Posted by: mikeyfreedom | October 30, 2007

Getting a tattoo design?

Getting a tattoo design?

polynesian tattooing

Samoan tatau. Photography by Michael Lothian. 2007. Copyright.

Often i get emails asking whether i am going to upload a gallery of tattoo sketches and designs on my site? The answer is plainly “no!” , “I am not !”

The reasons for this are quite simple, I do not do flash work and so my designs are done upon request and therefore are done in consultation with the individual client, one work per person and hence not to be repeated!


I have heard of some really disappointing stories of people that will do anything for money.

A friend of mine used to show his work on the net and had done a nice Polynesian piece on a client, he some time later had that same client come back and complain that he had met a person with that same identical piece, accusing him of using the same design!

Of course he had not, though some tattooist had ripped off his work and fraudulently passed it off as his own and tattooed it!!!!!!! – this is nothing more then theft!

Whilst both designs were the same, only one was an original, the other a copy!

I feel more for the person that had the copy, then the dude who had the original, for the dude with the copy wasn’t wearing a personal piece, but was tainted by as a result of a uncreative plagiarist!

So based on this and the fact that some one requests a tattoo design from me that is to be personal and a one off – i thus want to take every opportunity to respect that request and protect that design from being misused. Once the design is paid for, the client is free to post, print, copy , share, change etc, but that is their decision to make and not mine and so you will not see clients work here!

I hope you understand my reasoning in all of this? 🙂

Remembering that tattoos are primarily cultural and therefore are subject to cultural norms, order and matters pertaining to requiring, receiving and understanding tattooing, thus motivation is central. Because such is evident in the process of acquiring a tattoo, thus it is something that must be done with thought and honesty in the hands of credible tattooists and artists.

Making sure that what you wear is indeed truly yours! 🙂

If you are interested in having a design made, please go HERE and fill out the tattoo design request form.

*If you have further questions on particular Polynesian styles of tattoo design, i will do my best to answer your questions or to point you in the right direction!


Below is a clip of George Nuku receiving a Moko, listen to his understanding of the process of receiving his Moko and understand the cultural and personal nature of receiving a tattoo – that understanding and awareness are synonymous with the experience!



  1. I’ve always been facinated with Polynesian Tattoos, mostly with the fact that every fine line has purpose and meaning. I was born and raised in central California, and still reside in this area. I’ve been happily and unhappily married for 20 years, have a 20 year old son, and a 17 year old daughter getting ready to go to college. Family means everything to me. I have almost got a tattoo on several occassions and have bailed on the idea because I knew I would regret it. If I could get a tattoo that told a story about who, and what I am, I know I would wake up the next morning proud. I would appreciate your help

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