As I was planning my trip to visit the islands of Hawaii, I knew I wanted to get a new tattoo. Hawaii was going to be my 50th state. I would finally be complete with the states. I wanted something that was in the local Polynesian style, but also incorporated completion and travel. I searched for a company first, and I was drawn to Maui Tattoo company, specifically an artist named Samantha. First off, I try to get female artists: their touch seems a little softer. Second off, when I visited the webpage, she has a cat as her thumbnail. SOLD!! I shot her an email to start the conversation. I think she was a little surprised that I was reaching out 3 months in advance. But I told her I like to give the artist time to develop the design and idea with me. In the meantime, I was talking with my local Hawaii expert, King Julian. He was telling me about the aumakua. Specifically, how they connected you and your family to nature. I loved it. As time passed, I reached out to discuss the idea more with Samantha. She ended up coming up with the idea of a shark. I loved it. The very next week, I went out on a boat and caught my first shark. It was a sign. The shark was the perfect fit.
Yes, the shark is ferocious and designed to be a perfect killing machine. But as I read more about the lore from the fishermen and how sharks would help them pull in large hauls, I learned about a revered sense of respect these people had for sharks. Then I learned how they are viewed as the ultimate solo traveller. They don’t ever stop moving. The shark was perfect. Samantha added several Polynesian symbols into the shark, and she even put in three ancestral stones to cover my requirement of three.
I wanted this tattoo to be big. I know it is just American states, but I love completing lists and requirements. Finally visiting all 50 states is a big deal to me. I wanted the tattoo to represent that. I also wanted her to always be with me, right on my shoulder, showing me the way and giving me strength to keep pushing forward.
It is difficult for me to pick a favourite of my tattoos, as they all have such deep and real meanings. But I will say that strictly from an artistic standpoint, this is one of the best I have. I will say a couple of notes about this tattoo. First off, sitting for five hours with a freshly broken tailbone is excruciatingly painful. I do not recommend it. Second, I brought my own Saniderm to cover it up afterwards. I strongly recommend this. My recovery was so much cleaner and quicker. Third, the proximity to the nipple and the neck were each pretty miserable.
Thank you Samantha for the amazing artwork.