Born and raised in Maui, Kuaika has become a successful award-winning tattoo artist. But he didn't start out that way. In fact, he was on a dangerous path early on before he found his calling as a Hawaiian tattoo artist at the age of 15.
“I started hanging out with the wrong crowd,” he says. But even then he was creating art. “I got into graffiti and I got joy out of seeing my artwork all over the place.”
At 15, he learned tattooing with prison-style homemade equipment, from the older brother of a friend. Word about his artistry got out, and he quickly found himself tattooing friends. By the age of 17, he had moved on to using tattoo machinery bought on ebay, but could not find anyone who would apprentice him.
A chance introduction to Samson Harp, one of Hawaii’s most renowned tattoo artists with deep roots in Hawaiian culture changed his life.
Kuaika practiced his art at Samson’s Pacific Rootz studio in Kihei, Maui, for years and in 2016 set up his own studio in Wailuku, Hawaii. There, he also offers tattooing with the traditional tools.
Get in touch with him on his website