Q&A with Wilson stick and poke artists

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Q&A with Wilson stick and poke artists

Hannah Frank and Hannah Masling

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Ava Mackaye (12), Sophie Magerl (11), and Jordyn Edwards (12) have all given stick and poke tattoos—a method of tattooing that utilizes a single needle and ink. Each student sat down with The Beacon to discuss all things stick and poke, including their favorite designs, tattoo-giving mindsets, and introductions to the hobby.

 

Q: How did you get in to giving stick and pokes?

Mackaye: I had a friend who did them at camp, which was a little unsanitary because no one washes their hands. And then she gave herself one in my cabin, and I was like, ‘oh, that looks fun.’ And then I started.

Magerl: My friends wanted them and said they would buy real tattoo ink and needles so that I could give them some. I think they picked me because I love art, so [they] figured I would be the best person to do it.

Edwards: I was bored, I ordered needles off of a materials distribution website, got some ink, and just did a few on myself.

 

Q: Tell me about the first stick and poke you ever gave.

Mackaye:  I did ‘LNT’ on my fingers, which means Leave No Trace, because nature. And I did it with my friend who did the stick and pokes first, and she told me how to do it.

Magerl: It was on one of my best friends’ back: a butterfly. I traced it out first, cleaned the area with rubbing alcohol, and started. I hated the feeling of the needle going through the skin, so I went really lightly.

Edwards: [It was] just two weird, random shapes on my hip. It was weird because it didn’t hurt, but I kinda liked it. I liked the way it felt, and I was listening to super loud music and I was super anxious. 

 

Q: What goes through your mind when you’re giving a stick and poke?

Mackaye: I don’t want to hurt [anyone] because it can be really painful depending on where you get it. But it is also very exciting, because you know that when someone wants a tattoo it’s something that they actually really care about. 

Magerl:  ‘I hate this,’ ‘my back hurts,’ ‘I really hope this doesn’t get infected,’ ‘I hope I’m not hurting her,’ ‘where’s the rubbing alcohol?’

Edwards: [During] the first one I gave to myself I was like, ‘oh my gosh this is gonna be on me for the rest of my life.’ I listen to hardcore music while I’m doing them so that I don’t overthink anything. [Now] I’m pretty calm actually. 

 

Q: What is your favorite stick and poke you’ve ever given?

Mackaye: It’s a cross, but it’s also an upside down cross depending on which way you’re sitting… which I really like, because then people get either this impression or the other impression. 

Magerl: It was a link that [someone’s] mom taught her to draw and I love it. I love the positioning and I went over it a bunch of times, so it really looks like a coherent dark line.

Edwards: It’s on my forearm, and it’s actually a two part tattoo. I’d gone to Copenhagen over the summer and everyone had tattoos, so I drew inspiration from that. •