It’s getting hotter…
traditional hand poked tattoo done by traveling artist Max Harris.
This tattoo looks like a child’s crayon scribbling. Whenever I read “hand poked” I cringe. It’s a phrase that keeps getting whipped around like it’s a good thing. However, it’s not. Hand poking tattoos is a tribal and cultural thing tied to eras before electricity and machinery, often the modern “hand poking” gets its misguided roots from traditional Polynesian and Yantra tattooing. However unlike Polynesia in the 16th though 18th century modern tattooists have access to modern tattoo machines! Modern tattoo machines allow for cleaner and faster tattooing, smoother lines and shading, more intricate designs, less risk of infection, more controlled needle depth, and higher aesthetic artistry.
So unless you live in a culture where there is a rich tradition of tattooing using historical instruments and such a tattoo is important to your heritage, belief system, or society do not get a “hand poked” tattoo. Traditional tattooing like tebori, yantra, and tatau require a master’s touch in order for them to turn out well, and in this day and age the masters are few and far between.