TAUPOU TATAU SPECIALISE IN
KUSTOM POLYNESIAN FREESTYLE DESIGNS!
Tuigamala ‘Andy’ Tauafiafi
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Tuigamala Andy Tauafiafi (b. 1977), is a New Zealand-born artist of Samoan descent. In 1999 he gained a Diploma in Visual Arts from Whitireia Polytechnic in Porirua and in 2003 he completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. In 2005 he was encouraged by tattoo artist Steve Ma Ching to take up tattooing professionally. Ma Ching later invited Tauafiafi to work at Western Tattoos in Auckland where he refined his skills over a four year period. In 2011 Tauafiafi opened his own studio, Taupou Tatau, on the corner of Dixon and Victoria Streets in Wellington. The studio comprises of fellow tatau artist Ishmael Jaco ‘J’ Augustine Schmidt, graffiti and tatau artist Bryan ‘Juse One’ Visala and the Killa Kut Krew barber collective. Tauafiafi’s designs frequently incorporate Samoan tatau patterning with elements from other cultures to create one-off works of art, a style he describes as ‘contemporary Polynesian’.
Jaco ‘J’ Schmidt
Ishmael Jaco ‘J’ Augustine Schmidt (b. 1984) was born and raised in Samoa. He moved to New Zealand in 1993 and was schooled at St Patrick’s College. In 2004 he was introduced to tattoo art while studying Visual Communication Design in Digital Media and Illustration at Massey University in Wellington. Discontinuing his studies, Schmidt immediately changed his focus to tattooing and began working full time at Tattoo City in Wellington in 2009. There he learned a variety of tattoo skills from portraiture and illustrations, to various styles of Pacific tatau. In 2011 he became part of the Taupou Tatau collective. Schmidt, an accomplished tattooist in his own right, says he is honoured to expand his personal repertoire of tatau designs under the mentorship of Tauafiafi and tufuga tatatau such as the Sulu’ape family.
Bryan ‘Juse1′ Visala
Bryan ‘Juse1′ Visala (b. 1980) is known in Wellington predominantly as a graffiti artist and regaining New Zealand free style rap champion. Visala has performed on stage with international hip hop artists including 50 Cent, Nas, De La Soul and many others. He has worked with many leading international graffiti artists such as Charli 2na, Cantwo, Teal Steel, Dayz1 and Mr Wiggles. These experiences have given Visala an indepth knowledge of hip hop art and culture that has informed his personal art practice. His recent transition into tatau has led to an interesting blend of hip hop and Pacific imagery. His unique and experimental style has quickly gained international attention and was recently featured in the international publication Graffiti Tattoo Volume 2 by Alan Ket and Don Karl. The book features internationally recognised graffiti art tattooists, of which Visala is the only South Pacific artist represented.
Owner/Managing Director/Graphic Illustrator & Designer
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