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Mako - Artist Interview

If you follow us on Instagram you've probably seen us repost Mako aka Sea Panda Pokes' tattoos multiple times. We're always in awe of their hand poke style, so we had to interview them for our blog. We had the pleasure of learning about Mako's stick and poke journey, which you can read below.


Who are you and where are you based?

My name is Mako and I am a queer, non-binary artist based in The Netherlands. I mainly work at Monstera Ink in Utrecht. But I also work in Groningen. 


How long have you been a tattoo artist for and how did you learn?

I’ve been tattooing for 1.5 years now. It all started after I purchased a Single Needle kit actually! I got tattooed by other hand poke artists to witness their work and ask for tips, I practiced on fake skin and eventually myself. And I now co-own a hand poke studio called Monstera Ink!


Did you start hand poking after using a machine, or has the hand poked method always been your preference?

Hand poke has always been my preferred method because I love the way it eases me and how it is very soothing to do as well. Even my clients often tell me it feels almost therapeutic to get hand poked compared to a machine. It’s less painful and less abrasive on the skin too! I am actually trying to practice with a machine on the side when I have time, but only so I could be a bit faster with coloured designs. But overall hand poke is definitely my go-to method.


What is it you love most about stick and poke?

I love how it feels very organic and it is a very soothing process for me as I mentioned before. I also love to talk to my clients while tattooing. Luckily I can talk and poke at the same time! Really getting to know my clients and the reason behind them getting a design is also something I really love about my job. A great tattoo experience is just as important as the tattoo itself. 


Tell us about your favourite hand poked story

There was one time that all the artists were tattooing at the studio and we were playing a guilty pleasure playlist. When a song by the Vengaboys came on we all, including our clients, started singing! It was definitely one of the most fun days I have had in our studio!


What advice would you give someone starting out as a stick and poke artist?

Keep on drawing, get tattooed by other hand poke artists so you can experience how they work. Never rush your lines and take your time. Slow is the way to go! Tattoo safely and as sanitary as possible! 


Lastly, where can people contact you?

My instagram is @seapanda.pokes and my email is


Make sure you follow Mako on Instagram to see their latest tattoos and comment below who you'd like us to interview next.


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