This week we interviewed a self-taught stick and poke artist whose connections to others, both clients and other artists, drives his passion for his artform.
Who are you and where are you based?
My name is Saul, AKA Batu Madz. I’m a 30 year old artist based in Madrid, Spain.
How long have you been a stick and poke artist for and how did you learn?
It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve started officially to poke some skins. I’ve always been a self-taught artist, so when I got confident enough, after practising on fake skin, I’ve started poking my own skin, and some friends and family I could convince.
What is it that draws you to stick and poke tattoos?
I have been drawing since I can remember, and dotwork became my favourite technique as it helped my mind to disconnect from everyday routine, focusing on every single dot I could draw. I loved tattoos since I got my first ones when I was 18 years old, but it wasn`t until I discovered hand poke I felt confident to try and poke. Since then, I started my career as a stick and poke self-taught artist. I believe that my passion for dotwork helped me to develop my own style I use nowadays to create and develop my hand poke tattoos.
What would be your top tip for perfecting poke technique?
I think the best tips for perfecting your technique is to practice, get to know other artists and share knowledge with them, learn tricks and tips, and ask any doubt you might get to on your path.
Tell us about your favourite hand poked story.
I think every time I get to poke a skin it turns into a single and unique story, and it’s amazing to find how small the world is and to realize how close you are to a complete unknown person, just by a simple conversation, you get to discover how many things and people in common you have. That for me is wonderful.
What advice would you give to someone who’s starting out as a stick and poke artist?
Poke, poke poke. Practice makes perfect. No one is born knowing. Also watching and asking another talented artist it’s very important. And always try to move on and leave your comfy and safe space and try new things!
Lastly, where can people find you?
I’m currently poking in Madrid, at “what a week!” studio, but often I move to other cities as Valencia, Bilbao, Barcelona, and soon I will plan a European tour, and hopefully a north and south America tour!
Follow Saul’s journey and unique tattoos on Instagram at @batu_madz.