By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura and Molly Skobba
I was really excited for Molly to meet Paulo and Blaise Manabe and even happier that she wanted to blog about my Hawaiian braddah! Paulo is an amazing artist, and an even more amazing person. I always work with him when I am in Hawaii and am continually impressed with his tattoos. He is a true master of the Polynesian-style (though he would never let you call him that) and is constantly working to improve his work. He is a great father and has the coolest kid ever. You can find him at Pacific Soul Tattoo or at Zippy’s…
Molly Skobba: If I were a TV producer, I would make a reality show about the amazing Paulo Manabe and his super cool son, Blaise. Taki and I recently spent a day with the dynamic duo in their hometown of Honolulu and I had the privilege of getting to know them better. We started out the day getting lunch at a walk-up take-out window, Hawaii’s answer to street food. You order by plate and I had the seafood plate, which consisted of two shrimp tempura, two breaded and fried Mahi filets, salad and two mounds of rice- not necessarily the smallest or healthiest of lunches, but so damn fresh and yummy! Taki had a hamburger plate, two hamburger patties and two mounds of rice all smothered in rich brown gravy, it’s a staple in Hawaiian cuisine and very delicious.
To get back to Paulo and Blaise, they are the funniest pair I’ve seen in a long time. They look and act like brothers, teasing each other relentlessly about girls, school and work. They are gracious hosts, driving us mainlanders around the whole island with stops at amazing tourist-barren beaches far from the noise of the Waikiki crowd. Blaise and I buried Taki in the sand and Paulo toyed with the tiny sand crabs in between his phone texting and posting. You can’t help but be charmed by them both. We had a really first-rate day and I am looking forward to the next time we all meet up again.
A little about Paulo’s work: It is incredible. His Polynesian is tight; amazing line work, creative and so clean. I love his use of black in his Japanese work, and his waves are sick! Paulo is someone who creates movement in his designs, something I do not see often in Polynesian tattooing. It leaves me thinking, “How does he do that!”
Thank you Paulo and Blaise for the amazing time you showed Taki and I in your beautiful island. Happy Holidays to all!
Paulo Manabe can be found at:
Horitaka (Taki) can be found at:
State of Grace Tattoo
221 Jackson Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 441-7770
Hours: 11am – 7pm
Closed on Tuesday