Creating logos and branding for individuals or businesses using traditional tribal artwork and emblems allows the addition of meaning into the design. If, for example, your company promotes organic or green products, using emblems that stand for life and purity can only serve to add more depth to the marketing. Additionally, behind the marketing, lies a real talking point when people ask what your logo/emblem means or why you chose it!
Using elements from worldwide cultural body-art and tattooing, as well as other creative arts such as historical examples of weaving, stone sculpture and wood carving, a wealth of patternwork can be drawn upon to create beautiful designs with meaning. It is well known that Polynesian tattoo designs carry deep meaning for the wearer, but often less known are the meanings behind delicate Mehndi creations, the many elements that form the weaving world of the Berber, the carvings of the Greeks and Aztecs, the holistic Viking and Celtic belief systems, the glyphic writings of the Egyptians, and many more. Each of these cultures used patterns and simple pictures to depict thoughts, ideals and spirituality; and all those can be used to create one-off custom pieces of work for clients.
For every commission, I draw from a heavily researched knowledge base to ensure the accuracy of the designs.
From marks of conquest to marks of love, from heritage to spiritual belief, from medicine to art, from paint to tattoo, the artistic adornment of the body has been a part of human life for many thousands of years; falling in and out of popularity to varying degrees, dependant upon the social acceptance of each era.
In Polynesia, and Oceania as a whole, the tattoo is a representation of heritage, status, spirituality and life, and has been a constant presence throughout their known history. In Europe we have found spotted evidence of tattooing throughout time. Ice-mummified discoveries such as the Siberian Ukok Princess (5000BC) with her many colourful animal based tattoos; and the Ötztal Alps Iceman, Ötzi (3300BC), whose skin’s 61 tattooed lines are speculated to be markers of an acupuncture type of pain relief; through to the written records of UK royalty, King Edward VII (1841-1910), son of Queen Victoria, who ‘sported many a fine tattoo’, show us that tattooing has been a part of our story for thousands of years.
In Egypt, the oldest tattoo found so far is on the mummy of Amunet, a priestess of the Goddess Hathor, dating back to 2160-1994 BC; whilst in other parts of North Africa, tribal tattooing has survived in small pockets of Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and more, despite the strict aspects of some faiths decrying the marking the body as unholy. For Sub-Saharan African tribal peoples, body paint, tattoo, and scarification have been and still are used by many, echoing the continuous traditions seen in Polynesia and extended Oceania. Add to these the Sak Yant of Thailand, the Kalinga (Batok) of the Phillippines and the tattooing that was a part of the Aztec peoples’ life stages and rituals, and we begin to understand that this form of art and expression has been a constant companion.
One of the things that brings all these different cultures together is the thread of similarity in the elements used for design. Many markers, ‘translated’ into the symbolic lines, dots and curves of tribal tattoo, were taken directly from nature & their everyday surroundings, and we can often see the same representations shining through time and time again across the world. Inspiration came not only in the form of the sun & moon, plants, animals, weapons, warriors, ancestors, and the tools of living, but also of deities and spirituality; and there is no better place to see this than in their art.
Despite the ever present stigma associated with tattoos, it is still a fact that no matter your race, status, gender or beliefs body art has been used across all walks of life, across the whole world, for storytelling, recognition, medicine and art throughout the human story.
Please note: Sak Yant tattoo designs should only be undertaken by a Ruesi, Wicha, or Buddhist monk, at a Buddhist temple. This is because the designs are chanted over whilst being tattooed in the belief that it brings the wearer sacred magic associated with healing, strength, good luck, and protection against evil.