Melissa made my apprenticeship in a tattoo parlor back in 2016, starting by using machines. She was quickly appealed to by another dimension of the discipline: a closer link between the tool and the skin.
Fascinated by ancestral techniques and the crafty aspect you can find in Japan, Thailand, or Polynesia, it’s by going back to the roots that she found my way of practice, handpoke.
Melissa has been tattooing by hand exclusively since 2020.
Handpoke is not a new discipline. We’ve only been working with machines since the end of the 19th century, yet humans have been practicing body modification since the dawn of time.
To her, the thrill of working by hand is immeasurable, and it’s not only a form of emancipation and an actual ritual. I’m always amazed by what we can accomplish with the most essential tool. Creating a pattern dot by dot is a little bit slower than the speed machines offer, but handpoking creates a unique experience, style, and feeling.
Hanpoking is also less traumatic to the skin (a machine can stab the needle into the skin up to 3000 times a minute, that’s 50 stabs per second.) In fact, the healing process itself is more gentle and a bit faster. There’s also less blood during the tattoo session.
Technically, what Melissa does, depending on the effect she wants to produce, is to adapt the speed, depth, and angle of needle penetration. The only limits to this tattooing technique are the ones you put yourself; mostly, they are matters of esthetic tastes…to each their style :)