How did growing up in New Zealand make an impact on you as an artist? I grew up in South Auckland, a part of New Zealand that you could say was rough around the edges. This has made a huge impact on me as an artist, but also kept me humble. Where we came from, people like me didn’t often make it out of the hood and we don’t get featured in magazines, unless you’re topless or holding a rugby ball, so I’m very blessed and honored to have this opportunity. If you want me to be the center fold image topless let me know and I’ll start my diet on Monday!
Growing up, did Maori tattooing play a role in the world around you and do you wear any of these traditional tattoos? I do wear the traditional markings of the Pe’a -— which is the half-body suit or "shorts", as some people like to call it. This is all done with the traditional tools called the “au” or as some people like to call “tap tap” style. It was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever faced physically but I’ll never regret it as it represents my culture, my family and my honor.
What’s your tattoo process from sketch to stencil to skin? It all starts with the client. While I love to do free reign, it starts with a compromise of what’s achievable in the time frame and circumstance. We usually tattoo the next day, at 8:30 to 9:00 am. I set up, prep, print out stencil, size it up and when the client gets in at 10 am, I slap on the stencil, slip on the gloves, slam on some music and get this party started!