A Living Canvas
Anouk Amount is a hand-poke tattoo artist that that finds the charm in the imperfections and individuality that come with her creations
I've never been interested in tattoo culture, or even getting tatted myself, for that matter. I was 16, when I gave myself a tattoo for the first time--with a sewing needle and India ink. It was thrilling, working with a new living canvas. Needle, dip, poke, repeat; just like painting: Brush, dip, stroke, repeat.
It wasn't until I moved to Oregon to finish college, when I started stick n' poking other people. I moved into a home on a property where everyone's creativity was bursting at the seams. I was surrounded by musicians, videographers, photographers, graffiti, and style! That era encouraged me to delve deeper and step into what I call a "stretch" zone (away from what's comfortable).
Anouk's Vision Board
One time, I walked into a shop and the men behind the counter snickered when I said I was interested in learning because I stick n' poke. They looked me up and down and said "you don't look like a tattoo artist".
Tattoo parlors are historically dens of heteronormative ruggedness and toughness, populated and owned by men. Thus, entering this space not to mention succeeding in it, has been an onerous task for me as a female. This is nothing new, but it's an issue I am confronted with a lot of the time. I hope to continue to challenge the traditionally male dominated industry, to overcome real-world work dynamics, and create a safe space for myself and my clients.
The Machine vs. Me
When it comes to the machine vs. handpoking, the driving force for me is experiencing the de-masculinization of a profession that's so heavily masculinized. Tattoo culture has been male dominated since its origin, and for decades the only women who had tattoos were viewed as rebels, deviant, or considered marginal. This "fourth wave" feminism is upsetting the gender balance within the tattoo world, and it's fascinating to be apart of.
Do your research!
Don't be afraid to tell someone that you can't execute a design if it isn't your style of tattooing. It's always more appealing if someone is honest and it's going to be on them forever.
The biggest obstacle I've run into isconfidence, and trusting myself. Once I learned that the most important aspect of tattooing is trust, I saw thebeauty in making something so permanent in just minutes, and the relationship of trust I could create with that person.