Molly Skobba: Pacific Soul Tattoo

By Molly Skobba
Man, Pacific Soul has it all: personality, style and most of all talent. Steve and Paulo can tattoo everything from American traditional to Japanese to what they’re most famous for, their Polynesian tattoos. in addition, they’re located two blocks from Ala Moana beach in Honolulu, Hawaii…

But it’s not just about their incredible talent. Steve Looney, Paulo Manabe and Steve’s wife Dani are the sweetest most hospitable people you will ever meet on the Island and quite possibly the world!! Every time Taki and I have gone out there, they take the time and energy to show us the heavenly place they call home. This last trip was especially epic. Not only was it the five of us, but also Ben Grillo of Power Tattoo and Si’i Liufau of A-Town Tattoo came along for the ride this time.

The main reason for the trip was for Steve and Taki to collaborate on a back piece for our friend Jason who flew out just to get tattooed by them both at the same time. Talk about epic! The week was filled with tattooing, snorkeling, partying and eating, eating, and more eating! First and foremost the tattooing: Ben, Paulo and Si’i did what they do best… producing mind-blowing tattoo after tattoo while Taki and Steve worked on Jason’s epic back piece. Jason had approached Taki and Steve with the concept of a Japanese and Polynesian collaboration.

After much discussion and sketching, they decided to draw a Samoan warrior- complete with Samoan tattoos, fighting a shark. The piece is drawn in Japanese backpiece format and the shark is reminiscent of a Japanese alligator shark as drawn by Kuniyoshi. It is the perfect blend of Samoan and Japanese, a true artistic endeavor. Jason took it like a real champ.

In two days at four hours each day with two artists tattooing a lot of work got done -they finished the outline within the first hour! I asked what it was like being tattooed by two artists at once and he told me it was a surreal experience but like it sounds, two tattooers tattooing you at once. Rightly said, Jason!

Our week was jam-packed with food. We ate everything from Loco mocos and the best teriyaki burger in the world (grilled by Steve himself) to the very rare and hard to catch coconut crab. Coconut crab is a huge crab that lives only on land feeding mostly on coconut. It is rare to catch as it is vicious and strong enough to husk coconuts, you can only imagine what it’d do to body parts. It looks like a cross between and crab and a lobster, the texture of the meat is flaky and tougher than the usual water crab. It tastes like coconut scented alligator if you’ve ever had it and the tail comes with a natural dipping sauce made of coconut oil that has collected over the crab’s short coconut –filled life. It was a true delicacy, thank you Dani and Steve for making it for us!

We also stopped by Aisea’s shop, Soul Signature, and joined their kava circle, what an experience!! Thank you Aisea!

I want to thank Ben Grillo for all the incredible photos, talk about multi-talented! And Si’i, the trip wouldn’t have been the same without you, life of the party!! There were so many amazing moments in this trip and I think I caught the most epic points. If you’re ever in Honolulu, you MUST check out Pacific Soul and show some love.

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