Posts Tagged ‘hawaiian’

This week has been all about chest plates!

Two consecutive clients, completely unrelated and unknown to one another chose to get chest plates (and a shoulder piece) to chronicle their lives and loved ones.

I’m very happy with the results and am now so exhausted that all I can do is stare off into space as I contemplate going back to work next week, lol.

Here are the breakdowns of each piece.

Mahalo for looking!

Modern Maori, Marquesan and Hawaiian chest plate and shoulder piece

a) etua hena = hand of ancestor: holding the tattoo fast to the body

b) na ihe = spear(s): a weapon used by warriors, showing his warrior spirit and willingness to overcome

c) ka’ake = upraised arm: the entirety of ‘c’ encloses other elements of the tattoo and gives strength to the motifs that it surrounds. The entire paka represents, po’o kohe, or a section of bamboo. This symbolizes resiliency and tenacity and adds this quality to the symbols contained inside ‘c’

c.1) hala = past: this is the life that he has lived so far

c.2) ano = present: this is the life that he is currently leading

c.3) mua = future: this is his future life

d) mata = eye: this looks out and protects him from impending danger

e) niho = teeth: each tooth symbolizes each one of his children that happen to also be twins

f) koru = unfurling fern head: symbolizes life, breath, growth

f.1) koru = unfurling fern head: along with the above, this also represents his marriage and is in the shape of a heart (over his heart) to show love

g) lau niu = coconut fronds: each frond represents one year of being married (15 total)

h) hope vehine = twin goddesses (of tattoo): protection, union and beauty also acting to hold up this paka

 

 

Modern Marquesan and Maori chest plate done in Samoan taulima style

a) pepehipu = hammered section: this represents a hammered piece of tapa cloth it is inset with niho for protection

b) ihe o nalu = spear of waves: warrior, love of the sea

c) hoku = (shooting) star: illuminates his way forward

d) niho peata = teeth, fence: protective barrier against potential harm

e) koru = unfurling fern head: symbolizes life, breath, growth

f) lau niu = coconut frond: royalty

g) niho = teeth: two teeth joined together to symbolize his marriage, inset into a ka’ake (upraised arm) to give strength to their union

h) lei niho = garland of teeth: to protect from danger

i) mata = eye: this looks out and protects him from impending danger

j) mata tomoe = Death’s head: this is the unicorn of Polynesian tattoo as it was initially seen on the Langsdorff voyage to the Marquesas in the early 1800’s. It was chronicled by an illustration drawn on that voyage but the image was never seen again in future expeditions and any forthcoming information regarding it was ever given. I have re-imagined it, and designed it to be skull-like in appearance. It is said to represent death but also protection from death and acceptance of death, as well.

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Aloha!

I did this piece over the course of two days last week and had a blast! The client was a gentleman from Hilo who was looking for something to speak of his time in the military, his ties to his ancestors and also to show familial ties. It was also important that the tattoo incorporate protection as well as warrior motifs.

He came to me already having researched his family name and discovered that he had an ancestor that was a kumu lua (teacher in the art of Hawaiian hand to hand combat) who had taught skills to ali’i on Kauai during the time of Kamehameha I. He was also a pilot in the Vietnam war and also flew search and rescue with the fire department here in West Hawaii and also created the protocols for the now defunct marijuana eradication program, Green Harvest.

He wanted to tell his story of a warrior, of being descended from warriors and also to pay homage to his family. This piece was an awesome undertaking as I tried to combine all of these elements to create a cohesive piece. I had a blast working with the client and enjoyed immensely they time we spent over the two days that it took to complete.
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Here is the breakdown of the symbols used:

a) maka [eye], this paka contains an eye; one looking forward, the other looking backward to protect from harm in either direction.

b) koru [unfurling fern head], symbolizing growth, life, breath, this gives intention to the piece behind it ‘c’.

c) na niho [teeth], there are 3 large niho, followed by 3 sets of 3 niho, the larger represent his 3 daughters and each set of 3 represent their respective children.

d) unahi [fish scales] love of the sea and for swiftness.

e) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

f) pepehipu [hammered tapa cloth] this is an armor analog for protection, it is inset with a row of niho at the end that is meant to protect the tattoo from harm.

g) ama kopeka/ahi [fire] this keeps bad spirits away and also acts to illuminate the path of the symbol behind it ‘i’.

h) pili niho [joined teeth] two joined teeth representing the union of him and his wife.

i) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

j)  lei niho [garland of teeth] there are 2 rows, top and bottom, of teeth, each representing a year of marriage, 50 total, plus one to symbolize many more to come.

k) manu [bird] this theme is repeated throughout the piece and is a reference to his time as an airplane/helicopter pilot.

l) hoka [rays of the sun, rafter motif] this sort of symbol was one of many found carved or painted upon the rafter of a home or dwelling, it represents courage.

m) malu [protection] overlapping diamond shapes are meant to protect as armor.

n) lei-o-mano [string of shark teeth] this club-like weapon was used in hand to hand combat and in this instance is used to indicate his ancestral ties with a kumu lua that taught fighting techniques to ali’i on Kauai during the era of Kamehameha I.

o) ikeike [cyclophyllum barbatum] this hearty flowering shrub of the coffee family was known for its resistance, fortitude and toughness, its wood was also used to make weapons and tools.

p) a’aka hala/lauhala [Pandanus weave] this symbolizes the woven fronds of the hala tree and symbolizes family unity and armor.

q) la’au [club] this symbol represents a club used for combat and is a reference to part of his family name and ancestral past as kumu lua.

r) maka [eye], this paka contains an eye; one looking forward, the other looking backward to protect from harm in either direction.

symbols s,t,u,v,w are considered as one image, and that is the Spirit of War (SoW), which is a direct analog to his ancestor that was a kumu lua. It forms a head in profile, of the SoW.

s) pahiko a tuivi [fish net] this symbol makes up the mouth of the SoW and is intended to catch sin or protect from sin.

t) niho mano [shark teeth] this represents the first of his ‘aumakua, the shark, and makes up the part of the head portion of SoW.

u) naheka kai [sea snake] this represents his second aumakua, the sea snake, the triangle and two dots represent  the pattern on the snake’s skin.

v) hulu pu’eo [owl feathers] this is his third aumakua, the owl.

w) mata hoata [all seeing eye] this makes pup the face of the Sow, it also has an ama kopeka, or flame on the top of its head.

x) ani ata [sky, heavens] this represents his ancestors as well as heaven and the horizon.

y) a’aka hala/lauhala [Pandanus weave] this symbolizes the woven fronds of the hala tree and symbolizes family unity and armor.

Mahalo for your time!

Roland

mark_bd mark Aloha! Here is an upper arm/shoulder piece that I finished recently in Hawaiian, Marquesan and Maori styles. This client wanted a piece that spoke of his life’s ordeals, his love of the sea, his children and new beginnings. I did the overall layout in a very subtle Samoan taulima style to better integrate all of the symbols. I kept it the coverage light and airy as opposed to the very heavy aesthetic of the taulima. It can easily added to and will wear better over time. Here is the breakdown of motifs: a) na niho, this collection of many teeth/sins is Hawaiian based and speaks of the obstacles that he has had to endure and overcome throughout his life. b) this combination of kiko (dot) and small dashes representing pohaku (stone) symbolize a beach or shoreline, this is to symbolize the flow from his past challenges (a) into the present, symbolized by the beach. c) kai/nalu, ocean and waves, to speak of his love for the sea. d) mata, eye(s) to look out and protect from harm as he moves into the future. e) lei niho, garland of teeth for protection of the overall tattoo. f) ipu oto, bowl/container, this symbol represents a container of mana (power) as well as creation of the universe. In this particular example I have incorporated 4 mata, 2 above, 2 below for protection. g) kea, turtle, these 2 turtle motifs, (that can also represent a person, enana or a god, etua) are there to symbolize his children. h) koru, these 4 mirror reflected fern heads, represent a new beginning, life and breath. The configuration in this instance is representative of the Maori mangopare, which is a pattern representing the  head of the hammerhead shark. i) henna, hand, this affixes the tattoo to the body. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Peace!

Ana'ole Ploy (chest)
This is Ana’ole Polynesian, a style that I have been cultivating over the past three years. I utilize the Golden Mean, Chinese/Western astrology, chakras and i’ ching in the design process. I aim to create pieces that look as if they are in motion, almost as if the piece itself is alive. So much of modern Poly is an amalgamation of antiquated symbols whose meanings have been lost to time. My intention is to modernize the genre in a way that speaks to our modern sensibilities.

This tattoo was for a person going through many life changing experiences and because his journey is personal, I won’t go into too much detail out of respect for his story.

His chest represents himself and his son as they charge ahead through life. There is a sun directly behind both of them which is a symbol of enlightenment and courage as well as providing a light to better help illuminate the path that he is now on. In the center of the sun is a turtle shell which represents protection. Directly beneath their faces is the maka nui or all seeing eye. This symbol is meant to steal the power of his enemies as well as strike fear into their hearts. Because this person ended up having so many ‘earth’ related indicators in his ‘chart’ I utilized an earth motif throughout the piece. Which is why there is a single palm frond (royalty) between the eye and the faces.

Moving up his neck are 3 waves which represent his past, present and future. The past wave falls upon his back indicating that his past is behind him. The wave is riddled with caves which represent darkness and kiawe thorns which represent obstacles. The center wave is the present which moves down to the top of his shoulder which is an unfurling palm frond, a symbol of growth.  The future wave is at his neck and is filled with seeds which represent opportunity and change. Underneath the palm frond is a checker board pattern which represents wind, also a symbol of change and it also represents Kohala (a windy place to live) which is where he is from.

The arm piece is where he will derive his strength, and is dominated by the ‘io, or Hawaiian Hawk. This bird is a symbol of strength, nobility and power. The hawk has an awakened third eye which symbolizes enlightenment and higher consciousness. Above the eye are three stars which are also symbols of enlightenment and direction so that he does not lose his way. Moving up toward his shoulder we see a leaf of aloe unfurling, which symbolizes healing. In the cheek of the hawk there are flames to bring elemental balance to the tattoo. Behind the hawks head is a stem of bamboo which symbolizes strength, will and flexibility. Above the hawk are two swirls of wind representing the sky and change.

This piece is 99% finished as of today. All that is left to do is fill the small triangular shape on his shoulder and the small space behind his arm.

This represents 18 hours of work, with 12 alone spent on lining!

Peace!