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Tattoo Artist MJ van der Poll

MJ van der Poll of Hand of Mysteries Tattoo is our featured Tattoo Artist. We get to know more about her passion for the trade, her style of work, and more below…
Brought to you by Zappa. 

Meet MJ van der Poll as our featured Tattoo Artist

Full name: MJ van der Poll

Shop: Hand of Mysteries Tattoo

Years tattooing: 2 years strong

Tattoo style: Illustration/ line work

Hourly rates: Starting price is R600 and my full day is R4000. I don’t really quote based on the hours but rather the technique and my confidence with the requested tattoo

MJ van der Poll tattooing a client at Hand of Mysteries TattoosWe talks tattoos and more with MJ van der Poll

What does a day in your life usually consist of? 
Well every day I have the unfortunate task of waking up (just kidding, kind of), I see to my animals, get ready and off to work. I’m usually at the shop six days a week. When I get home I will cuddle up in bed, draw or build puzzles on my iPad, and listen to true crime podcasts. I kind of suck at being productive when I’m not working [laughs]. Sundays are my off days and I generally sleep the whole day.

What does being a full time tattoo artist mean to you? 
I always say, “I don’t have a job, I have a passion”. I get to create every day and make people happy. The bonus is getting paid for it [laughs].

Explain your interest in the industry and what lead you to be coming an artist? 
From a youngin I was always creative and enjoyed art. I started thinking about being a tattoo artist when I was around 15 but high school art slowly killed my passion. I sadly lost interest and in Matric I decided to apply at Wits for law or teaching and actually got in. When the academic year rolled around I was like “nah” and I took a gap year and worked. It was during this time I started creating for myself again instead of being forced by stupid rules and guidelines. I fell in love all over again with art and realised that this was the path for me. I decided I wanted to create art on people and allow my art to live out in the world instead of being confined to sketch pads and canvases in my bedroom. I searched high and low for an apprenticeship, I began in October 2019, and I’ve never looked back.

Introducing MJ van der Poll as our featured tattoo artist

How do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?
I’m very hard on myself. With every tattoo I do I always aim to do better. I try to stay as humble and grounded as possible. I’m constantly looking at new ideas and techniques that I can apply in my own work to constantly evolve and develop my own unique style. I also low-key always try out something new with every tattoo so I can see how it heals and slowly develop my own technique based on the outcome.

What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why? 
I’m in love with line work. I really feel so passionate and excited every time it comes up. I really feel like I can challenge myself and push my boundaries. I also love anything illustrative or surreal. I’ve also been experimenting with colour recently and it’s starting to grow on me.

Where do you see your career taking you? 
This was such a strange question for me because I’ve never really imagined my future in a couple years’ time. I’m kind of a “live in the moment” type of gal. But one thing I can definitely say for sure is that I will do this for the rest of my life. I have no desire to ever go back to a “normal” life.

Interview with tattoo artist MJ van der PollMJ van der Poll is our featured tattoo artist

Give us some ideas of the more interesting requests you’ve received?
I had a guy message me once and he wanted to get his wife a tattoo for her birthday, but she told him he could choose the entire tattoo and placement. Long story short, we settled on a bear with a bio mechanical arm on her chest. She had no clue until she walked into the shop. Needless to say, she was super thrilled. I’ve never seen someone so excited before [laughs].

Given the opportunity to tattoo any famous person, who would it be and why? 
Man this question broke my brain, because I’m not that into celebrities, but then I remembered Billie Eilish exists. So yeah, definitely Billie, she just seems really cool.

How would you like to see the tattoo industry evolve in the coming years? 
The first time I read this question I was like “I do not have enough knowledge in my brain to answer this”.Honestly I just want the tattoo community to be more connected and kind to each other. There’s a lot of competitiveness and jealousy. It’s just not worth it. We can all learn and grow from each other.

MJ van der Poll tattooing a clientOur weekly tattoo artist featured brought to you by Zappa sambuca

For anyone wanting to book an appointment with you, what’s the next step? 
It’s best to pop me a DM on Instagram @theartisticsandwich_tattoo, that’s my most active platform for appointments. I do have a lot of requests and work on my hands so I won’t reply immediately but you will get your spot, I promise!

Hand of Mysteries Tattoo
Contact: 079 054 3772
Address: Shop 20, Devon Valley Centre, 122 9th Avenue, Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg.
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Tattoos by MJ van der Poll

A selection of tattoos done by MJ van der PollTattoos done by MJ van der Poll
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.

…Photo Gallery…

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