A Day in the Life of a Tattoo Artist

What’s it like in a tattoo shop?  I know I had the question myself before I ever even got my first tattoo.  It’s where I myself have found great peace and whole lot more authenticity and honesty than anywhere else.  Here’s but a peak into the Life at our custom tattoo studio in Hawaii with…

Adam Siehr.

Tattoo Adam.

Horiyume.  Names all shared by the same entity.  The name was bestowed upon Tattoo Adam by the legendary Japanese tattoo master, Horiyoshi III.

I walk in to see Horiyume Tattoo Adam on a sunny day in Honolulu, Hawaii.  His tattoo studio in Waikiki, 434 Tattoo, is located in a high traffic street just down from the historic Wailana Coffee House, and the area has known its share of infamy.

“Just up a ways is where the Massie incident took place back in the day.”  Reverend Manny shared with me on one trip here.  Reverend Manny, Zach, Peonu,  Meow are just a sampling of the characters I’ve met since being introduced to the 434 Ohana in 2010.

“It’s important to pay homage to those who came before us.” Horiyume shares.  “If you read some about Sailor Jerry, when it was slow he took notes about what he saw going on in the world around him.”

One story he told was one of surprse at how the prostitutes, who worked the streets near his tattoo shop in Honoluu, made more money than the tattoo artists…

“Bro, when it’s slow now, I go outside it’s the same thing!  You see about 4 dudes per hour head over to Empire.”

The new ‘establishment’ that popped up nearby is just one of the many Honolulu relaxation studios or asian massage parlors in Honolulu.

“They’re making like $1000 an hour!”

From the era of Sailor Jerry to that of modern day tattooists like Horiyume, some things never change.

“The prototypical John is your average looking local dude, wearing an Aloha shirt, no tattoos.  Looks like he works at a bank or who knows, maybe it’s a politician?”  Horiyume shares.

“Sounds like that newly elected Governor.” A customer jokes as she waits to get her custom tattoo.

“Politics.” I sigh.  The stories I could tell about my own experience working in local politics for three years with the Hawaii State Legislature.

“There’s politics and rules in tattooing.” Horiyume has shared with me on but a few occasions.

Politics is in every facet of human experience and unavoidable.  The word, the concept, is just another form of tradition that plays itself out in our daily lives no matter where we find ourselves.

Political bullshit aside, men and women from all walks partake in the sex industry.

It is what it is.

And a day in the Life at our Hawaii tattoo shop, voted Honolulu’s Best Custom Tattooing Studio is anything but dull.

434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii

mailto: adamsiehr@gmail.com