Posts Tagged ‘wind’

I just got back from holoholo on Maui.
What appears to be a collection of chicken nuggets, is in fact my friend’s back and his new  tattoo. It is an upper back/ shoulder piece that is nestled on top of an already existing tribal piece. Because of the shape of the tattoo already there, I opted not to design this piece as paka. Paka are essentially the ‘slices’ of tattoo design that conform to areas of the body and are defined by borders of either artwork or shading. Paka are designed to be added to, much like pieces of a puzzle. Traditional Polynesian is based on the paka usage, albeit in a very regimented and defined fashion. Ana’ole does not have to fit into a specific shape and can actually be more open than a traditional piece. When designing a piece in this way, it is called, pauku ,which means section. If a piece does not have paka, it is a pauku. However several paka can also make up a pauku. Confused? Read on.
This tattoo was to celebrate the life of my good friend Brad’s mother, Susan. She loved Bob Marley’s song, Three Little Birds and Brad wanted something that involved birds. After much discussion, and by that I mean drinking, we arrived at a something that would utilize the birds to illustrate Susan’s journey through life.
We decided on the ‘iwa bird because it is an animal that can travel vast distances.
Brad wanted the bird to represent the stages of life and death, and so the story moves from right to left across his back/shoulders. Because the ‘iwa represented his mother, the image changes as it makes it progression across his back.
Beginning with his right shoulder, the bird is solid black and seen flying over the aina (land). The aina is represented by three plants, the sword fern/kupukupu (life, growth, overcoming adversity, because it can grow in lava rock), red ginger/awapuhi (impermanence, cleansing) and aloe (healing, catharsis). All three plants are set into a’a lava rock.
The ‘iwa is following a current of wind which blows over the sea, represented by three waves inset with FS. The bird at this point is grayish as it begins to journey onward. becoming ‘lighter’. It is positioned at the base of his neck.
On his left shoulder are three stars which overlap one another. This symbolizes Susan’s journey into the heavens and is reflected in the ‘iwa by making the bird ‘white’ which is really just the color of Brad’s skin. The progression is meant to convey the journey from the land of the living (tangible) to the heavens (intangible)
Because Brad has spent much of his life frolicking in the surf sans sun screen, his shoulders have become sensitive and we could not finish the piece (it had nothing to do with the shader, promise!). As it sits it is at 90%.
We also used Susan’s ashes in this piece.
Love you, brother!

This 1/4 sleeve is a protection piece for this man’s daughter. Beginning at the bottom is a lauhala (pandanus weave) pattern signifying family. Moving upward is her name which turns into the bottom of a star that becomes the bottom of a maka nui or all seeing eye. Underneath that is a papa honu or turtle shell inset with FS spots. To the rear of the shell is a wind since this persons hails from Kohala. The maka nui is adorned with niho mano for strength. There is also more lauhala at the front of the eye.

2.75 hours

Dragonfly, Rotary Works

One (ink)


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!