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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 Tuigamala to work at Western Tattoos in Auckland where he refined his skills over a four year period. In 2009 Tuigamala atarting his own bisiness which you know as ‘Taupou Tatau’, he move back to hsi home town to open his Studio which has been operating for 6 years now. Tuigamala specialises in Samoan and Polynesian designs to create one-off works of art, styaing very close to the Traditional Samoan Tatau style aswell as creating a distinct Contemporary style which is recognisable around the world.
Jaco ‘J’ Schmidt
Ishmael Jaco ‘J’ Augustine Schmidt (b. 1984) was born and raised in Samoa. He moved to New Zealand in 1993 and 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 Tuigamala 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 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.
Studio Managing, Graphic Illustrator & Designer