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Traditional Hawaiian Tattooing: Artists

Selected annotated bibliography on traditional Hawaiian tattooing.

21st Century Practitioners

Allen, Tricia. The Polynesian Tattoo Today. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 2010.
UHM Call Number:
PAC GN 419.3 .A45 2010
285 pages. This book serves as a pictorial guide to contemporary Polynesian tattooing with just three sections: "The Art," "Featured Artists," and "Artists' Contacts." It is a resource for people studying tattoo designs or trying to locate a practitioner in a particular style.

Allen, Tricia. Website "The Polynesian Tattoo" (accessed May 4, 2012).

Contact information for Polynesian tattoo scholar and practitioner with links to resources.

Asato, Lisa. "Tribal Tattoos." Midweek, July 29, 2005. (accessed April 23, 2012).

Mentions several Polynesian tattoo practitioners including: Keone Nunes, Sua, and Tricia Allen. Discusses a blending of "pan-Polynesian" style.

Belshe, Mirella. "The Most Subtle of Hawaiian Arts." Hawaii Observer, March 19, 1973.
UHM Call Number: JK 9301 .H376
16 page edition. Praises Hawaiian tattooing as an art form. Interesting information and points made by author, but not
substantiated by sources.

Burlingame, Burl. "Tattoos: Links to Hawaii's Past." Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 26, 1997. (accessed May 4, 2012).
Feature article on P. F. Kwiatkowski, author of the Hawaiian Tattoo.

History Channel "Ancient Ink." New York: A&E Television Networks [Distributed by New Video], 2010.
UHM Call Number:
DVD 7751

94 minutes. History of tattooing with contemporary work.
Hawaiʻi segment features tatau work by Suluape Aisea Toetuu.

Krutak, Lars. "Embodied Symbols of the South Seas: Tattoo in Polynesia." 2010. (accessed March 30, 2017)
Online article covering tattoo traditions in Polynesia. Section on Hawaiian tattooing with comparison to other Polynesian traditional tattoos. Includes citations.

Kua ʻaina Associates Inc. "Emerging Indigenous Voices: A New Generation of Artists." Kua ʻaina Associates.
(accessed April 16, 2012)
Brief biography of traditional Hawaiian tattoo practitioner Keone Nunes.

"Miami Ink: Hawaii". Original Media, LLC. Silver Spring, MD: Discovery Communications, 2006.
UHM Call Number:DVD 5381
60 minutes. Two television hosts visit
Oʻahu to showcase Hawaiian tattooing. Interviews and video of tattoo artist Keone Nunes applying tattoos using traditional materials and techniques. Nunes provides insight to his design process.

Nā Manu o Ke Ao. "Keone Nunes." Producer, Kalani Akana; director, Alfred ʻEkau, Jr. Telecast on Feb. 19, 1997.
UHM Call Number: Streaming Video

46 minutes. Features master "kākau uhi" or traditional Hawaiian tattooing artist Keone Nunes. Talks about proper selection of a tattoo.

Nichols, Katherine. "Tattoos that Tell Stories." Honolulu Advertiser, August 5, 2001. (accessed May 4, 2012)

Article featuring traditional Hawaiian tattoo artist Keone Nunes and producers
Emiko Omori and Lisa Altieri of the PBS special: "Skin Stories."

PBS. "Skin Stories: Every Tattoo Tells a Story." Pacific Islanders in Communications and KPBS-TV San Diego; producers, Emiko Omori and Lisa Altieri; director, Emiko Omori. Honolulu: Pacific Islanders in Communications [distributor], 2003.
UHM Call Number: VIDEOTAPE 21013 VHS or streaming online through
60 min. Examination of traditional tattoo design and cultural significance in Samoa, New Zealand and Hawai'i. The Hawai'i segment features cultural practictioner Keone Nunes and his apprentice Vaughn Victor plus interviews with individuals Frank Hewett and Kyle Nakanelua discussing their tattoo designs.

Whitten, Kevin. "Keone Nunes." Honolulu Weekly, July 25, 2007. (accessed May 4, 2012).
Short biography of Keone Nunes with interview.

Wianecki, Shannon. "Marked: Revealing One's Inner Self by Covering One's Skin." Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, July-August, 2011. (accessed May 4, 2012).
Article on Samson Harp and Keone Nunes. Discusses development of both artists.