This Months 9 and 9 is with my friend Lucky Olelo. Lucky hails from the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Oahu, a place I am quite fond of and have family ties to. I had the privilege of getting to know Lucky years ago and got to know him even better while traveling through Thailand together. I have a photo of Lucky sticking his hand up to a giant spider we saw in Thailand, I needed a size comparison to how big the spider was, Lucky’s face in the photo is priceless(see below photo). One of the many things I like about Lucky, aside from his all around positive demeanor, is that he is more than just a solid tattooer. Lucky is a well rounded artist in general, working with many medias(even photography) and executing them well. If you’re a Hawaiian Native, or just passing through to enjoy the Islands, stop by and get tattooed from this man, you won’t be let down. If you would like to see more of Lucky’s work check out his IG at @luckyolelo or go visit him at Soul Signature Tattoo.
1. Where did you learn to tattoo? In Hawaii shortly after high school. I was fortunate enough to meet Orly Locquiao, who gave me my first glimpse into the tattoo world. With his help along side Suluape Aisea Toetu’u, Frederick “Po’oino” Yourundi, and Mike Ledger, I apprenticed under “New Tribal Tattoo’ in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
2. There are so many different types of tattoo styles now days. Do you try and specialize in any certain one? I personally don’t think I have a certain style but people seem to be able to pick it out. I was heavily influenced by Polynesian, Japanese and Graffiti style culture and tattoos, so I’m sure some of those aspects show a lot in my pieces. I thinks its great to excel at one style but living in Hawaii and coming from a street shop that did walk-in and custom work did not provide me that type of opportunity, but I’m grateful for what it taught me.
3. Has tattooing gotten over saturated in Hawaii as well? YES! more than you could ever imagine…
4. Did you have to tattoo a lot of tourists when you started out? YES! more than you could ever imagine…
5. If so, how many turtles do you think you’ve done? MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE… haha, But on the real I love turtles, how could you not. We joke about it but imagine living in bum-fu*k no where and coming to Hawaii for the first time and seeing a sea turtle… You’d be stoked too!… So stoked you’d want to put one near your sexy time parts and have to explain the story 10 years later when you’re getting busy with your new boyfriend!
6. With the growing generation of social networking, do you think Instagram is good for tattooing or bad? Or both? A very good question that I’m sure we’ve all talked about amongst friends…
The idea of it is great. I love taking and sharing photos and experiences. Its a great way to share work and ideas and it bridges the gap between people that would normally never have the opportunity to meet or see each others work in person. Personally I think it’s a great tool that I use often for work and advertising events.
There is a huge down side to this monster though…
Nothing is sacred anymore and with the push of a button everyone’s seen everything, knows everything, thinks they’re the best at everything… Artist’s identities revolving around likes, shit talking and BS comments, customers and artist become very impersonal and unprofessional, people stealing each others drawings/styles and or replicating it at a significantly lower quality (we’ve all seen it time and time again on social media) its gotten really bad. I guess its all what you make and take from it right?… I try to keep clear of the BS and just have fun with it though. “Spread the Aloha”
7. I know you travel because we’ve roamed South East Asia together, are there any places you have plans to visit in the near future? I’m just kind of going with the flow but I would love to do Europe and Japan this year. I would also like to do a few conventions this year too if possible. Fingers crossed but I think Soul Signature will be attending the convention in Tahiti, I’ve never been so that would be awesome.
8. Besides tattooing, what’s your favorite media to work with? Watercolor and mixed media usually. Some Aerosol here and there. I recently got an iPad so I’ve been trying to do a bit of digital work (its really hard) but nothing beats good ol’ fashion drawing
9. What projects are you working on at the moment? We are in the process of renovating our shop so thats been a big project. Pow Wow Hawaii is coming up real soon and I will be participating in that. Also plan to throw another annual Skate Deck Art show. With the help of artists and APB, the proceeds go to funding/fixing up local skate parks. Also some of the boys from Soul Signature will be going to back to Tonga & Samoa this year to share not only tattooing but mainly sterilization techniques for the people there. It would be very interesting if I got to tag along this year. There’s probably a lot more that i just can’t think of at the moment.