Petra Glynt Shares Her Best Work as a Handpoke Tattoo Artist

Now living on Vancouver Island, the musician and visual artist is aiming to take her career to the next level

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jan 20, 2022

Music fans know know Petra Glynt for her adventurous electronic art-punk music, but that's just the tip of her artistic iceberg. The multidisciplinary creator, real name Alexandra Mackenzie, is an illustrator with a budding tattoo business on Vancouver Island, where she recently moved from her previous home base of Montreal.

As she wraps up work on her third full-length album — the follow-up to 2018's My Flag Is a Burning Rag of Love — we touched base with Mackenzie to discuss her signature style of handpoking, the years she spent hiding her tattoos from her family, and her most unfortunate tattoo mishap. She also shared tidbits about upcoming projects, which include converting a bus into a travelling creative studio.

What first got you interested in tattoos and inspired you to get your own?

I have always had an interest in tattoos, but they were pretty frowned upon in my household growing up. When I moved out at 18, I worked at a burrito joint next to a tattoo shop. An apprentice there gave me my first tattoos... Actually, my first tattoo was in Georgetown, ON, a gift from my boyfriend at the time. I was very eager to mark my independence. I tend to have a defiant streak when I'm told I can't do something, so I got a few tattoos quite quickly. I hid those tattoos from my family for many years because I felt that it would pain them to learn of them.

Much later, living in an artist run space in Toronto called Everlasting Super Joy, I learned how to stick and poke with a pencil, a sewing needle, some thread and India ink. It was too easy so I put the whole thing away for some years, but it managed to creep into my life between moments of change. I'd give myself something new to mark the occasion. Now, I'm interested in doing trades with other tattooers and maybe some really special elaborate ones, but I am in no hurry to fill my body.

How did you take up giving tattoos to others? Are your tattoo bookings available to the public?

In 2017, I made a promise to myself that I would only use my art and creative skills to carry me through this life and started offering pay-what-you-can handpokes until I felt confident enough to create my own rates. I am currently living on Vancouver Island, in Saanichton near Victoria, and would love to get the ball rolling here. People can get in touch with me via Instagram at @petra_glynt_world or @petra_glynt_tattoos or by email at

What are your favourite styles of tattoos to give?

With handpoking, I like to work with iconography and imagery on the simple, graphic side. The process takes a fair bit of time and I prefer to create nice, solid lines with the medium. I am currently learning machine. I purchased a wireless, pen-like machine sometime last year and, with practice, I'm aiming to offer more elaborate artworks for clients that resemble my regular drawing style.

Have you ever had any tattooing mishaps?

There was one instance when I was just starting out where I applied the stencil on the arm of a client while it was bent, did the tattoo, and then realized the imaged somewhat stretched with their arm movements. It kind of haunts me to this day and I would certainly never repeat it!

What's your process?

I like to to draw up a flash sheet with many options for my clients and post it to Instagram to announce their availability. For the tattoos themselves, I like to set a nice mood with music and get cozy. Once we chose the placement of the tattoo and transfer the image over onto the client, I do a first pass of the whole image, then continue to do passes until the lines of the image are solid. I then make sure to do any nitpick-y detail work. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Then I wrap 'er up and she's done!

Could you share photos of a few of the favourite tattoos you have given?

A mushroom from my flash. I'm a big fan of mushrooms of all kinds.

This [skull-face] tattoo was half a trade with my studio mate Rena a.k.a. Child Actress, who helped me record drums and mix some demos of mine.

From my flash. This [crying heart] tattoo marked a moment when I started to get clients outside of my community and through my reach on Instagram.

These two tattoos [sun and skull] are from my flash and were given to a cute couple who drove from Quebec City to Montreal together.

This [abstract line design] is the most recent tattoo I gave to myself before moving across the country to Vancouver Island to live on a farm and begin this new era of my life.

What's next for you? 

I'm currently bouncing between a number of projects. First and foremost, I am converting a short bus into my home and studio on the farm I'm living on. I plan on having it mostly completed by May of this year. Then, I'll be able to tattoo all over North America.

I'm also in the process of completing my third album. There's no release date at the moment, but the songs are mostly completed and I am now getting the recordings together. I'm hoping to perform on top of the bus at some point this summer.

The third project on the table is a drawing series inspired by regenerative agriculture. I have been working on a giant six-foot by six-foot drawing since January of last year. I'm aiming to have the series completed by the end of the year — fingers crossed.

The fourth project I'm picking away at is a tarot deck. I started working with an app out of London, ON, called Yuser last year. They've created a social media app for artists to share and sell NFTs. I knew I wanted to learn tarot and create a deck so working with them has been a very perfectly aligned way to stay on top of this project.

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