Hawaii Tattoo History

At 434 Tattoo, our Waikiki tattoo Shop, we like to share our love of tattoos in as many ways possible.  Part of that involves seeing where the art of tattooing originated from, learning more about tattoo culture ourselves, and sharing some of the background info about that.

The Hawaiian people and their Polynesian cousins (i.e. the Samoans, the Tongans) brought many of their traditional, cultural customs that included weapon-making, artwork, and tattooing to the Hawaiian Islands many years ago.

The term for their version of custom tattooing was kakau.  The purpose encompassed not only body modification, but served to recognize different members of the culture and their social station, and it also was for good luck and protection for health issues and spiritual well-being.

Check out what we found on PBS:

“Intricate patterns, mimicking woven reeds or other natural forms, graced men’s arms, legs, torso and face. Women were generally tattooed on the hand, fingers, wrists and sometimes on their tongue.

The designs were applied by specially trained kahuna, experts in one or more critical tasks, who applied pigment to the skin with a needle made from bone, tied to a stick and struck by a mallet. Traditional designs varied widely, according to available records, but many memorialized fallen chiefs, leaders or family members. The process was guarded with great secrecy and all implements were destroyed after use, according to the dictates of kapu.”

And here’s a post that we did earlier this year about Polynesian Face tattoos.  Pretty neat when you think about it because at the root, there are many similarities to the history of Asian Tattooing and other styles of tattoo art.

Until next blog…

Have a Happy New Year in Hawaii, wherever you are in the world! And be sure to stop by our Honolulu tattoo parlor for all your custom tattoo needs the next time you’re in Waikiki!

Adam Siehr, President and Proud Owner
434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto: adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

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Hawaii Tattoo History: A Little Somethin’ Something About Sailor Jerry

“My works speaks for itself.” Sailor Jerry

At our Christmas party last week, we had a documentary playing in the background of one of tattoo’s legends…  No, not Tattoo Adam, who tattooed Mike Tyson, and has been in the game for almost twenty years.  Good guess since Tattoo Adam is the owner and founder of Honolulu tattoo studio, 434 Tattoo.

This blog takes a peak at Sailor Jerry, who sailed the Pacific and ended up settling in Hawaii.  The OG of Tattooists, Sailor Jerry had his own Oahu Tattoo shop, located on Smith Street.  Here’s another piece of Tattoo history and nostalgia that you may or may not know.

Sailor Jerry, who’s Tattoo Flash is popular to this day and a must in almost every shop, real name was Norm Collins.  He is actually buried in the Punchbowl Cemetary, a monument to Veterans here on the island of Oahu.  So next time you’re visiting our Waikiki Tattoo shop or the islands, you might want to pop over and pay respects to the the man who influenced a huge amount of tattooing today.

The clip above advertises the Sailor Jerry documentary we caught during the Christmas Party and we just wanted to share our love for a fellow Hawaii Tattoo artist, a Legend, and an inspiration to many of our tattooists and tattoo lovers.

And in case you can’t get enough of Tattoo Adam, we’re working on putting a documentary of him together (check out our Tattoo Videos).  Or you can also come down and hook up your own free consultation for a custom tattoo in Hawaii with him.

434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto:adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

Hawaii Tattoo: 434 Tattoo, A Year in Review

Another year is winding down at our Waikiki tattoo parlour, 434 Tattoo, and while Lil Wayne or Wiz Khalifa skipped out at our offers to tattoo them, we still had a monumental year since starting this humble online publication but a blink of a year ago (flashback to our first ever post).

In January, we got off to a famous start as Marko inked Grammy Award winning Rap Superstar T-Pain!  T-Pain got the real pain and Marko sketched and did a small piece for him while he was on the island.  And T-, if you want some more pain, Marko’s got you on the Tattoo removal:

Just joking and onto February, Tattoo Adam inked this custom lion tattoo, a sequel to the first piece you’ll see soon enough:

As the Ides of March rolled in, we remembered the Waikiki Tattoo shop, Hart and Huntington, who saw their doors closed.  We wonder who was surprised by the short tenure of the corporate tattoo shop?  In Hawaii, where our Oahu tattoo parlor is located, they say that the rain is a blessing, while April showered, we were showered with a visit from tattooist, Ariano Delano.

May was a big month for us.  Tattoo Adam took off on an adventure in the Philippines, and JMAW, joined the 434 Tattoo Ohana as Blogger/Content Editor.  Here’s his first piece with us:

Oh, wait, meant to put his first written piece, that’s the first custom tattoo he ever had from Tattoo Adam.  June saw our team member, tattoo artist Andy Burley get married by Minister Adam (he wears many hats) and our shop g0t featured in the new island publication, 808 Ink Magazine.  They might have some typos but you can’t mistake the custom ink coutesy of Tattoo Adam.

In July, we had a few laughs courtesy of a cheerleader with some attitude, and were visited by another celebrity as fashion and jewelry designer of Rock’n’Roll Couture, Amal Guessous, stopped by.

August came on down and we explored the world of facial tattoos, polynesian tattoo style and in September, the fun didn’t stop as we started to take you behind the scenes with our Tattoo videos.  Adam and Marko took ‘Center Stage’ and were featured in an Art Show.  We even did a public service announcement about tattoos.

As we entered Fall, October saw us drop a little 411 about the history of the tattoo laws in Hawaii, and we also held our first ever Military Appreciation Month in November.  November was a huge month in general as Hawaii was the site of APEC 2011 and our deals didn’t stop as we offered more appreciation deals to the agencies to come in and get some ink done. What else you ask? Well, Adam and Arlita’s son, Andrew celebrated his first birthday!!!  And we broke into the Google Top Ten in a category which eluded us for some time.  That Google…

Marko even cut a commercial for us!

And that pretty much brings you up to date to December.  It’s been a crazy year and from our crazy (in a good way) crew to yours, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.  We’re looking forward to putting a piece of beauty on you soon.

434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto:adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

Asian Tattoo Videos: The Criterion Collection

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to sit with Tattoo Adam and hear the impact Asian Tattoos have had in his own journey through life, the Tattoo industry, and ending up in Hawaii.

Here we bring to you another video to add to what they call in the land of “DVDuh” (Zoolander) and Blue Ray as The Criterion Collection.  In this video, Tattoo Adam answers a few more questions about Asian custom tattoos and gets down a little bit more about the meaning of Yakuza tattoos.

We hoped you enjoyed this tattooed delight of a video!

And we know you’ll enjoy your tattoo session with us, 434 Tattoo.  Our Honolulu award winning tattoo shop is open seven days a week from 10a to 10p by appointment and walk-ins are always welcome.  Your consultation at our Waikiki Tattoo studio is free and we are more than happy to help you in creating the best custom tattoo experience possible!

Adam Siehr, President and Proud Owner
434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto: adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

And just like the X-Men films, DVD’s, and Blue Ray discs, we have a little something for you after the ‘credits’ as selected by Tattoo Adam.  Happy Holidays!

 

Hawaii Tattoo Tales: Gypsy Hustlin’

“You want a story. I have a story about some gypsies.”  Tattoo Adam.

“One story, oh man, which one, there’s so many…”  Andy Burley, Hawaii Tattooist.

Design by Andy Burley

“We have a shop rule for gypsies.  Sailor Jerry flash piece.  $470.”  Tattoo Adam

There have been tales throughout all time of the gypsies, the traveling groups in their caravans back in the day, and now living in groups in cities all over the world, even here in Hawaii.  And long have been gypsies been known for their hustle.  They have even come in to ‘barter’ with our friendly neighborhood Waikiki tattoo Shop.

“Oh man, this one time.” Andy begins, “A gypsy came in and asked if I had time to do one tattoo.  I said yeah.  Then asked if I could do two.  I said yeah.  It was 8:00p (we close at 10:00p).  He says, okay, I’ll be right back.  He comes back ten minutes later with a huge group of people. I was here until 2:00a in the morning because they all wanted two tattoos!”

While we like the business, the mincing of words is what throws us for a loop…

Basically, they come in and tell you from the beginning that they are going to swindle you. And while they’re getting the first custom tattoo, they’re talking you down to the bottom of the barrel in prices on the second one.” Tattoo Adam.

Some common gypsy tattoos are the playboy bunny, K-Boys or K-Girls, and some other flash pieces.  They’re nice enough people but they sure know how to, I guess you could say ‘bargain’…

We’re more than willing to work with people and their budgets, we even give free consultations, and our goal is give the best service out there.  At times that can be hard if the customer doesn’t want to work with us and at the end of the day, it’s a business too.

Well, there you have another tale from our ‘vault’ of experience.  Take care, happy holidays, and come on down to our Oahu tattoo location, share a custom tattoo experience, a laugh, or maybe your own gypsy story.  We’re all ears, who knows, there’s so many stories, we all might be talking until 2:00a in the morning!

Adam Siehr, President and Proud Owner
434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto: adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

434 Tattoo X-Mas Party!

Our Oahu tattoo parlor in Waikiki, 434 Tattoo, recently celebrated it’s Christmas Party and we wanted to take the time to wish you all a Happy Holidays and give you a big mahalo!

As pictured above, you can see there was food, festivities, gifts, and fun, a true party tattoo shop style.  We even invited the Green Fairy:

From our 434 Ohana to yours:

Mele Kalikimaka!

Adam Siehr, President and Proud Owner
434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto: adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

Hawaii Tattoo: Story Time w/ Tattoo Adam

Here we sit in with Oahu tattoo artist and tattoo guru, Adam Siehr, as he works on a custom tattoo for the video shooter and writer of this honorable and humble (;) online publication chronicling the happenings at Hawaii’s multiple award-wining best tattoo parlor, 434 Tattoo.

Not only is it a story from the history of the man, it gets a little personal, begins in Las Vegas, where he tattooed this guy:

Yup, that guy.. and that guy is none other than Hangover movie star and Boxing Legend Mike Tyson.  Tattoo Adam inked the former boxing Kingpin’s forearm with a custom tiger tattoo.  Little did the world know “Iron Mike” would take a bite outta the crime of low blows in boxing (and Evander’s Holyfield’s ear) a short time later.  Note: Tattoos do not lead people to bite others.

So check out this awesome tale.  It’s not as zany as our Tales from the Tattoo Parlor but it has a surprise happy Hawaiian Tattoo ending!

The musical composition aka ‘the soundtrack’ to this is set to the lovely tattoo machine.

[Editor’s Note: Funny how you can watch yourself get tattooed as it goes down, but for some reason the video of it, not so much for me.  But I hope you enjoy it, even if it makes me cringe.]

JMAW

Adam Siehr, President and Proud Owner
434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto: adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287