacher wasn’t there on holiday. Remember doing that, thinking she shouldn’t be telling anyone anything about Taichi because this is so much about them. And at that point, I was like, if I’m teaching people who come and want to learn it, then they’re beginners as sort of fine. You can’t just suddenly get to his level and say, no, I’m going to teach me because he is teaching people 15 years before he and that’s integral to becoming a good teacher is also the experience of teaching.
Yeah, it’s all like that. And then makes you reassess and actually understand the techniques medic’s. You’ve then got to communicate it rather than internally communicating it. You’ve got to be like, right Harrower. I’m going to break this down so the person understands it and then you have to really break it down yourself almost a second time round and obviously that’s going to improve your understanding of it.
And what works for you personally, as you say, to kind of bring it back to the tattooing is that like you essentially taught me? And then and then Holly, like you said, showed you all about the tracing? Lines with the magnet. Yes. And funnily enough, you actually do less of that and I do more of it. But also part of the reason why I do more of that is because of the nature of war. I’m tattoo artist and like you said, with your Yungun do more of the sak yant. And that stuff is real and is what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, how you’re doing it, how you relate to the tools, how you use them. There’s a you know, it’s such a small thing.
I think you definitely have to shout you helped along was Frank Man Seeders are you actually had a stroke recently? Isn’t tattooing at the moment, but he’s like one of the real gatekeepers of the whole hand poking and he uses really small needles and one specific needle grouping all the time. If you see some of the size and qualities of the tattoos he’s done. Incredible. Just with that single needle group in your life. That’s just fucking crazy. Really impressive. So, yeah, good. You know, hope is a journey to recovery keeps on progressing. It was to be great if he gets back to tattooing one day. But, you know, I’d love to get a tattoo from him. Yeah. Hasher get up to get a tattoo. He was initially someone who I contacted knew he was just incredibly open with. Oh, this is what ink’s you should use. This is what needles he should use. This is what like, you know, you should use instead of Vaseline. This is what gave me like a hundred things to try and it was always there to answer messages. Super great deed.
You also actually before we forget one other person who definitely needs to give a shout out to Joel. Yeah, I think his shop’s called the new tattoo studio and he’s actually inland from us, whereas is he if we’re going into a machine.
But yes, I mean that for sure.
The list of who I get, I guess that’s more for me or whatever, because he definitely just he did a tattoo that I designed just. We met him when we did the hygiene course years ago.
And it was just another person maybe for me personally, he was not at least a for helping Daniel de Matara as well. Heller Aitchison, obviously, I think we mentioned Chye before and this child out there firing Shay Chi for the inspiration. Just fucker. Obviously it’s just somebody went down the same time as me like a very definitely path on the tattooing, but we’ve obviously come super tight with him. But yeah, I mean the whole list just could easily go on and on for sure.
I guess more, maybe more so to wrap it up. So we’ve kind of explained, you know, different places where it comes from, why you’re using the technique. And like we said, very much so, like I think choosing the technique based on what you want. And I think that also kind of includes those other personal preferences of like literally what’s your pain threshold? Are you someone who is patient or impatient? You know, it’s just logical. It’s like if you don’t want to sit there for hours, they maybe don’t get a traditional tattoo.
It’s going to take longer. If you’re someone who can’t deal with the pain at all, maybe it’s better to do a little hand poked tattoo start with because that’s going to be the least painful and you’re not there for a long time. We do a lot of we do a lot of ers too. So yeah, it’s definitely advisable. I would I would certainly say to people I mean, I say it like as soon as you start at hand, pokin, tattoos or me, the only person machine. machine me since is Kai. And that was literally on an exchange.
And on a personal level, I tattooed him. He tattooed me. But other than that, honestly, like I said, if I could go and get tattooed, it would be people like Colin or Frank or people I’d want to get tattooed by all traditional tattoos or go to Japan and get to Burri Tattoo by one of those masters. You know, that’s just kind of like we said that that explains it. Personal preference. One funny thing as well, actually, which are say it’s kind of wrapped up is we have a friend who you’ve tattooed a lot called effects.
He’s like kind of a cat. He’s from the Caribbean, originally born in the Caribbean. And he loves getting tattooed by you. And he was one of your first people that you were tattooed with the machine pre-dating the poking. And I remember going over to see you guys when you were tattooing one day and it was the first time you were going to start poking him. And he’s a funny character. And he definitely you know, he I’m not saying it isn’t like he thinks he’s a tough guy, but he kind of has these like he likes to talk about the kind of gangster elements and all that kind of stuff. And he’s got lots you know, he’s he’s pretty tattooed. And he says he loves the pain. Yes. You know, all of that kind of thing. And you literally get in the needles out literally just before you leave him. And he almost passed out. Yeah. Fear of needles. Yeah. You know, even something is as strange as that’s like when it’s in the machine, you actually you can’t even sex it sticking out by not even a couple of mil when you get in the tattoo needles and there are these great big needles and stuff and he almost passed out.
I have a coke and stuff like that is a tattoo. And then you had to get a machine out. So that’s what I mean is it’s like a little anecdote, but basically it’s all of these kinds of things. So, you know, especially nowadays with the Internet and everything for all its good and bad sides is that there were the whole world’s open out there for you. Did your research check out like we said, if you’re going to go away or go away and just choose someone because you have a good feeling with them? Yeah, that’s a big element tattooing as well as the personal relationship. The person getting tattooed and and the tattoo artist and again, that was ultra important in traditional methods, which with the machining and the evolution I think has gotten lost a bit, but I think it’s still there. And I think you’re putting your skin in that person’s hands that it’s permanent. All of that kind of thing. So definitely go with the flow and do the research. It would be my.
I mean, then again, some people don’t give a shit about sonification and sometimes they don’t care about getting the first artsy guy 18. You just Gabrielsson Our woman’s house to the tattoo machine. It’s always like when you’re 18, you know. So young dumb furler currently just going. I mean, she actually has a great tattoo. All the same. But say my second tattoo. Probably not so great by some other dude. Similar period. So you got to promise to make some tattoo mistakes as well. I guess those you can either get covered up, lasered off, or you can just enjoy the mistake for part of your youth.
Yeah. Yeah. Tattoos tell a story, you know, and that’s that kind of thing.
Some people rush into gang sleeves, dumb and stuff like that. They just want to be tattooed. Beth, that’s what you want. Yeah. Then do it. So I mean, is it look at all your personal preferences. And what I mean is that there’s definitely no one when we’re talking about like even say like a vs.. Yeah. It just isn’t that. It’s like same thing. It’s all the same thing. Exactly. But you know, just to be aware that there’s all this there’s a very rich culture of tattooing. It’s an old culture. It’s something which at the moment is getting more accepted. So people are able to get tattooed without worrying about their job and stuff.
So just go for it. Yeah. I mean, I think myself just Justin Lavan, a stupid thing, but quite often with Hand poked tattoo people currently we go over that last as long as a traditional tattoo and you’re like, right, that’s the question. I don’t know how much you wanna sound like an arsehole. Explain. That’s because a traditional tattoo in my mind would be pre machine tattoo. Then you obviously you got American traditional which is done with machines and obviously you still display ink in the skin with a needle. So yeah, it’s gonna last. And actually quite often with hand poked tattoo because you’re paying less in inking it so bleeds less and actually cleans up after a few days where when the machine tattoo generally is never as nice as when it’s been done super fresh. So yeah, there are different aspects. I mean again that totally depends on what the quality the artist, you know.
It’s like you say definitely people say either they say, will it last as long as a traditional or a normal? You hear that word as well, normal. And you know that from experience they’re referring to a machine tattoo. But there is a lot of that element of people think almost because I guess maybe they’ve heard of Hanner and things like that, even though there’s no needle involved in henna. Yeah, but like, you know, they do often think, oh, will that traditional method or the fact that you’re not using a machine last as long. Yeah, it’ll last. Don’t worry about that. And like we said on top of it, again, it leads into these elements of like it’ll clean up or no one will degrade quicker. Depends on the person that the method. Yeah. And globally, everything.
And sometimes people just want to be the first to get a tattoo by someone. I know when a lot people start if they start how we did there. Their problem is trying to find people who want to get a tattoo of them. But then because we did art stuff and we got some really good friends of Seashell out to Carla AZO for being a real, you know, most tattooed very fifteen times or something. And always there when you need someone to just. I need to do the tattoo and test this out to someone like that. She was up for totally invaluable friends.
We call that a cowboy. Yep.
Which I don’t I think it’s like pronounced in cowboy, but they kind of. Yeah. Finally I hear that. I just said it. I heard it.
The thought was always funny, but you know, it’s like ten times a shit tattoo. You might’ve been one of the first tattoos where somebody turned it into a tattoo. Great. So you be like having a jean michel basquiat sketch you did when he was 8 or something, you know, I mean, you could be like, oh, I don’t want it because. Yeah, yeah, for sure. It’s maybe not as good as his later work, you know.
Yeah. Yeah. I think that wraps. Yeah, that’s good.
So we’ve kind of broken down a little bit and then like we said, we could have almost done a long podcast on just one of the techniques or any of the techniques or elements of it. But we’re just kind of wanted to kind of chuck out like a general thing, things it’s very much part of our world at the moment.
Yeah. So thanks for listening. I know. So I’ll see you guys later. Yep.
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