Posts Tagged ‘polynesian tattoo’

Aloha!

I have begun a video series on YouTube, speaking about Polynesian tattoo. This is the first video of the series. I think in total there will be 8 or so videos and I will try to produce one a month. I am asking those that wish to comment, to do so here on my blog to keep all the information in one place. Because I am a cheap bastard I cannot upload video to my blog, I can only provide a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at0-G5yV5nE

Thank you for your time and aloha,

Roland

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Aloha, and thanks for taking the time to read  my blog.

I did this calf piece the other day; it is a mixture of traditional Marquesan, modern Maori, and modern Hawaiian, done in the modern Samoan taulima style.

Taulima (meaning, armband) is popular in Polynesia right now, and when people think ‘Polynesian’ tattoo, they are often referring to this style.

Taulima combines the weave structure and motifs found in the Samoan pe’a. But because the pe’a process is so time consuming and painful, many people prefer to have taulima instead. That being said, the taulima is not conducive to providing the genealogical information that the pe’a easily conveys and is mainly done for aesthetic purposes.

The main reason for this is because the structure of the pe’a is built upon the structure of the home or dwelling, with the house post (think the main beam of a house), ‘aso e tasi, being the foundation from which the other beams (‘aso fa’aifo, ‘aso fa’alava, ‘aso laitiiti) subsequently radiate from. The pe’a is built on this foundation and is finished off with, at the small of the back, a canoe shaped motif that symbolizes the generations of families of a given individual.

The taulima is not as expansive, nor is the shape, generally placed on the shoulder/chest/arm region, symmetrical and therefore does not lend itself to the elegance of the pe’a. The pe’a, when completed, is meant to resemble the shape of a flying fox, hanging upside down, wings folded against the body.

However, this does not diminish the efficacy of the tattoo! And as you can see, the taulima is something that the artist can have fun with and it looks great too.

This client wanted to have a piece that reflected his spirituality, his love for his children and a new beginnings.

The breakdown is as follows:

a)- papa konane: this lauhala variant is a modern Hawaiian interpretation of the lauhala mat, that symbolizes family, unity and exclusivity

b)- pepehipu: this Marquesan element is a simple band of black. The word means “pounded or beaten” and it symbolizes the flattened bark of the mulberry tree, or tapa (kapa) that was used as a rudimentary armor of sorts. It is meant to protect.

c)- aveau: this Samoan motif is the star of the sea and it is meant to symbolize guidance, spirits of  the deceased and devotion.

d)- ama kopeka: this Marquesan motif represents a flame and represents in this instance, illumination.

e)- mata: this Marquesan motif symbolizes a row of eyes that look forward and backward, up and down,or threats or harm.

f)- ani ata: this Marquesan motif represents the sky, heaven, ancestors and the horizon.

g)- a’aka hala: this Marquesan/Hawaiian motif represents the weave of the fronds of the pandanus tree. It is meant to symbolize family, unity, armor and protection.

h)- koru: this Maori symbol of the unfurling fern head symbolizes new beginnings, growth, life and breath.

i)- poiti and pahoe, these two Marquesan symbols represent this person’s son and daughter, respectively.

j)- hena: this Marquesan motif for the hand is used to affix the tattoo to the body.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the read!

Aloha, Roland

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I had a ton of fun with this tattoo! Meeting with the client. determining his history, drawing up the piece and then executing it, galvanized within me, the reason that I love my job so much: meeting and spending time with like-minded individuals.
This person hails from the Similkameen Indian Band (which is an offshoot of the Okanagan First Nation) in B.C., Canada. We immediately hit it off when he and his girlfriend came into the shop, asking about the significance of Polynesian tattoo. Because Polynesians and Native Americans are sister cultures, we ended up discussing the similarities of both and found that as individuals, he and I were very much the same in regards to our beliefs in both our cultures and personal lives. It is for these rare interactions, that I live to do what I do. I love meeting people from other parts of the world that have a profound love and respect for culture and spirituality as I do. It is rare, indeed and I covet those times like a junkie.
He had much history to discuss and like most folks it was filled with both happiness and sadness, love and loss, turmoil and prosperity. What we decided to glorify in this piece was his connection with the earth and the love for his family as the center point. He lives in a small village, virtually off the grid, and so his sense of community and connection to the ancient ways of his ancestors were also key points to consider. Hunting, communing with nature and respecting the practices of his ancestors are a very large part of his everyday life. I wanted to show that in the tattoo and it was not difficult. Sometimes tattoos design themselves and this is such a case.
I am so happy with this design because it manifested itself organically and in the end, displayed characteristics that were true to classic Marquesan tattoo (CMT) design, without anything being forced.
That is indeed a rarity.
Balance was what I chose to focus on because he was born on the scorpio/libra cusp and felt that balance was a key element in shaping his life. So everything in this piece is symmetrical and a mirror of itself, much like CMT. Not only that, but the entire piece works on the dual plane principle of CMT as well.
When all paka are taken into account (from a frontal plane), the entire piece can be seen to resemble an etua, or godling/divinity. The circle makes the head with each wedge shaped paka resembling (two upper and two lower, at each side of the tattoo) arms and legs, respectively.
As it happened to turn out, also along this frontal plane, another shape manifested itself in the lower quadrant, and that is the image of a face, with the koru forming a nose and the two ipu on either sides acting as eyes.
I did not intentionally set out to make this happen, it just occurred organically, which is always the best way for this to happen!
So, here is a breakdown of the motifs that speak of this person’s past and also giving him guidance and protection in the future.

Top to bottom:

The upper portion of this piece is split into 3 paka, with the circle being the center piece. From top to bottom the circle contains the following:

a) Past, present and future waves (hala, ano, mua) done as a flowing ribbon. The top arc is his past, the middle two converging lines are the present and the small pint at which they converge, the future.

b) Star (hoku), this is in reference to his spirit animal, the horse, as well as illuminates and guides him to prosperity in all future endeavors.

c) Birds (na manu), these birds represent his two daughters as well as freedom.

d) Sky/heavens/ancestors (ani ata) this represents his ancestors looking over him

Because of the symmetry of this piece, I will explain both right and left paka as one.

e) Hand (hena, i’ima) this hand holds the tattoo to the body.

f) Teeth (niho), protection

g) Palm frond (lau niu), connection to the earth, nobility

h) Eye (mata), to look out for danger, protection

When the two paka are viewed as one this is the All-seeing eyes, or mata hoata (protection from future threats)

i) Eye (mata), to look out for danger, protection

j) Spear (ihe), symbolizing the hunter

k) Teeth (niho), protection

l) Container of mana (ipu), container of power, the universe and creation

m) Container of mana (ipu), container of power, the universe and creation

n) Fish net (pahiko a tuivi), the purpose of this motif is to catch sin, or protect from sin

o) Hand (hena, i’ima) this hand holds the tattoo to the body.

p) Eye (mata), to look out for danger, protection

q) Fernhead (koru), Maori shape symbolizing growth, new beginnings, breath and life. Flowing from opposite directions for balance.

Thank you for spending time reading my blog and thank you for your interest in Polynesian tattoos.
Aloha and peace! R

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This client wanted a piece that could be added to at a latter date, one that reflected his new direction in life while combining elements of his family lineage, past occupation and love of music. I included a protection motif, as such things are an intrinsic aspect of Polynesian tattoo to a greater or lesser degree.

The breakdown of the piece is as follows:

a) Koru with kape and pakura elements- The koru is a Maori motif and has several meanings but are generally meant to convey life, breath or new beginnings. In this case it represents this person’s new direction in life.
The line elements in the tattoo represent a non-curved variation of pakura, or footprints of the swamp hen. They are simply meant to connect the tattoo and are also placed on the outside of koru.
The circular motifs  on the outside of the koru are called, kape and represent eyebrows/lashes. This symbol represents beauty, attention, and intelligence.

b) Mata hoata- All seeing eye motif is done in profile in this tattoo. The nose can be seen at the bottom of this motif, moving upward we can see the eye as the principle element. At the bottom there are a row of niho. The entire motif is to look out for danger; to protect him from threats when his attention may be elsewhere.

c) Koru with pakura

d) Ipu- Container of mana, the universe. Ipu are containers that store mana (power) but also represent the female uterus vis a vis creation. It is used to show the creation of all things and therefore is synonymous with the universe. The ipu in this sense represents his creation of music.

e) Ama kopeka- Fire. This speaks of his past as a firefighter. The flame also represents illumination and is also a symbol of defiance when used with vai meama.

f) Niho- Teeth. These symbols are spread throughout this piece and all are done in Fibonacci sequence to represent the mana inherent in everything in nature. They are a protective as well as warrior motif.

g) Unaunahi- Fish scales. This Maori symbol was used a lot in woodcarving and represents fish scales which themselves represent abundance (of food) or bounty. In this tattoo there are 4 scales, each representing a member of his family that are healers (nurses, doctors, etc.).

h) Koru with pakura.

Looking forward to adding to this beast!

I hope you enjoyed the breakdown. Peace and aloha!

Did this Ana’ole shark yesterday. The body contains the motif, hala, ano, mua nalu–past, present and future waves. The future wave is inset with a mata hoata tiki to steer clear of danger. There are also two ipu motifs set into the head as containers of mana (power). There are also protective motives in the water surrounding the animal. Peace!

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I did this traditional Marquesan upper arm piece today on a gentleman that wanted to show his love for his two daughters as well as his love for the sea and fishing. There is also several protection motifs; mata hoata and hope vehine. He is planning on adding to it on his next visit and so is looking forward to returning here to Hawaii.

Breakdown of motifs is as follows:

a) Ani ata- sky or heavens, essentially heaven or where the sky and water meet. Represents his ancestors looking over him, providing spiritual protection and power (mana)
b) Pahoe- this is one of his daughters
c) Hope Vehine- the dark ‘c’ shaped motif is an analog to the turtle shell and is for protection
d) I’ima-hand, this motif holds the entire tattoo to the body
e) Pahoe- this is his other daughter
f) Ipu oto, vessel/gourd/bowl, this motif is a container analog representing a vessel to contain mana or spiritual power. It is also representative of the universe.
g) Tai- the sea, in this case a wave
h) Mekau- fish hook, because he likes to fish
i) Mata hoata- all seeing eye. This is an analog to a face with eyes, nose and mouth (j). The purpose of this motif is to act as a surrogate; it watches out for potential danger and is in a sense, clairvoyant. This one is different because I placed another set of eyes parallel with the nose so that it can see danger from all angles, forward/backward, up/down. The row of niho, or teeth (j) acts as its mouth and is intended to stop any threat by biting down on it.

Peace!

lucasThis forearm piece is intended to show this persons love for the land, sea, air and fire. It is also a representation of his unity with family and ancestors. At the center is a compass motif that speaks of his past and future travels.
The overall paka shape is that of a hulu ‘io, or hawk feather. This relates to his aumakua and also symbolizes freedom. The symmetry of the piece speaks to the intended duality of the overall design which reinforces the efficacy of the tattoo.
This piece is done in Ana’ole style while its component pieces are done in traditional Marquesan, Maori and Hawaiian.

a) Hope vehine/ Kea/ Mata- this symbol represents the twin goddesses of tattoo, the turtle shell and the eye. Intended to glorify the art of tattoo, protect and look out for danger, respectively.

b) Mata hoata- brilliant eyes, this motif is meant to protect the wearer from unforeseen dangers and to protect the integrity of the tattoo itself.

c) I’ima- hand, this point is where the tattoo itself attaches to the wearer. The intention is to hold it fast to the body.

d) Koru- unfurling palm frond, this Maori motif is meant to convey the cycle of life, new beginnings and breath.

e) Heo’o- compass, this Marquesan motif represents direction and acts as a guide.

f) Ani ata-sky, heavens, ancestors, this motif represents the heavens and his ancestors as they watch over him.

g) Ama kopeka- fire, this motif celebrates the element of fire while also acting as a light to guide him through life.

h) Lau hala- this Hawaiian motif represents this persons connection with the land (aina) and his relatives.

Peace!

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IMG_1027I did this female Polynesian piece yesterday. It is comprised of traditional and modern Marquesan, with Maori overtones. Had a lot of fun with it and look forward to working more with this client.
When composing Poly tattoos for female clients, I like to work with the flow of the body and believe that the overall piece should not overpower the femininity inherent in the female body. I also believe that less is more in this case and prefer a light and airy coverage that is extensive instead of packing a ton of motifs into a small space. I like to long, flowing paka that aren’t necessarily touching or attached, such as in male tattoo.

This piece was meant as a decorative with familial and protective elements.

Anyway, here is the breakdown. Peace!

a) tai: the sea, this speaks for her love of the ocean
b) lau niu: coconut fronds, this represents someone of high regard
c) maka: eye(s), placed on various parts of a tattoo the eyes are meant to warn of danger as well as give a human element to the tattoo itself
d) poka’a: opening/uterus, this symbolizes her role as a mother and giver of life and when used in mirror image conveys balance
e) hope vehine: twin goddesses of tattoo, this motif represents beauty, life, creation and protection
f) piko: belly button, representing her two children
g) this client had high regard for the number four, so inset along various parts of the tattoo are four niho (teeth)
h) koru: unfurling fern head, this Maori symbol is used here to represent new beginnings
i) hena/i’ima: hand, this motif acts to attach the tattoo to the body
j) u’uhe: piece of turtle shell, this motif is a feminine protective motif
k) ani ata: sky and heavens, this motif represents her deceased relatives
l) pa’aoa: whale, this motif represents trust, protection and unwavering friendship
m) tai: the sea
n) kaka’a: lizard, this represents tenacity but also her love of lizards!
o) maka: eye
p) hena/i’ima: hand
q) koru: the overall shape of the upper piece is that of a koru

DRbd1  DRbd2DRbd3

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Did this shoulder piece the other day. It contains Ana’ole as well as traditional and modern Marquesan and Maori motifs. This was a walk-in client and the overall piece was conceived as an aggressive, warrior-oriented design. The overall pauku was meant to resemble armor to some degree, that would be placed on the shoulder area.

Here is the breakdown of the paka:

a) ana’ole style, niho or teeth. This is meant to protect the tattoo and gives an aggressive appearance.

b) niho. For the same reasons as stated above and additionally, this traditional motif also forms the mouth of the mata hoata above it.

c) mata hoata. The brilliant eyes are meant to watch for any danger or threat to the individual.

d) niho peata, or shark teeth. These represent courage and power as well as protection in this piece.

e) koru. This Maori symbol represents the cycle of life and growth.

f) lauhala/a’aka hala. This weave pattern of leaves from the hala tree symbolize protection and unity.

g) hope vehine. This rendition of the symbol for the twin goddesses of tattoo represents protection.

note: f,g are fit into the overall shape, ka’ake, or uplifted arm, symbolizing strength that fortifies the overall piece.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more. Aloha and Peace! R

Just thought I’d post something I have been kicking around for a while and finally had the chance to execute yesterday. I’ve always felt that Bio-mechanical/Bio-organic pieces have a very strong resemblance to Polynesian tribal tattoo. I don’t know if it’s because they both share creative use of negative space or because many of the shapes resemble koru. It could be the totality of the finished piece; I don’t know. At any rate, I’ve been kicking the idea of doing a bio-organic piece with Polynesian motifs set into the organic structure. I am also toying with the idea of creating a Bio-geological piece, using rock or strata as the central theme. More to come!

On this piece I put a koru at the bottom and a hope vehine above it.

Aloha!

 

bio-organic poly