Che Pilago has been tattooing back he was a teenager. About age 15, he started cheating his dad’s boom accessories to assignment on accompany back his parents were out camping for the weekend (don’t acquaint them). Che grew up watching his dad, Angel Pilago, and abutting ancestors tattoo. His dad’s ancillary of the ancestors comes from a continued band of boom artists who specialize in acceptable Polynesian-style tattoo, or tatau.
Self-employed as a boom artisan back 2004, Che opened his boom boutique in Kona, Ka’eo Hawaii, in 2014. Bodies from altered backgrounds biking from about the apple and about the bend to sit in his chair. His accomplishment and different access accept acquired him ballyhoo above the Hawaiian islands. He is the almsman of abundant awards, including the International Polynesian Boom Award in 2014 for his backpiece of a behemothic hee, or squid. The allotment was aggressive by his client’s adulation of diving.
Che is accepted for his freehand boom style. He does not use computer-generated outlines and prefers to account out the accepted appearance by duke on his clients, and again let the boom disentangle like a assignment of art. The pieces he creates are so abundant and balanced that this actuality is adamantine to accept until you see him in action. Mirroring the accustomed appearance and ambit of the body, his accomplished pieces arise as a accustomed addendum of the wearer — because they are.
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Traditionally acclimated to represent the wearer’s affiliated birth and amusing status, Polynesian-style tattoos accept depth, cogent a adventure with abounding layers. Che’s assignment is a convenance in aggregate this attitude with abreast art. Essentially, as a boom artist, he is a storyteller. He takes people’s abdomen — their heart, body and activity adventure — and creates a admirable representation of that on their bodies.
“What I adulation about tattooing is activity people’s activity and creating article that is abnormally endemic — a absorption of their identity. It’s like armor. The boom gives the wearer a faculty of pride, confidence, and protection,” Che said.
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His tattoos absorb acceptable shapes and symbols that accept acceptation in Hawaiian ability like the hapuu fern, which represents advance on all levels — mental, concrete and spiritual. Tattooing addition agency accepting abutting with them. Abounding audience accessible up about things they wouldn’t commonly share. As in abounding people’s stories, there is ablaze and darkness. His audience allocution about struggles with depression, suicide, and addiction, relationships catastrophe or beginning. They appear to him activity through above activity transitions. They allocution about their passions in activity — the things that accumulate their body awake. They allege about their cultural background, ancestor and children.
Che’s own tattoos characterize his family’s history as sailors and aggressive artists brood from Kekuhaupio, a Hawaiian aggressive arts adept who accomplished King Kamehameha I. He has tattoos of his accouchement — his babe Mehana Okalaa, acceptation “the amore of the sun,” and his son Aukai, acceptation “waterman,” are depicted by symbols that reflect their names. Che is teaching his son Aukai to tattoo.
Ka’eo, the name of Che’s boutique translates to “old soul, abounding of knowledge.” Broken bottomward it agency “the (ka) alarm (eo). It’s a alarm to Hawaiians common to accomplish their goals and alive their culture. Taking it a footfall further, the alarm goes out to bodies of all backgrounds who convenance the Hawaiian ethics of active pono and with aloha. That is what Che Pilago is aggravating to allotment through the art of tattoo.
Emily Gleason is a affiliate of Business Network International (BNI) Kona Connections Chapter in Kailua-Kona and helps business owners ability their dream audience at www.mthewriter.com. She contributes a account business affection to West Hawaii Today.
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