We absolutely love Nah Mate Pokes’ style of tattoos, so we had to feature them on our blog to learn more about their stick and poke background.
Who are you and where are you based?
Hey legends! I’m Nah Mate Pokes. I’m a Sydney based stick and poke artist.
How long have you been a stick and poke artist for and how did you learn?
I started tattooing in 2006 in my spare room. I bought a cheap tattoo kit from eBay and got straight to it. The machines in the kit were really bad – they would overheat five minutes into a tattoo. So I’d just wrap a couple more rubber bands around the machine and hand poke the rest of the tattoo. Not long after, I ditched the machines and strapped the needle to a texta instead, and only did stick and poke tattoos after this.
What is it that draws you to stick and poke tattoos?
I love the hand drawn look about them and the imperfections. Also the simple designs and use of negative space.
What would be your top tip for perfecting poke technique?
Use good quality equipment, use a light, watch your angles, take your time and trust the process.
Tell us about your favourite hand poked story.
The first time I tattooed with red ink, the design was a scorpion like the classic tattoo type. I didn’t realise how thick the red ink was and it was going everywhere, all over the stencil. So I had to freehand the rest of the tattoo whilst keeping my cool, especially because the person I was tattooing was my daughter – so it was really stressful!
What advice would you give to someone who’s starting out as a stick and poke artist?
Draw in every spare moment you have, tattoo yourself or anyone who will let you as much as you can. And finally, don’t be afraid to mess up.
Lastly, where can people find you?
On Instagram @nah_mate_pokes
IRL at Little Art Tattoo Studio, Leichhardt, Sydney, Australia.
Make sure you follow Nah Mate Pokes on Instagram to keep up with their latest designs, and let us know who you’d like us to interview next.