To everyone’s delight, London-trained, LA-based stick-n-poke tattoo artist Tati Compton (real name Tatiana Kartomten) has released a book full of 800 of her most intricate illustrations. Taking inspiration anywhere from “a hazy picture of a supermodel from the 90s to a 19th century alchemical engraving to a playful erotic pinup”, Compton’s book ranges from psychedelic sketches to pieces out of her tattoo flash book.
The publication of the book sees Compton’s career come full circle. She started her career at London’s Sang Bleu with no traditional training – a position she remains grateful for, and vice-versa, as TTT Publishing (a tattoo-specific publishing division under the Sang Bleu umbrella) are the publishers of the eponymously titled book, released last weekend in LA.
Describing her style to Dazed Digital last year, Compton said, “Feminine but not girly. Delicate but bold. Organic, like it’s meant to be there.” Coupled with the rising interest in stick-n-poke, it’s a style that has helped usher in a legion of Instagram fans and followers – totalling over 168k – with her posts featuring her latest designs quickly racking up thousands of likes.
“To me, stick-n-poke was never about the actual tattoo – it was about the act and the time and the place” – Tati Compton
“To me, stick-n-poke was never about the actual tattoo – it was about the act and the time and the place. No one was ever expecting it to be good, no one really expected anything from it. It was about being with friends getting drunk and listening to music basically,” she said. “Those ancient forms are legitimate tattooing art forms. But who’s to say what tattooing with your friends drunk is – maybe it’s an art form of living?”
Taking bookings no further than a month in advance, Compton remains unphased by her sudden cult-like status, telling us, “If I’ve skyrocketed to fame it’s probably because of Instagram – which is like Monopoly money fame”. She added that there are plenty of stick-and-poke artists out there, they’re just not posting “Hand-poked tattoos aren’t a new thing and I am sure there are legitimate hand poke tattooers who just don’t have Instagram or care to. It’s just with social media that everyone is learning about it now.”