Trevor Marshall  Oceanic Tatau

A native New Zelander, I was born in the northernmost region of new Zealand's southern island - a landscape amazingly rugged and varied in it's beauty, growing up in a family home that overlooked the Tasman Bay. Surrounded by, and immersed in Polynesian culture with longstanding traditions and a wide range of art forms. I was fortunate in being exposed to a variety of traditional design styles, forming a vocabulary I would later develop in my art. As a teenager I was educated in technical drawing and began expressing myself as a fine art painter when I was invited to join a group of painters in the capital city of Wellington. It was within this group that I met Roger Ingerton, the painter and renowned tattooist, with Rodger and I developing a friendship that extended into both my getting tattooed by him -- a project of several years, and his assistance in my own beginnings as a tattooist.

 

When I moved to the US after having tattooed in New Zealand for 11 years, it was at a time in the early 90's when Neo-Tribalism was reaching a new level of maturity, with clients having an awareness of and seeking more traditional forms of art. Working now in Los Angeles, I found myself in an exciting environment that allowed me to develop a style of fusion in which I was able to meld many different styles of Polynesian design motifs - using traditional motifs in a non-traditional way.

 

While I've always enjoyed resolving the technical aspects of tattooing, it is the design process I find most exciting, with the challenge of form and placement on the body being my primary concern - a subject I give seminars on annually - in the belief that the tattoo should be a form of physical enhancement.

 

Above all, I find Polynesian forms themselves to be extremely beautiful, and even within a climate that has encouraged work of a non-traditional nature, it is still my love for these designs that informs my tattoo work.

 

In 2004 my wife and I moved to a small farm in New Hampshire that for me is strikingly reminiscent of my homeland in new Zealand - with dramatic seasonal changes and a strong natural environment I find inspiring. It is here I have set up both a fine art studio and craft workshop in one of two large barns, and in addition to tattooing I have begun redeveloping my fine-art, primarily in the form of sculpture. Again with a fusion of sorts, my interest is in convergence, combining different metals with wood and other material, and while I see many of these newer pieces as being less literal than my tattooing, even the most abstract of this work is proving wonderfully and undeniably influenced by Polynesian design.