With having not touched on Hand Poked tattoos before, we are excited to introduce Tarzan as our featured Tattoo Artist. Working out of Trade Mark Tattoo and specialising in the art of Hand Poking, we get to know more about the art-form, Tarzan as an artist, his work and more…
Brought to you by Zappa.
Full name: Tarzan
Shop: Trade Mark Tattoo
Years tattooing: 2 years
Tattoo style: Hand Poked, Bold, Black, Dot-work
Hourly rate: Charge per piece
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a Tattoo Artist?
I’ve been getting tattooed since 2004 and always loved being in tattoo shops, but the idea of actually becoming a tattooer never crossed my mind. I met Nic in 2011, and a year later I found myself managing his tattoo shop, now known as Trade Mark Tattoo. Through managing and exposure to the industry, I learned about Hand Poked Tattoos, and I was instantly hooked.
You are one of the few Hand Poke artists in the country. What made you turn to that medium of tattooing and not the traditional machine style?
While managing Trade Mark Tattoo I looked at the option of becoming a tattooer, but it never really gripped my attention. It was only when I got exposed to the idea of making tattoos by hand, and not by machine that I started getting truly involved, and I’m loving it. I like the idea of a primitive style of tattooing, and being able to tattoo anywhere without needing electricity. For example, I’ve done a hand poke tattoo on my friend Anna in the Drakensberg in a beautiful location by a waterfall after a 2 hour hike.
Besides the obvious, what are the main differences between Hand Poked tattoos and machine made tattoos?
Clients getting Hand Poked often say it’s quite a therapeutic experience. So besides the obvious differences like time, method and pain, that’s probably the only thing that is different, the experience.
Which is more painful and which takes more time?
Hand Poke tattoos take longer, but are less painful than machine tattoos.
What do you like to do to ensure you keep progressing as an artist?
Drawing more is definitely a must and just tattooing as much as I can, when I can.
What has been one of your more challenging pieces?
I had to do some lips on a bum, which was just a really difficult area to tattoo and then generally ones on ribs are pretty challenging too.
Working out of Trade Mark Tattoo, how would you best sum up the shop’s artists and the vibe of the shop?
I absolutely love being at Trade Mark Tattoo, all of us get along super well. We constantly push/ motivate each other, and everyone gets involved if any advice is needed from another artist. The shop is super relaxed and welcoming, and often feels like a home away from home. Each artist also delivers their own unique style of tattooing, and we also often host guest artists from all over the world with their own unique styles which constantly changes the vibe at the shop in a positive way.
What does the tattoo industry mean to you?
Well, without the tattoo industry I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I really love where I am. It motivates me to be better and allows me to meet people from all over the world.
How do you think the industry in KZN has progressed and evolved over the last few years?
It’s definitely growing and new shops open up every year. Besides the growth, local artists from different shops are getting tattooed by each other, which I think is great for the KZN scene.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why?
I really enjoy doing bugs, animal heads and pattern-work. Basically any image done in a bold simple style is great.
When not tattooing or working, what do you like to do with your downtime?
Running barefoot on the beach and through trails off the beach is definitely one of my favourite things. I also enjoy camping and hiking in the Drakensberg. Eating and having coffee.
For anyone wanting to book and appointment with you, what’s the next step?
Best would be to send an email on email@example.com or come by Trade Mark Tattoo and speak to me in person. Alternatively a DM on Instagram (@txrzxn) would work as well.
Tattoos by Tarzan
Photos by The Put On dbn.