Mom Tattoos on Mother’s Day

We have a Mother’s Day tradition in our family that we’ve been doing as long as I can remember. Every year, the entire family gets together and all the kids make a feast for all the moms. Now that the kids are grown-ups, the meals tend to be a little more elaborate. Sometimes we even do Iron Chef-like competitions with secret ingredients and cook-offs. It can be a lot of fun and it is a nice way to celebrate Mom.

Mothers hold a special place in our hearts and, for many, that love is worn on the sleeve in the form of a mom tattoo. We’ve all seen the heart with Mom written in it. The Mom Heart is a fitting tribute to the woman who brought you into the world. Hearts can be very beautiful and meaningful to the wearer and still there are many other ways to express love for Mom in the form of a tattoo. Here are a few ideas for mom tattoos.


Perhaps there was a book that you loved as a child. Your mother read it to you all the time. The lyrics bring back fond memories of storytime and Mom. Or perhaps your mother sang to you a special song. On the day I was born my mom sang to me. She continued to sing that song to me throughout my childhood. The lyrics make me feel special and remind me of my mother. I can still hear her singing it to me. A tattoo of the lyrics would be a very fitting reminder of my mom.

Mom’s Favorite Flower

There are many beautiful flower tattoos out there and you mother’s favorite flower would be a tasteful symbolic tribute to her. If she had a rose garden that she frequented, a rose tattoo would be lovely. My great-grandmother had fragrant Gardenia bushes in front of her home and my grandmother had orchids. Both would make excellent mom tattoos.

Symbolic Tattoos

I recently saw a tattoo sketch at South Shore Ink of birds together on a branch. Birds can make a nice tattoo. The last name Luning actually means Sparrow in German so a sparrow tattoo would make a fitting and symbolic tattoo for Mom. Gaelic and tribal tattoos would also fit into this category. Mom wears our Japanese family crest around her neck. She and her siblings have them. The crest surrounded by her favorite flower would also make a nice Mom Tattoo.

South Shore Ink was actually started because Mom thought it would be the best way to show case my brother Bryce Luning’s talent. Mothers are good at that. They see the gold in us. They see our potential and hope that we will see it, too. They do whatever it takes to make us successful whether it means paying for a good education, sports equipment or art lessons. My mom is an amazing woman.

Many people wait to commemorate their mothers. They get a portrait of her inked and reminisce. Why wait until she is gone to show her your affection? Too often, our loved ones do not know how important they are to us. Wear your love on your sleeve. Get her name over your heart. Mom tattoos are a sweet and endearing way to show Mom how much she means to you.

About Us

South Shore Ink opened its doors in December of 2011 in Kapahulu, a trendy local community that is well known for its many fine eateries and specialty boutique shops. A small, but clean and comfortable tattoo shop, South Shore Ink is conveniently located adjacent to Waikiki but without the Waikiki tattoo prices.

South Shore Ink features two talented tattoo artists, Bryce Luning and Sergio “Kujo” Dowd, both of whom offer a variety of artistic styles to make your desired tattoo a reality. Whether it be tribal, Japanese, traditional American or any number of other styles, our tattoo artists will work with you to ensure that you are pleased with the design of your tattoo and placement on your body.

We invite you to come in today for a free consultation. Walk-ins are welcome but it is best to call 808-737-INKS (4657) to schedule an appointment in case we are already booked. South Shore Ink tattoo shop is open 7 days a week.

Dragon Tattoo Mythology

Dragon Tattoo

Dragon TattooDragon tattoos have always been a popular choice but what exactly do they mean?  What do they stand for?  They mean different things to different people.  Despite their negative reputation in the West, in the Eastern tradition they are often considered to be symbols of positive forces.   Dragon tattoo mythology gives us some insight into the meanings behind one of the most recognized symbolic images in the world.

In ancient cultures such as Babylon, Mongolia and Greece, the dragon is believed to possess power.  And within people groups found in Europe, Africa and America the dragon was thought to be a holy spirit and bringer of life appearing in the form of a rainbow to mortals at times.

Western culture has often made the dragon out to be an evil creature.  It is very possible that the Western dragon has received it’s reputation as a villainous monster to be destroyed based on the Biblical view of them in the book of Revelation where the dragon is described as the devil.  Although this is the predominant viewpoint in Western culture, dragons have also been portrayed as whimsical and friendly in movies like Never Ending Story and How to Train Your Dragon.

In the East, the dragon is described using other earthly creatures as having the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, ears of a cow, eyes of a rabbit, scales of a carp or koi fish, claws of an eagle, neck of a snake and the paws of a tiger.  The breath of the dragon is charged with a mingling of fire and water that is typically depicted as spiral clouds.  The clouds are thought to be cosmic forces at work.  The Eastern dragon has the power to transform itself , become visible or invisible at will, shrink down or enlarge itself to fill the skies.  It is associated with the element water  and has become symbolic of the productive force of moisture and regeneration.  Ascending to the skies in the Spring and descending into deep waters in the Autumn.  The dragon tattoo is often depicted chasing or gripping a fiery pearl which appears as a ball or flaming orb.  The pearl has been described as many things, such as: the sun, moon, or rolling thunder.

Perhaps, the most famous images of the dragon come from the Chinese.  In China, the five-clawed dragon has been used as the emblem of imperial power since 200 B.C. where it symbolized wisdom and omnipotence.

According to ancient Chinese beliefs, the carp or koi fish that successfully swims upstream in the Heavenly Gate waterfall will be transformed into a dragon.  The dragon is an apt symbol for that which comes forth after struggle and adversity are conquered.

The dragon is one of the most recognized symbols in the world, but can mean so many different things to different cultures.  Your dragon tattoo may be interpreted differently based on the cultural bias that your onlookers may have.  As with any other tattoo, what your dragon tattoo means to you is ultimately what matters the most.

Do It Yourself Tattoos

Recently, I read about Do It Yourself Tattoo kits available on the internet.  The kits come with ink and a tattoo gun.  But before you cancel your next tattoo appointment and opt for one of those DIY kits, think about some of the reasons you shouldn’t attempt to do it yourself.

1.  Health Hazard
I have a friend who is very artistic.  He has designed and sketched out many beautiful pictures that would make great tattoos.  He wanted to be a tattoo artist but couldn’t pass the test to get certified.  The test to become a tattoo artist includes health and safety questions.  If you were to get a tattoo from a friend that is not certified, you do risk your health.   One of the biggest problems with DIY tattoo kits is the fact that people buying them have contracted HIV and Hepatitis B from sharing needles.

2.  Questionable Quality
I was told that the kits were originally intended to tattoo animals.  They were not even meant to ink people.  There is a big difference between a mark and a piece of art.  Tattooing an animal with a mark to distinguish it from others is very different from putting a detailed picture or word onto your body.  Tattoo artists spend lots of money on high-quality paints and guns.  They use supplies that were made specifically for people.

3.  Growing Pains
Bad tattoos are just as permanent as good ones.  The only difference is, when you look at a bad one, it is a constant reminder that you screwed up.  I’ve seen some bad do it yourself tattoos.  Once I saw a girl that had a tattoo on her arm.  Since the time that she got the tattoo, she had gained some weight and her tattoo had stretched.  The only problem was, it wasn’t done well and the dots that made up the tattoo were now separated from each other.  A good tattoo will stretch with you.  If you plan on growing at all, leave it to the experts.

4.  Feeling Fruity
When a tattoo artist is an apprentice, he spends hours and hours practicing on pieces of fruit.
This helps him to learn to control the gun and how to prevent bleeding (amongst other things).  These things are learned with practice.  Your body should not be your piece of fruit.

5.  Artistic Ax
A tattoo artist is exactly that:  an artist.  Tattoo artists have made a career out of body art.  They spend hours and hours every day perfecting their craft.  They get paid for their artistic skills.  Most people are not artists. Even if you do possess some artistic prowess, the chances are that you don’t know how to operate a tattoo gun with skill.

For the most part, the people that have been buying these kits are cheap or underage.  They wanted a cheap alternative to the tattoo parlour and ended up with just that:  cheap-looking tattoos.  If you are desperate for a bit of ink and can’t really afford it, my advice is to talk to a tattoo artist that is willing to work with you.  Many of them will let you get work done little by little.

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Choosing the Right Honolulu Tattoo Artist

I’ve heard horror stories about bad tattoos or tattoo regrets but this one probably has more to do with a bad tattoo artist.  This one is a true story from Illinois.  A woman walks into a tattoo shop wanting to get a tattoo of her favorite sports team and walks out with it permanently inked onto her body backwards.  The Chicago Sun Times reported that the tattoo artist accidentally tattooed the Chicago White Sox logo backwards.  Needless to say, choosing the right tattoo artist in Honolulu or wherever you decide to get tattooed is extremely important.  Here are a few pointers to help you find the right Honolulu tattoo artist.

Get Recommendations

One of the easiest ways to find the right tattoo artist is to ask your friends where they got their work done.  Of course, if you think their tattoos are done poorly– regardless of whether the art itself is something you like or don’t like– just avoid the artist or tattoo shop mentioned and keep looking.  There are many review sites and web pages like that can help you to find reputable Honolulu tattoo artists and shops.

Look at Previous Work

Most tattoo artists have a portfolio with pictures of the tattoos that they’ve worked on in the past.  This is a great way to decide if they know their stuff.  An even better way to check out an artist’s work is to see it live and up close.  Is there a lot of bleeding?  That could be a bad sign.  Are the lines fine?  How did the coloring and shading come out?  Would you trust this person with your skin?  Some artists wear some of their own work.  Honolulu tattoo artist Bryce Luning of Tattoos by Bryce is one of them.  He has several of his own designs inked out on his own skin.

Check for Certification

Make sure that the tattoo artist you are looking at is a licensed tattoo artist.  I cannot stress this point enough.  There are plenty of people out there with the equipment.  They may have even done work on some of your friends.  Many of these unlicensed tattoo artists will even offer you a good price.  Don’t even think about it.  If they couldn’t pass the exam to get licensed, why would you ever want them to permanently ink your body?  Trained tattoo artists learn many things like proper technique and hygiene and safety.  Be sure to check for certification.

Give the Final Okay

Most artists won’t just pick up their tattoo gun and free-hand something on your body.  They will most likely sketch out your ideas or print out the exact logo you want and place a stencil on your skin.  This is really your last chance to make sure that everything is exactly the way you want it.  They will often show it to you before they place it on your skin.  In the case of the Chicago woman, the stencil must have been placed on her skin backwards.  If she had taken a look, she could have avoided costly laser-removal surgery and got the tattoo she had wanted.  Be sure to give it one final check before the tattoo gun gets whirring to be sure the tattoo is exactly what you wanted.

Choosing the right Honolulu tattoo artist is incredibly important.  It is your skin and the rest of your life that depend upon you making a wise and informed decision.  If you want to make your next tattoo experience a good one, be sure to take the time to follow the tips mentioned above.

Tattoos by Bryce tattoo artist Bryce Luning
Honolulu tattoo artist Bryce Luning at work

Temporary Tattoos?

Getting a tattoo is a big deal.  Permanent ink is put into your skin in a design that is meant to last for a lifetime.  Granted, it is not as big  a deal as it used to be.  Just about everyone has  a tattoo these days and the technology for removing tattoos has vastly improved over the years.  Permanent tattoos are almost temporary when it comes to tattoo removal.  But this isn’t really about that.  This is about temporary tattoos.  Singer, actress and fashion designer Beyonce is releasing a line of temporary tattoos.

The best thing about temporary tattoos is that you can try out different placements on your body.  You could see what a tattoo would look like on your arm or back or hip without going under the gun.  One of the draw backs of temporary tattoos is that they are only available in a limited amount of designs.  The ones found in the gum ball machines in the grocery store are very generic and outdated.  The new line of temporary tattoos from Beyonce promises to be anything but boring.  Here are the facts about the temporary tattoo line from Beyonce:

Temporary tattoo designs for the line include Deréon’s signature fleur icon, rocker bolts and chains, jewel baubles and spider designs.  Each of the tattoos are waterproof and designed to last for two to five days. The basic kits will be sold at a retail price of $16 and will be available at Sephora stores nationwide.  They will also be sold online at, and  There will also be a deluxe edition for $34 with 500 pieces for sale only at and  There is already a waiting list being taken at

The reality is, if you like rocker bolts and spiders, than this kit may be just what you need to get your tattoo fix.  Most guys will find that the jewel baubles and the Dereon symbol are just a little too feminine to sport.   Try your temporary tattoo, find the one you love, and then stop by the tattoo

Beyonce's temporary ink
Beyonce's Temporary Tattoos

shop to get some work done.

Koi Tattoo

Carp Fish Tattoo on back
Koi Tattoo

In Honolulu, there are many traditions that come from the various cultures represented in the islands.  I still remember putting up the Koi or carp fish flags on the third of March in celebration of Boy’s Day.  Boy’s Day was a traditional Japanese holiday that later combined with Girl’s Day to form Children’s Day.  We would hoist one carp for every male represented in the house on a long bamboo pole.  Dad got a big red carp while “boy-san” got a smaller blue one.  Today, many men (and some women) get the carp or koi tattoo.  Here is a quick look at what the koi tattoo symbolizes.

Traditional Tales of the Koi Tattoo

Koi tattoo
Koi Fish Tattoo

According to the Japanese folk lore, if the koi were to swim up the falls and cross over the Dragon Gate in the Yellow River then they would become a dragon.  Becoming a dragon is supposed to be a good thing in this case.  Therefore, the koi came to symbolize strength and perseverance.   It also represents the successful meeting of high goals.  In a worldly sense, many came to believe that it also symbolized the gaining of wealth and prosperity through hard work.

The 4-1-1 on Koi or Carp

The word koi is used to describe both wild and domesticated carp fish.  Wild carp or “Magoi” are koi fish that are not actually as colorful as the popular domestic carp that also go by that name.  The colorful carp fish are actually inbred or domesticated koi fish that were made primarily to look at.  They are the ones that are typically found in garden ponds and in fish tanks.  These carp are called “Nishikigoi”.  There are many different types of carp fish.  These koi come in a variety of different colors.  The “Tancho” look like the Japanese flag with one red spot on the top of their all white body.  The “Doitsu” is speckled in black, white and red while the “Ochiba” is white with golden rod-colored spots.

To Sum it Up

Colorful carp, though beautiful, are not actually as tough or masculine as their predecessors.  If you are going for the authentic koi tattoo with the traditional meaning of perseverance and strength then skip the color.  Wild carp are almost brown-gray in color.  The colorful koi is a perfect pick for a beautiful woman.