I’ve posted work from Aron Dubois before, and after doing a little digging on his website I found something that really caught my attention: small hand-poked tattoos done for the sheer joy of it. Denver’s my hometown, and I couldn’t resist the urge to drop by the shop to get one to call my own after seeing some of the images he had posted online. Even better, Aron was willing to give me a little insight into these hand-poked pretties he’s dubbed “pomoes”.
What exactly is a “pomoe” and when did you first start doing them?
Aron Dubois: A pomoe is a half dollar-sized tattoo done by hand and by machine. The “po” part of the word comes from “poke”, and the “moe” part from “machine”. I invented a name for them because I couldn’t think of anything else to call them. I began doing them in late August or September of last year.
You mentioned that each design is used once and then never done again. How many have you done so far? Are you strict about only using these pre-drawn designs?
Aron: Yes, every design is done once even though they’re picked off a flash sheet, and you can only get one. I believe that everyone deserves a personal tattoo. I’ve only done a small handful thus far, but I am hoping to do many more. I’m usually partial to my drawings only because I know I’ll have more fun doing them, however I’ve made a few exceptions. I do these to break away from the usual tattoos I do on a regular basis, so I’m picky.
Tell me a bit about learning the technique of hand-poking tattoos. I feel like there’s a pretty good story behind this…
Aron: There’s this guy named Hobo Matt. His face is tattooed, he smokes weed by the truckload, and he makes fantasy swords. He rules. In true anarchist train-hopping hobo fashion, he also knows how to throw down some sick ink… with a sewing needle. He draws demons, dragons, and the occasional spider-eyed teddy bear, of which I liked most, so I requested that he do one on me under one condition: that he would teach me the fine craft of anarchist ink slingin’. He agreed. After he completed my epic nightmarish teddy (taking two hours for a very small outline), I opted to tattoo him, as a thanks. The hand-poke method takes a decade; it requires a lot of alcohol and patience, both of which were running low by the time we got around to it, so I cheated a little. I used a tattoo machine along with the sewing needle to speed things up, and thus the “pomoe” was born… out of pure laziness. Slightly inebriated, I decided it would be a good idea to wing it without pre-drawing it or using any kind of stencil to follow. It was the first time I had ever approached a tattoo like that–ridiculous. It actually came out alright considering I had no idea what I was doing.
I know it’s a hard choice, but do you have any that you would consider “favorites” that you’ve done?
Aron: They’re all my little children, so I couldn’t pick favorites.
My pomoe is pictured above–don’t bite my style, or I will cut off your legs. Interested in embracing your secret inner train-hopper with a pomoe of your own, or otherwise having some work done by Aron? He can be found at Sol Tribe Tattoo in Denver, CO.