Tattoo your Skin ~ Soothe your Mind
Stick and Poke Tattoo Yourself
Have you always wanted to tattoo yourself, but are intimidated to take the first step?
This workshop will provide all tools and knowledge you need to leave Mediamatic with a tattoo given to yourself / It will also teach you how and why stick-and-poke can quiet your mind.
20 May (SOLD OUT)
28 May (SOLD OUT)
What you will do
During the workshop, you will be guided by A/artist project assistant and tattoo enthusiast Lynn Clemens (she/they) on how to give yourself stick-and-poke tattoos. (more information is provided on what a stick-and-poke tattoo can be found in the FAQ at the bottom and demonstration video).You and only you will tattoo yourself. No one else will tattoo your skin.
In this workshop, you will learn the hypothesis that emerged from the A/artist project; the links between autism and tattoo culture (Learn more about the subject in Lynn's article ).
In practice, you will first learn how to do a stick-and-poke tattoo on fake skin. After you have practiced your own design on fake skin and feel comfortable, you will tattoo your design on yourself.
Important: You are asked to think of a design you would want to have as a tattoo ahead of the workshop. Think fine and easy lines, no shading (more info in the FAQ).
All material, professional hygiene checks, knowledge and time for any question are provided. You're free to take home the fake skin used in the workshop and will be given a free aftercare balm for your new tattoo.
Why Tattoo at Mediamatic?
At Mediamatic, we always aim to push existing boundaries. As such, we see hosting this unique workshop where you tattoo yourself as a fantastic opportunity to follow this goal.
The idea came up in context of the A/artist project where we link ASD (autism) and ADD with art.
Our A/artist intern Lynn Clemens mentioned in her interview that she is doing stick and poke tattoos on the side as a form of stimming. The art of tattooing and the stimming related to autism perfectly fell under the A/artist project's interests. In brief terms, the neurodiversity paradigm sees stimming as a manifestation of healthy neurodivergent variation that reduces anxiety in many neurodivergent people. It entails repetitive movements or other forms of stimulation, such as both the sensation of poking holes into one's skin one after the other when giving a tattoo, as well as the constant pressure of receiving a tattoo. For a more extensive explanation of the term, please have a look at Lynn's article.
After having hosted a round table for A/artist, getting in contact with various tattoo artists as well as researching the link between tattooing and autism, our next step is to involve you. We want to invite you to experience how calming this repetitive movement and comfortable the pressure of getting a tattoo can be.
Lynn Clemens (she/they) is a tattoo enthusiast with the end goal of turning her passion into a job (on the side of her goal of becoming a psychotherapist).
They believe that doing stick-and-poke tattoos is a way of stimming / meditation in that one repetitively pokes every individual hole into someone's skin, which is extremely calming. When tattooing, one completely lets loose and enters a zone of peace which.
They are open to any question and inquiries: @delirious.tats .
Full price €80 | Discount price €56
We give a discount to students, artists and Stadspas holders. If this applies to you we might ask to see your kvk nr/portfolio or student card for this option.
29 of April, 13:00 - 17:00 in Mediamatic's CleanLab.
Attendance limited to 4 people.
We will have a break, where either you can consume drinks/food from our restaurant or bring your own.
Important: Please think of a tattoo design before the workshop (more information on what is possible in the following FAQ) and shave the day before the workshop.
The workshop will be held in English.
Please carefully read our FAQ. For any unanswered questions or concerns regarding what we'll do during the workshop, please contact the artist directly: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject "Tattoo Workshop Questions"or call the Mediamatic office +31 (0)20 638 9901 and ask for Lynn.
For any questions regarding general workshop policy, please first read our terms and conditions or reach out to email@example.com.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions (answered by Lynn)
What are stick and poke tattoos, compared to machine tattoos?
Stick and poke tattoos are done with a single needle - without a machine. Thus, you stick hole by hole into the skin for the ink to form dots in the skin. Therefore, you have to go over the tattoo multiple times (2-3 layers) to create the appearance of straight lines. Tattoos guns - like stick and pokes - strike one hole after the other into the skin, yet at a much faster pace. Hence, the process is quicker and only necessitates one layer as the needle is machine-driven. You can compare to two styles to hand sewing vs sewing machine if you will.
How do I have to prepare for this workshop?
- Please make sure to think of a design beforehand (more info on what I would recommend in the remaining FAQ).
- Please check whether the placement of your tattoo is a comfortable position to stay in for at least an hour (more info on what I would recommend in the remaining FAQ).
- Please shave the part of your body that you want to tattoo the day before. I will also provide razors, however, shaving might irritate your skin, making it more uncomfortable to tattoo yourself.
- Please do not consume alcohol before the workshop as it will thin your blood and block the view.
How deep must and mustn't the needle go into the skin?
Every person's skin and every part of your body reacts differently. Generally, you apply a light pressure with your needle at about a 45 degree angle to hear a "pop" in the skin. You don't want to bleed excessively or have the ink "leak" in the skin.
Again, don't overthink this yet, I'll show you in the workshop and you'll practice on fake skin first!
What is challenging when doing a tattoo this way?
There are a couple of reasoning that might make stick and poking challenging:
Firstly, keeping a steady hand as well as focusing your eyes to connect dots might challenge your patience.
Secondly, knowing how deep you should put the needle into the skin.
Thirdly, in lining up dots next to each other, the ink will block your view. You'll have to remain vigilant with cleaning it up instead of hoping you can see enough.
Lastly, I believe a good stretching technique is essential but might not come naturally.
But don't worry, this might sound like a lot but I will guide you through everything in the workshop!
Do stick and poke tattoos tend to hurt more than machine tattoos?
There's only a subjective answer to this. However, keep in mind that machine tattoos are generally faster and you feel the vibration and humming of the gun with every line that is drawn. With stick and pokes, the sensation is more spread-out and I'd like to say meditative in that you feel every single dot put into your skin - comparable to acupuncture if you will.
Are there any limitations when doing stick and poke vs. a machine? Are there any benefits?
A tattoo gun makes it easier to do shading and fill in large areas of skin. Stick and pokes have the benefit of increased control over the process - there is no way of slipping off the skin and making a completely wrong line etc.
Who can join this workshop? Age/health conditions?
Please make sure you're over eighteen to join. With regards to health conditions, please make sure you don't join if you have a chronic skin condition or a condition that thins your blood. Also, don't drink alcohol on the day before the workshop as it will thin your blood and block vision.
How long will the workshop be?
The workshop will take up five hours. We will start on fake skin, have a break where you can discuss designs (please already come with a simple idea) and then tattoo yourselves!
Is stick and poke sanitary?
Well, that depends. I can assure that at Mediamatic it is sanitary. We had a hygiene professional check the space as well as inspect my process of tattooing and disinfecting/sterilising. So there is no risk of infection whatsoever.
Also a gentle reminder that in the end a tattoo is not more than any other scratch in your skin, with the difference that it is controlled and extremely sanitary.
Will my stick and poke fade?
All tattoos (machine or stick and poke) will fade over time, but never entirely. However, there is a misperception that stick and pokes fade faster. If applied at the right depth, your stick and poke will not fade any faster than a machine tattoo.
What kind of colours do you have?
We only have black ink. This is for two reasons:
Firstly, it is a lot easier to see the dots you are tattooing when they are black as the contrast to your skin is best (even on darker skin tones, I find black ink to be the most visible).
Secondly, ink is quite expensive. I want to keep the ticket price as low as possible so that everyone who wants to join can (hopefully) afford to do so.
N.B. If you really wish to use a different colour and are aware of the risk that it might be more difficult to tattoo, please bring your own ink and make sure it's still sealed. I can recommend Dasha Tattoo Supplies to buy it.
What kinds of tattoos can I do with stick and poke?
I recommend starting with very easy lines. Make sure the individual lines are not too close to each other as to ensure that the ink will not bleed into each other. Moreover, I think it would be best to not do any shading for this workshop. Ensure that there are no spots that need to be filled it as that would take up more time than what we have.
Regarding size, I recommend to stay below 4-5cm to be able to finish your tattoo during the limited time we have.
Lastly, think of a placement for your tattoo that you can reach with both hands in order to stretch your skin and tattoo. (Arms, shoulders etc. will be difficult, hands are maybe possible depending on whether the exact placement allows you to stretch the skin enough). Perhaps, at home try to stay in the position (hands on tattoo placement) for a prolonged period of time to see if it's comfortable enough for you to tattoo yourself.
Are the lines of a stick and poke tattoo thicker compared to a machine tattoo? Can you choose how thick the lines are?
You will be tattooing with quite fine needles, because it is easier to correct mistakes. Should you misplace one dot, you can connect it back to the tattoo by making the lines thicker.
And with this, yes you have freedom in how big the lines will be by putting two streams of dots directly next to each other, your lines will double in size.
Why is it so expensive to get a tattoo?
There are quite a lot of materials used for tattoos that are expensive - from disinfectant, ink to aftercare etc. . A lot of materials are single-use for hygiene reasons and thus they have to be bought quite frequently.
Moreover, when you get a tattoo from a licensed artist, they did an apprenticeship as well as buy their license which adds up to some thousands of euros.
Additionally, keep in mind that the artist's work does not only consist of the hours in which they have direct contact with you. There is a lot of behind the scenes going on that adds to their working hours, which you also pay: They have to design the tattoo, adjust it to your needs, be available to give consultation and education before and after the tattoo, set up, sterilise and clean up the space for every client and so forth.
For this workshop, we aimed to keep material costs as low as possible. The main rise in ticket price arose from the fact that I only want 4 people present in order to have the time and space to check in on everyone's process and answer every single question. That's because I am aware that you don't want to mess up something that will be on your skin forever. I believe individual guidance is essential to design the most comfortable environment possible in which you will be able to create the best possible outcome of a tattoo.
I sincerely hope that 56€ (discount)/80€ (full) appears to be a reasonable ticket price to you. Please keep in mind, all material, professional hygiene checks, space, knowledge and time is provided and in the end you will walk out with a tattoo - which when professionally done costs you a few hundred euros.