California-born tattoo artist Tati Compton (real name Tatiana Kartomten) is known for her “stick-n-poke” technique. After experimenting with “home-made” stick and poke art in her early twenties, she later developed her craft into a professional career.
After spending a few years hand-poking at Sang Bleu London, Tati moved to Los Angeles where she continues to pioneer in making stick and poke tattoos a respected art form, whilst inspiring a new generation of tattooers.
Admitting she actually wanted to be a fashion designer when she was younger, she told Tattoo Life that she was obsessed with tattoo aesthetic from a young age. “I always wanted them and would put temporary tattoos all over when I was in elementary school,” she recalled.
“I was about 6 years old when I first remember seeing a tattoo,” she went on to say. “I went with my dad to a photo shoot because he worked on catalogs. He said we were gonna hang with Dolly Parton so I was really excited because she was my favorite, but instead a tall thin woman with long black hair came down the stairs. It turned out to be Cher. We became friends and she showed me her rad tattoos and we played cards.”
Funnily enough, the first time Tati got a tattoo was also the first time she got a tattoo. “It was with my friend Moses at his house and we were listening to Metallica, we gave each other matching dots on our fingers and wrist.”
“I started doing tattoos on an impetus – for an experience or out of boredom or from a feeling and it didn’t really matter how it looked or turned out,” she admitted. “It was more about the act and experience. It was free – I didn’t have to ask anyone for anything – It was DIY, it was immediate, and it was fun. I don’t know how to use a machine, this is the only way I know how to tattoo.”
Now her Instagram page has more than 250k followers. Her tattoos are also presented in her debut book featuring 192 pages of over 800 of her most intricate illustrations, from whimsical psychedelia to powerful silhouettes of women.
Check out some of her designs below: