Every tattoo artist has a unique story of how they came to the industry and Keoki is certainly no exception. After a tempestuous upbringing and several years of military service in the Army, Keoki found himself on the beach in Hawaii. He began working with his best friend to do drawings for his friend to tattoo and, after repeated urging from his friend, Keoki decided to learn to tattoo the designs he had been creating. While learning to tattoo, he worked in the entertainment industry in Hawaii, playing music and spinning fire knives at resorts and on cruise ships. As his tattoo business grew, so did his desire to learn more and refine his craft, leading him to work in a shop in Hawaii. From there, Keoki traveled to learn all he could about tattooing from his peers and predecessors, a goal that eventually led him to Ink & Dagger Tattoo.
For Keoki, tattooing is first and foremost a spiritual process. During his consultations, he likes to talk to clients about not just their tattoo idea, but also their lives, why they are interested in a particular tattoo design, and the intention behind the tattoo. In his words, he is a linguist, translating his clients’ ideas and energy into a permanent design using the language of tattooing. Keoki is a versatile artist and specializes in Polynesian tattoos. He loves to draw designs directly onto his clients’ skin, using the form of their body and the energy that paper lacks to create uniquely personal designs for each person.
In his free time, Keoki enjoys spending time with family and playing music, and you will frequently find him strumming his ukulele in the shop.