Stick and Poke Tattoos Make Their Mark

“Do it yourself” (D.I.Y) tattoos, most of which are done manually with easy-to-acquire craft materials, have become popular amongst high schoolers because of their accessibility and low cost.

Stick and poke tattoos work just like they sound. A needle is dipped in ink and in punk-rock style is inserted into the skin several times until a full tattoo is made. “You have to take the needle and attach it to a pen or a pencil for grip and then you wrap a bunch of string around it,” Oli Martin, senior, said. “The string will hold the ink.”

Having an affinity for tattoos from an artistic standpoint, Martin and Charles Cremault, senior, are not at all averse to them. “Well, I always admired tattoos and I had a couple friends that had some and I just like the style of it I guess.” Martin said. “They’re just like different and cool because they’re small and you can do it yourself.”

“It says ‘thx ugly god’ because that’s my favorite rapper,” John*, junior, said, when describing a tattoo he got on his waistband. John insists that stick and pokes are worth the pain. “I’m pretty happy about it,” John said.

Differing in size and location, D.I.Y. tattoos are growing in popularity thanks to their low cost and easy concealment. “People like to do them on their thighs, it’s easily hidden,” Martin said.

In addition to often causing infections if not done correctly, stick and poke tattoos also come with intense pain and often even more painful regret. “When you got lower down it hurt more. There’s more nerves in your foot down there,” Mike, junior, said. “People see it a lot. I just dont think I should have gotten one.” Martin, on the other hand, is not as pessimistic about an arrow stick and poke on his wrist. “It kind of looks like a cross but I mean I’m probably going to get a tattoo over it anyway so I don’t really care.”

However students like Charles Cremault, senior, opt to get tattoos done in a shop.  “At the end of the day it isn’t the most sanitary option, and if it is going to be on your body for the rest of your life, have it professionally done” Cremault said. While the operation isn’t as complicated as a real, professionally done tattoo, the implications are close to the same. “They can last anywhere from five years to forever basically. I mean all tattoos fade with time but they do last a long time,” Martin said. “The longest one I’ve had is almost three years old now and it hasn’t faded yet.”

Only time will tell whether the trend will fade as slowly as the tattoos themselves, but one thing is sure about the trend right now. “They’re around, they’re around. But only the edgy kids do it.” Martin said.

*names changed upon request

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