I toiled and toiled for many years on the thought of getting a tattoo. As a creative person, more importantly as a designer, the hardest part of getting a tattoo was the deciding what the image would be. It was crucial that it was just right, because it will be there till the end. Looking back, post-katrina always seemed like the most opportune time to receive one, but the years past and I still didn't have the right answer I was searching for. Beyond their personal meaning and the iconography associated with them, the process always seemed less personal and the thought of going to a "shop" was more about the transaction than the connection. Fast forward to late last year, a friend of mine introduced me to Malia Luna's work on Instagram and I was immediately intrigued. I was looking for something simple and unique, subtle lines in black and white with a small amount of text, and it seemed Malia was the perfect artist. To be perfectly honest, beyond her work it was her subtle Instagram Bio that threw me over the edge..."Ritual + Intentional tattoo. Illustrated prayer."
As a spiritual person first and Catholic second, I was absolutely drawn to her approach. Healing also played a huge part in the caring and thoughtful descriptions within a number of examples of her work in her Instagram feed. Shortly after having sort of an epiphany as to the artwork I wanted, I met up with Malia to discuss the work.
A few weeks later after our meeting, I headed over to “The holy rose” Malia's shared collective studio space, to finally get it done. I felt a combination of nervousness and relief on the way over and wasn't sure about the process and especially what it would feel like. The moment I walked in Malia put me at ease and I instantly felt comfortable. It's hard for me to put into words, but Malia absolutely the embodiment of serenity and calm. The process took less than an hour, and I was so calm and connected, I could have gone several more.
I recently reconnected with Malia in preparation for this feature, and wanted to chat with her about her process and her approach. I was again mesmerized by her calm and her passionate description of her thoughts on her work. Words like energy, respect, and connection rang true in our conversation and with relation to our own session. Her devotion to healing and honoring the body and the person was thoughtful and genuine. During our time together, Malia gave me an astounding and fruitful quote that sums it up...
"The exchange of energy between the artist and the receiver of the work is extremely empowering and healing. "
I was so thrilled and honored to capture some of her environment and more importantly her spirit in the images below. You'll also find some of my favorite examples of her most recent work.