Annie Dean-Ganek, Stick n’ Poke Queen


Like so many at this school, Annie Dean-Ganek is into her tattoos. She’s got a varying range of ornate designs placed across both her arms, and she’s got nearly as many on her hands as she has fingers. But while Dean-Ganek has plenty of tattoos on her own body, she’s got droves more scattered across the wrists, hands, and shoulders of at least thirty others.


Her method? Good ol’ fashioned stick and poke– just like the kind that badass high-schoolers gave themselves back in the day. But hers are more than just a few dots in a row, in fact they’re really good! Here’s a taste of the work she’s done.

While she cleaned up her technique once things got serious (as serious as stick n’ pokes can get,) Dean-Ganek’s tattoo career began with a simple sewing needle taped to a pencil and some art store india ink. But as demand increased, so did the quality of her equipment: real tattoo needles, real tattoo ink.

“strictly for my LA girls”

The hardest one to pull off, Dean-Ganek says, were the palm trees. “It’s very exhausting to do because it’s a very detailed thing.” As a result, she reserves the palm trees strictly for special customers. “My LA girls.”

Do they hurt? According to Dean-Ganek, it depends on your tolerance. Each person is going to differ in how well they can handle the hundreds of needle pricks. Still, she says she saw a clear gender divide, and says “men were definitely not feeling it as much as women.”

“Men would get a tattoo in the same spot, a finger or something, and they would be flinching the entire time– my god, it was so annoying.”

Still, her work speaks for itself, regardless of prison-quality tools. During her entire career of performing stick n’ pokes,much of which took place near the final months of last year, only one friend couldn’t handle the pain. “He literally was crying,” she recalls. The person in question later had his finger tattoo finished, though Dean-Ganek says “it definitely doesn’t look as good as if I went over it more.”

Want some more impressive examples of Dean-Ganek’s stick n’ poke prowess? Here’s a few more:

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If you’re reading this and asking yourself “how can I get one of these these?”, you might be too late. “I’m definitely not as into it as i was last semester because my free time is so precious now,” she says.

Still, her memories are fond, largely thanks to the bond that grows between the inker and the inked. “It was a really interesting social thing. The most rewarding part was getting to meet people that i wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.”

While Dean-Ganek may be moving on from her career as a tattoo artists, at least we can take comfort in knowing her work won’t be going away anytime soon.


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