Quarterback, mural grab artist's attention
Feb 17, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wanted a Polynesian tribal design on his chest, he turned to tattoo artist Orly Locquiao of Humble Beginnings in San Jose, Calif.
Locquiao, 37, and his brother, Jason, had earlier contacted the heavily inked footballer after Kaepernick's stunning ascendency to starting signal caller for the National Football Conference champions. The brothers got his permission to market T-shirts featuring the quarterback's name and tattoos through their Cukui Clothing brand.
The T-shirts became hot sellers, so when Kaepernick wanted to add to his body art, he sought out Locquiao, who has family in Ewa Beach and Waipahu.
On Feb. 6, three days after Super Bowl XLVII, Locquiao tattooed Kaepernick's chest and shoulders, framing the "Against All Odds" script that was already emblazoned across his chest.
Now Locquiao is in Honolulu for the Pow Wow Hawai'i street art festival to work on a collaborative mural with fellow clothing designer Sam Rodriguez. Their artwork is next door to the Tropical Blend surf shop on Pohukaina Street in Kakaako.
Viewed from left to right, it incorporates Locquiao's freehand tattoo-themed designs with Rodriguez's large-scale portrait of a woman.
"We've been meaning to work with each other since 2008. I love Sam's piece. It has a multicultural feel to it," Locquiao said.
This marks Pow Wow Hawai'i's third year. About 100 local and visiting artists used walls and building facades at approximately 20 sites in Kakaako for their canvases.
Locquiao has been tattooing for more than 15 years after starting with graffiti as a teenager in San Jose.
"I started off doodling, drawing things I had seen in cartoons and comic books," he said. "During middle school I was in an experimental stage with my graffiti, but I figured after high school I had to understand the history and the roots of it."
The art he's doing for Pow Wow Hawai'i marks a "big transition" for Locquiao. Doing it for the first time, "I can be more creative painting a mural on a wall. It's not a person complaining, moaning and groaning, during the process. When I do tattoos, I have to remember that every client is the boss."
While Locquiao still does flash art (biker-style tattooing for his clientele), he's made his reputation doing Polynesian tribal work, thanks to the teachings and inspiration of Po'oino Yroundi (now living in France) and Aisea Toetu'u of the Soul Signature Tattoo shop on Kapiolani Boulevard.
"They helped bring in a growing movement of work that strengthens the tradition of the Polynesian tattoo and not letting go of one's indigenous roots," he said.
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