California-born, Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Tatiana Kartomten, aka Tati Compton, has been obsessed with tattoos from a very young age. “I always wanted them and would put temporary tattoos all over when I was in elementary school,” she admitted in an interview with Tattoo Life.
Her obsession turned into her vocation once she started exploring the art of tattooing. Symbolically enough, her first time tattooing someone else was also the first time she got a tattoo herself. “It was with my friend Moses at his house and we were listening to Metallica, we gave each other matching dots on our fingers and wrist,” Compton says.
After experimenting with “home-made” stick and poke tattooing in her early twenties, she developed her craft into a professional career. “I started doing tattoos on an impetus – for an experience or out of boredom or from a feeling and it didn’t really matter how it looked or turned out,” she admitted. “It was more about the act and experience. It was free – I didn’t have to ask anyone for anything – It was DIY, it was immediate, and it was fun. I don’t know how to use a machine, this is the only way I know how to tattoo.”
Her practice took her to Sang Bleu London, where she studied the art of hand-poking, and later to Los Angeles where she’s made quite a name for herself. So much so that she decided to assemble some of her favorite pieces into a book dedicated to her art.
But you can also follow her work on her Instagram page. Here are some highlights: