Results tagged “Ta Moko”

10:04 PM

The tattoo community recently lost another legend: Roger Ingerton.

While it's always sad to write these posts, they are important to honor the men and women who shaped our industry. I learned of Roger's passing from tattooer, anthropologist and author of numerous books on Polynesian tattooing, Tricia Allen. In a memorial post on her Facebook pages, Tricia captures Roger's tattoo legacy:

Roger incorporated Polynesian legend and myth, blending it with traditional (and sometimes contemporary) motifs to create the most impressive Maori/Polynesian-inspired art decades ago, well before the revival got started. In fact, Roger truly kick-started the Maori tattoo renaissance doing moko kauae [chin tattoo] on Maori women back in the 1980s and creating these spectacular renditions of Maori legend. Besides being so creative, he was kind-hearted.
Roger's work (and kind personality) are featured in this 2007 video profile we did for my old site (embedded above). In it, Roger discusses his beginnings in tattooing, from learning to hand-poke at age 16, to the great influences in his life, such as tattoo master Paulo Sulu'ape, who is honored for his work in the traditional Samoan tattoo revival. You can read more about Roger's journey, in his own words, on this Yellowman blog post.

Roger's own adaptation of traditional Maori patterns was innovative and inspiring, and tributes across social media attest to how open and giving he was in sharing his art and knowledge. He will be missed.
08:06 AM
Onna yu ("Bathhouse Women") by Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815) via Wikipedia.

Last week, a bunch of new outlets worldwide picked up the story that a bathhouse in Hokkaido, Japan refused entry to a Maori woman because of her Moko. As notes, the woman, Erana Te Haeata Brewerton, was in Japan to attend an indigenous language conference, "staying with a group of Ainu people indigenous to Japan whose ancestors wore tattoos similar to the traditional chin tattoo."

The tattoo bans at bathhouses throughout Japan are nothing new and not really news to many in our community -- it's almost become a joke to pack a long-sleeved wetsuit when traveling to the country if you want to take a soak. The bans are based on the association of tattoos with the Yakuza crime syndicates, and designed to keep the bad guys out. Indeed, Yakuza are heavily tattooed (and often beautifully so). But so are a lot of people who aren't in the Japanese mafia.

The reason this incident is getting media traction is because Japan was just awarded the right to host the 2020 Olympics, which means a lot more tourists, including the tattooed. At the press conference for the Olympics announcement, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated that "it is important to respect the cultures of foreign countries, considering we will host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and expect many visitors ... to come to Japan."

Perhaps, we won't have to pack our wetsuits after all.
01:41 PM
signatures of the soul.jpg
From TAM blog & Occult Vibrations, I learned that the 1984 documentary, "Signatures of the Soul" is now available in full and free on NZ On Screen.

Directed by Geoff Steven and hosted by Peter Fonda, the film explores the history of tattooing as well as its role in contemporary society -- that is, up until 1984. Here's the site's synopsis:

"Shot in NZ, Samoa, Japan and the United States, it traces the history of tattooing from Ancient Egypt through its tribal importance in the Pacific, to a counter culture renaissance that began in the 1960s. Leading practitioners (including superstar Ed Hardy) are interviewed and observed at work, while their clients wince their way towards becoming living canvasses."

Also on NZ Screen are short clips from other tattoo documentaries:  "Tattoo" (2000) and "Ta Moko" (2007).
03:29 PM

In May, I raved about the documentary Travelling Ink, a film that was part of a collection of films made for the Body Arts exhibition at the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford, UK. Now the films, including the one above on Tatau and Ta Moko, are available to download for free as part of Oxford's iTunes University podcasts.

What's particularly cool is that you can enjoy the films without being tied to a computer as the podcasts can be viewed on any device. But if you prefer to stream them online without downloading, you can watch them here.

Travelling Ink was created by anthropologist Cyril Siorat, and directors Dr. Udi Butler and Alan Mandel.
01:03 PM
moo tattooing.jpg
Still wrestling with jet lag since my return to Brooklyn from the Ta Moko Tatau Tattoo convention in Auckland so I'll keep this short and simply direct you to pretty pictures.

Check out Mikey Freedom's Flickr set from the show.

He says he has more to upload including pix of me making painful faces during my foot tattoo session with Jacqueline Spoerle. Probably not my best look.

Have a wonderful weekend y'all. Lots of tattoo goodness scheduled for next week.
05:25 AM
seven year old tattooist.jpg
The Ta Moko Tatau Tattoo Convention came to an end Sunday night (or Monday morn if you count the after-party) and succeeded in its overriding goal: Kotahitanga, the Maori word for unity. It did so by bring Ta Moko practitioners together with Tatau masters (tufunga ta tatau) as well as tattooists from Europe and Australian working in a variety of styles under one roof -- the America's Cup Boat Sheds in Auckland, New Zealand, which also welcomed tattoo collectors from around the world including one very giddy redhead from Brooklyn.

See reasons for the giddiness in photos here from Day 1 & Day 2.

The weekend was a wonderfully overwhelming learning experience for me, meeting so many people for the first time and hearing their stories about their art and culture. I can go on for a hundred blog pages, but let me break it down to the highlights of the convention:

* On Friday the 13th, a welcome ceremony or Powhiri at Orakei Marae took place to kick off the weekend's show. As the convention celebrated the legacy of tufuga Paulo Sulu'ape, murdered ten years ago, a number of participants went to his grave site, led by his brother Sua Sulu'ape Petelo.

pat morrow tattooing.jpg* Saturday, the first official day of the convention, the wonderful S. Mo'o took a break from his hand-tapping tatau and led me by the hand to introduce me to artists I "must meet."

I gotta admit it was a bit intimidating. I spoke to generations of tattoo masters, old school and new school, including Moko practitioners from Mark Kopua to Te Rangitu Netana, and Samoan tufunga from Petelo Sulu'ape to Pat Morrow (who is seen working here).

* Tricia Allen -- tattooist and anthropologist -- helped me with my Polynesian pronunciations and over breakfast, regaled me with stories of her amazing adventures from hitching rides to the islands on whaling vessels to listing the numerous tropical diseases she battled.

Buy her book Tattoo Traditions of Hawaii, the award-winning, definitive book on the subject.

* Sunday highlights are a tie between two most memorable moments for me. The first is watching a beautiful seven-year-old tattoo her father with complete confidence and grace for paparazzi like myself -- see above and Flickr for more photos -- at the Hammerhead tattoo booth. We may have been looking at the next Filip Leu.

* But I had paparazzi of my own as I stood above the crowd on the table of the Corazon Tattoo booth while Jacqueline Spoerle designed, and then tattooed, my tiny elf foot. Jacqueline is an amazing blackwork artist, also featured in my book, with a light hand and great sense of humor. I can't wait to travel to Switzerland for her to do the other, hopefully next year. And yes, foot tattoos hurt. A lot.

As for Sunday's after-party ... a blur.

Now, I'm gonna take my achy paw and rest up before a veeeerrryyy long flight to back to NYC.

Hei kona!
07:27 PM

In a few hours, I will take off for the Ta Moko Tatau Tattoo Convention, which takes place this weekend in Auckland, New Zealand.

Never before have I been so excited to spend 13 hours on a plane. But for good reason: I'll be witnessing the hand-tapped and machine work of Tatau and Blackwork masters from around the world.

In addition to the tattoo booths and vendors, the convention will host  "The Living Art of Pacific Tattoo" exhibition, a collection of documentaries, photographs and moving images celebrating the many faces of Pacific tattoo, curated by Steven Ball. Also showing is a new series of photographs by Helen Mitchell, celebrating the many faces of western tattooing in Aotearoa.

It will be an education to say the very least, but rather than wait, I've been further researching traditional Tatau. In doing so, I found beautiful online videos called Skin Stories, like the one above, created by Multinesia, a multicultural production company with South Pacific roots, based in LA.

Naturally, I'll be taking my usual bad photos and will have a redux of the convention for ya.

Kia Ora!
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