The tattoo industry includes a wide variety of styles and creative talents, ensuring that there is truly something for everyone. One often overlooked or misunderstood technique is that of hand poke tattooing. Today hand poke artist Jaclyn Schultz of Tinte Tattoo will be answering all our questions!
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It’s time for our second installment in the Behind the Ink series, where we introduce you to some of the incredibly talented artists across Canada and around the globe. Located at 110 Central Ave N in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, I haven’t had the opportunity to meet with Jaclyn in person or to be tattooed by her, but I believe that she brings a very interesting perspective of the industry both as a female tattoo artist and a hand poke artist.
Also known as stick ‘n’ poke tattooing, hand poke tattoos are a return to the roots of tattooing before the use of modern electric tattoo equipment. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding this style of tattooing as it is often associated with prison tattoos and other non-regulated and unsafe practices, but today’s professional hand poke artists can be found working out of tattoo parlours with sterile equipment, bringing this once questionable practice into the world of mainstream tattooing.
This resurgence is a reflection of the dedicated and talented work of artists like Jaclyn Schultz. Not only are these artists producing some beautiful and carefully crafted work, catching the eye of tattoo lovers around the globe, but they are also sharing their perspective on the style and the meticulous attention to safety and detail that it requires.
So, let’s kick it off! Take it away Jaclyn Schultz, Tinte Tattoo:
How long have you been tattooing?
I’ve been tattooing for just over a year.
How did you get started? Did you have a formal art background?
I originally started doing micro-pigmentation. I took a course in microblading and I’ve been doing that for a number of years. I didn’t really know how to get started in tattooing. Taking the microblading course allowed me to essentially learn that technique of tattooing. I taught myself how to manually shade brows, and then eventually took my skills from brow shapes to designs. It’s rot of a roundabout way to do things, or sure.
What inspired you to pursue this as a career path?
I have always really been addicted to tattoos. Much of my free time got spent looking at tattoos on the internet, researching machines, techniques, etc. even before I got into it. I was always fascinated with the idea of hand poke. I loved that it wasn’t super common anymore, and I loved that they could be so perfect – something that people didn’t expect from that technique.
What is the difference between hand poke and traditional tattooing?
The difference between hand poking and traditional tattooing is just the power source. All the same health and safety measures are still taken. I use the same needles that are used in a tattoo machine, but instead, I just poke in the design by hand. It’s a slower process and feels different than a traditional tattoo, but it generally heals quicker.
What do tattoos and tattooing mean to you?
Tattoos are sometimes a visual time marker of people’s experiences. My favourite part of my day-to-day is hearing the stories behind each design I do.
For me, tattooing is the perfect way to step out of my own life and just focus on that individual client and the piece I’m working on. I get to set aside me and do for others – and it’s not just the tattoo, but the conversation; the release of bad experiences for them, or the excitement of just getting something new, that they’ve been looking forward to.
Do you remember your first tattoo? What was it? Was there a story behind it?
If you’re asking about the first tattoo I received, it was a Gandhi quote. It meant a lot at the time. Not so much anymore. I’m looking forward to having it covered haha!
The first tattoo I ever tattooed was 2 arrows. I wanted to see how exact I could get the two and how straight I could get the lines. It turned out as good as I wanted.
What outside factors do you believe influence and inspire your work?
Oh, definitely my dad, 100%. He is literally the thing that drives me to be as perfect as I can possibly be. He spent the better part of his life building hot rods and restoring muscle cars – some of them he built from scrap and he turned them into these incredibly stunning pieces of art on wheels. A favourite saying of his was “good from afar, but far from good” and he made sure his stuff was good from near or far. Minor details, clean lines and pure perfection were what he lived for.
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What do you feel are your biggest struggles in the world of tattooing?
Ah, because I’m a hand poker, THAT’S my biggest struggle in the world of tattooing. Many of my artist friends are amazing supporters of my work. Unfortunately, I get to hear some shit from others. I’ve definitely heard (from another artist) how I’m not an actual tattoo artist because I don’t use a machine. I’ve learned to expect it, though, so I don’t take it to heart. My style isn’t for everyone.
How would you describe your personal artistic style? Has this style evolved over the years?
My personal style… I don’t really have one. I love black and grey. Clean lines.
Looking at your life outside of the tattoo world, who is the person outside of the tattoo studio?
I’m a married mother of 2. When I’m not at work, I’m usually at one of my kids’ sporting events. I love animals – hairless ones to be most specific.
What are your hobbies and passions? What do you do when you aren’t tattooing?
I love taxidermy and do a little bit of it here and there. I also love photography and travelling.
What advice do you have for someone considering their first tattoo?
My advice would be this – Some people think every tattoo needs a deep meaning. I think if it makes you feel something… anything, then why not?
Thank you so much to Jaclyn Schultz for sharing your passion and knowledge with us today! I am sure that this interview will provide some much-needed insight into the world of hand poke tattooing for those who were not previously familiar with the style. I am looking forward to following your work online and if I’m ever in the Swift Current area, we will have to make an appointment!
**All pictures are original works by Jaclyn Schultz and were provided by her for use in this interview.**
Do you know of an incredible tattoo artist that has a story to tell or deserves to have their work featured? I am currently accepting artist recommendations of talented artists across Canada, the United States and around the globe to take part in the Behind the Ink series. Contact me for details!
Prior to reading this interview, were you familiar with the practice of hand poke tattooing? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!