Posts Tagged ‘xisle custom tattoo’

I did this chest piece a few months back and have been so busy lately that I’m finally getting around to posting the breakdown. He wanted to incorporate the old tattoo (I did not do) into the new piece. When he comes back I will fix the color in it. Anyway, this chest plate is meant to signify his love for his birthplace as well as to commemorate his new journey in life, moving forward. I really enjoy how this all came together and can’t wait to give it another pass when he comes home to visit.

Here is the breakdown:

a) Lau niu (coconut fronds)= this is used to signify noble intentions, peace and to also indicate that he is ‘of’ the land (aina)

b) Niho (tooth)= this symbol represents himself and it is pointing at the area on the Big Island where he lives

c) Koru (unfurling fern head)=  this is to symbolize life and growth; the back side of this image also points toward the area of the island that he lived

d) Mata (eye)= this is meant to protect as it watches over him

e) Lei niho (garland of teeth)= 8 teeth symbolize the state, one for each island in the chain

f) Kofati (crease)= this textile inspired image symbolizes unity, family and connectedness to the land

g) Koru (unfurling fern head)=  this is to symbolize life and growth

h) Po’o kohe (bamboo section)= this symbolizes the plant; resilient, strong and abundant. It also drives away evil spirits

i) Lau hala (pandanus weave)= this textile pattern represents family and island roots

j) Pakiei (crab)= this symbol is often misread as a cross or star, but it is intact a crab analog. This symbol represents his astrological sign but it also represents change, love and rebirth

k) Kai (ocean)= this represents the ocean as this element is important to him. There are 5 waves (nalu) keeping numerical consistency with the Fibonacci sequence

l) Ipu (bowl)= this symbol is a container for mana, or spiritual energy and is placed on the shoulder

m) Mano (bird)= this paka which also contains “p” and “r” symbolizes his new journey moving forward

n) Lau niu (coconut fronds)= this is used to signify noble intentions, peace and to also indicate that he is ‘of’ the land (aina)

o) Ka’ake (upraised arms)= these two arms, essentially opposing one another, symbolizes strength and the warrior spirit

p) Hui niho (teeth union)= this is to fortify the journey that he is on and connects his past with his future

q) Ihe (spear)= this analog is of the weapon and symbolizes a warrior spirit

r) Miti vao (bird foot prints)= the entirety of “m” “p” and “r” signify his current path; his journey. “R” would be the past that he is leaving behind as he moves forward into the future

s) Hena (hand)= this hand analog holds the tattoo fast to the body

t) Lau hala (pandanus weave)= this modified textile pattern represents family and island roots

Thank you for looking!



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!


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

Did this tiger shark yesterday! It was his first tattoo and he took it well. Will eventually add some Polynesian work around it. Peace!10885072_10205639929819221_449174031415791468_n

Just thought I’d post some recent ramblings done while it was slow last week at the shop. There are two gold foil etchings; one is of a T-Rex and the other is Lauren Bacall. Then I did a portrait of Pablo Picasso on practice skin. Enjoy!934806_10204701976490974_5272912691030347199_n 10484540_10204692932664884_8997687717207543193_n 10639462_10204729265133173_1376344372978685127_n

I’ve been so busy lately! Just got back from the Pacific Ink and Art Expo on Oahu, which was a total blast. Got to do some work and hang out with my homie, King Ruck.
Looking forward to possibly doing one more show for the year (New Orleans), will keep posted.
At any rate, here are some pictures of recent work.


10524601_10204594379921127_7668034766101634459_nTrash Polka

10552378_10204552967125833_1709935038410876099_nPlumeria cascade at PIAE

10561685_10204570347040320_3543704008722668907_nTrash Polka cover-up, PIAE

photoHawaiian god of creation, Kane, Ana’ole style

eryn judy

Did these two pieces yesterday on a pair of wonderful ladies from Canada that came to the islands to compete in the Queen Lili’oukalani canoe race. Despite their boat being cut off at the start of the race and capsizing, they still managed to win in their category!
They contacted me several months ago and said that they wanted to get some work done after the race. Both ladies wanted to celebrate their love of the sea and the fact that they were kupuna (older folks, generally from a grandparents generation), among other things.
I was asked to create a Maori themed piece for the forearm and so designed it around the mango pare, which celebrates the hammerhead shark by repetitions of koru (fern head). I also included a paka designed in Ana’ole that conveyed the motif, pohaku wa wahi wa’a, which is a stone axe-like weapon used by ancient Hawaiian’s to surreptitiously smash the hulls of enemy canoes.
The ankle/calf piece was more of a celebration of this person’s love of the sea and is also an homage to her late husband.
I had a great time with these ladies and look forward to seeing them again.

The breakdown for each tattoo is as follows:


Forearm- Maori based

a)- pohaku wa wahi wa’a, inset with 2 niho for courage and protection
b)- nalu, wave
c)- hope vehine variant, protection
d)- this is a modified Maori motif called, unaunahi that are meant to represent fish scales. i replaced the scales with triangular objects, 8 in all, representing each of the Hawaiian islands.
e)- kai, the ocean
f)- mangopare, 4 hammerhead sharks in all
g)- this is a modified Marquesan motif, kofati, which is a fold or crease symbolizing a mark of authority

Ankle/calf- Marquesan based

a)- kai, 3 waves (nalu) done in Fibonacci sequence
b)- mata, eye, to watch out for danger
c)- hikuhiku atu, bonito tails, for speed and strength while in the water
d)- hulu/toake, feather, this is a personal symbol representing her late husband
e)- i’ima, hand, holding fast this paka to the skin
f)- anuenue, rainbow
g)- ani ata, the horizon, the sky, heaven, where ancestors dwell
h)- hope vehine variant, protection-

eryn_bd judy_bd

This calf piece commemorates this person’s marriage and children.It is done in modern Marquesan, Maori and Ana’ole style. There are four distinct pakas, each one a singular representation of each child with the final paka being a combination or union of the two parents.
From left to right, the tattoo breakdown is as follows:
Outside of calf, from ankle upwards-
a) hope vehine- turtle shell, twin goddess analog: protection for entire piece
b) ani ata- sky/heavens: a place where angels dwell, line of ancestors
c) koru- fern head: life, breath, cycle of life
d) tiki of child: image of respective child, in this case Kahanuola, or breath of life. Both male tiki share identical facial features which are comprised of nutu kaha (mouth), nose (ihu), eyes (mata) and eyebrows (kape). Each face also contain hope vehine, and various koru both singularly and in pairs. The eyebrows contain the motif, unaunahi representing fish scales.
e) 3 niho mano- shark teeth: warrior spirit (in Fibonacci sequence)
f) ama kopeka- fire: the element in this child’s zodiac sign
g) po’o kohe/ka’ake/koru- I changed the base and top of the ka’ake to represent an etua (godling) stretching upwards. I then placed twin koru at its center to represent this child’s particular name, breath of life. The overall shape is that of po’o kohe, or bamboo shoot, the purpose of which is to drive away evil spirits.
h) koru- fern head: everlasting life.
Front of calf and knee-
a) twin koru- fern head: both koru split and form two separate offshoots while simultaneously uniting both inside and outside paka.
b) pahiko a tuivi- fish net: to catch sin
c) poi’i inset into pepehipu flanked by hope vehine: the central element of this paka represents the female child, her Hawaiian name, Hokulanimaimakanapoinaole, or heavenly star (more or less). The poi’i is a symbol meaning, the universe or ‘the great fish in the sky’. It also correlates to creation. The black field surrounding the circular poi’i is called, pepehipu and represents armor. On either side are hope vehine elements affording protection. The overall shape of the pepehipu is very roughly the shape of ama kopeka, or fire, representing this child’s zodiac element.
Inside of calf, from ankle upwards-
a) enana, male and female: this is the human representation of father and mother, the father being the larger of the two, the mother is standing on his arm. Both are propping up their children, or holding them up to heaven (ani ata directly above).
b) tiki is the same as the opposite side, differentiated only by the sub-motif placed above and to the right of the eye.
c) po’o kohe/hoku: like ‘g’ mentioned above, this motif is comprised of multiple elements. The shape is that of an etua inset with twin stars (twin anything is a good omen) that represent this child’s Hawaiian name, Makanamaikalani, or gift from heaven/ heavenly gift.
d) makani-wind: this is the element of this male child’s zodiac sign.
Backside of calf, from ankle upwards-
a) koru- twin convergin koru come together and create their children. Bottom koru represents the father, top represents mother and is also inset toward the top with hope vehine.
This is just one facet of this person’s story which will be further elaborated on in the form of a full sleeve that is in the process of being designed.
Aloha! R



Just thought I would post yesterday’s work and give a status report on the book.
Ana’ole honu with Pele on its shell, done with some Marquesan kofati on flipper edges. This piece was for a lady that had been living here for some time but is now moving to the mainland for a job opportunity. She wanted something to remind her of the Big Island and so this was what I came up with. I wanted Pele to look organic, like she was a patina on the turtle’s shell.
As of now, I have 20+ odd pages of the book left to write/process/produce that I hope to have finished in the next few days. After that is done, I will finish my bibliography, toc and thank you’s and then edit! Woot! On time for July release. Aloha!lynnhonupele

This 3 session side piece is done in Ana’ole style with Marquesan motifs. I wanted to create something that recalled the sense of watching lava pouring forth from the earth and chose the appropriate color palette. I also did not want to clutter the piece with multitudes of intricate sub-motifs because I didn’t want to detract from the over-all organic feel.

Here is the breakdown of the motifs I did use:

a) Reflecting etua. These twin etua (godlings) are at the beginning and ending of the flow of lava that is pouring from Pele’s mouth. Their purpose is to hold up and fortify the lava flow, adding divine power to this already divine act.

b) Mata hoata. All-seeing eye is set between twin etua to watch out for danger and protect the wearer.

c) Pele. Depicted here in a feminine guise, Pele consists of several motifs that complete her overall look. Her hair is a combination of papua, or garden sections (the half circle elements) because I wanted to keep it simple yet still have the option to add shading and color. Papua motifs are generally used to fill space and can be in any shape as long as the shape is somehow enclosed. At the top/center of her head are the Marquesan motifs for fire, or ahi (Hawaiian). By combining papua and fire and by coloring some elements and simply shading other’s, I wanted to convey the sense of smoke, flame and ash.
Inset onto Pele’s face is the warrior motif, koko ata.

d) Hope vehine. This is a highly stylized rendition of the hope vehine motif, the twin goddesses of tattoo and kea/ turtle shell combination. This is to protect the wearer.

e) Niho. Teeth motif is to protect the tattoo over all as well as acting as a design element to break from the flow of the upper line.

f) Aniata. This is the sky and or horizon motif used in most Polynesian tattoo. This is simply a stylistic placement used to convey space in this particular piece. Space as in distance not as in outer.