Minggu, 10 Juli 2011

I generally do not ask people about tribal designs because they are not particularly interesting to me. That is not to say they are not good, just that thy are not my cup of tea. But occasionally, an exception will come along, and I will be more than pleasantly surprised.

Take Matthew, for example. I spotted him sitting on Penn Plaza early last month, and something about his tribal piece on his left calf intrigued me:

Matthew, who is French, explained:
"I got it in Thailand in Ko Chang, which is an island at the frontier of Cambodia and Thailand ... it was done by a guy named 'Chung' - it was done in the old way of traditional Thai tattoo, which is with bamboo. So, basically, it lasts four hours and ... he put the bamboo in the ink ... between the thumb and the index [finger and] ... just tattooed ... three, four hours, all traditional.

I went there and I already had the symbol in my head. I wanted a little rooster face here (because I'm French, I like the rooster) ... then he first designed it with a pen and we agreed on the drawing ... then he began it and four hours later I had it and I don't regret it."
Then, Matthew totally blew me away when he raised his shirt to show me his other tattoo:

Matthew explained this amazing piece of tattoo craftsmanship:

"It was done in France just a few months ago by a guy who is from Wallis and Futuna, which is islands in French Polynesia l’Océanie polynésienne...  So, it's a symbol of a family, so here you see too little men [at center]:

that's my brother and my sister ... This is the symbol of the god ...

...which represents the man's strength. This is a ... lizard:

which, in the Polynesian culture, is a messenger of God, which looks behind you, in case of any danger."

Matthew also noted that the top section of the tattoo is in the shape of a silver fern, which is symbolic of New Zealand, and Maori tattoo traditions:

He also pointed out the traditional shark's teeth, which is a popular element in traditional Polynesian tattoo:

The Polynesian artist credited by Matthew for this tattoo is Soane Paninia, who works out of Polynesian Cultural in Biarritz, France.

Matthew also told me that "normally, the traditional Polynesian tattoo are much more thicker, but through the Western influence, they now are very thin ... I asked for a thinner one, because I preferred this way."

A very special "merci beaucoup" to Matthew for taking the time to show and explain his tattoos to me. I may have missed an element of two, but nonetheless, both pieces are spectacular in their own ways.

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