The Primitive, Delightful Tattoo Art of Jenna Bouma

With 100k fans on Instagram, tattoo artist Jenna Bouma has made a name for herself relatively quickly. Having officially begun tattooing in 2008, she’s known for her stick and poke tattoos, made without using a machine, via the shamisen-bori method.

“The simplicity is the best part,” she reflected in an interview with Acclaim Magazine. “It’s also primitive.” According to Bouma, she finds the fact that people were, and still are, willing to endure pain for pleasure attractive. “There’s satisfaction in laying something so permanent into a person’s skin by means of a tactful hand, and their willingness to put up with the pain in order the receive something they really want,” she says. “I’m humbled by that. Even more so humbled that friends and strangers want me to do it.”

Originally from Edmonton, Canada, Bouma travels full time internationally and is based part-time in NYC, at East River Tattoo in Brooklyn. According to her website, she usually only tattoos black and grey pieces but is open to experimentation with color under the right circumstances. Palm-sized tattoos usually take between 1-2 hours to complete, while hand-sized take about 3 hours. Back pieces, on the other hand, vary from 22- 40 hours depending on back size, detail, and coverage.

“Bold and straight thick lines are pretty integral to what I do,” says Bouma. “I’m not interested in thin lines or a messy job, and neither are the people who want me to tattoo them. I know what I can pull off, and 99% of those tattoos look best if they’re solidly lined, and produced in a solid shop or studio. No messy home jobs.”

See some of her work in the gallery below: