Photo: Courtesy of Annastasia Haynie

Tattoo Talk: USC student explores stick-and-poke tattoos

USC student Annastasia Haynie is a fourth-year physics major who happens to have a knack for a unique form of art: stick-and-poke tattoos. 

“It’s exactly like giving a regular, permanent tattoo, but instead of using a tattoo gun ... I hold the needles that would go inside a tattoo gun in my hand,” Haynie explained. 

Her skill was first developed because of a younger brother who ambitiously expressed interest in stick and poke about two years ago. Haynie wanted to ensure that he knew how to do them correctly and responsibly, so she started doing some research. 

“I decided to learn how to do it safely and teach him how to do it — because I knew he was going to try to do it one way or another,” she said. 

So she figured out where to get the supplies and began practicing — on herself as well as her brother — and was able to teach him the proper technique for doing the tattoos. 

Since she started learning, Haynie says that she has improved considerably. 

“I’m more efficient now, just because I understand what works better," she said. "And you just get better at the whole motion of everything.” 

The most challenging part of the process is transferring her sketch onto another person’s body, but she has gotten the hang of that too. 

Haynie now does tattoos for other people, and the sessions range in time depending on the size of the tattoo. The largest one she has ever done was about the size of her hand; it took two separate two and a half hour sessions to complete.

“I usually charge just twenty dollars and a good time, good company, good conversation,” Haynie said. “It’s such a long process, you’ve got to be okay with laying in my living room for a little while,” she said. 

She also wants to make sure that people understand what they are getting. Before beginning to work on others, they need to know what exactly a hand-poke tattoo is and be okay with the fact that Haynie is not a licensed professional. 

She even opens brand new materials in front of her customers so that they know it’s completely sterile.

“It’s extremely safe, nothing has ever gone wrong . . . but they need to understand that I’m just someone doing this out of their apartment and this is not by any means some kind of professional routine,” Haynie said 

Haynie herself has six professional tattoos along with several stick-and-poke ones. She also dabbles in painting, knitting and other “vaguely artsy things.” 

You can check out Annastasia Haynie's tattoos on her public Instagram hayniehandpokedtats, where she posts her work.



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