Maaaaayn it’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally got to post up on my friend and THA man when it comes to tattooing – Toma Amosa. He’s a super talented artist & musician and just an all round awesome dude! Got a lotta love for this guy aye?
AND because I’ve been so slack with my blogging this year (been busy yo) it’s also my first Ink Series post for 2015 woop woop!
I’ve known Toma for as long as him & his band The Daylight Robbery have been my bro-in-law David Dallas’ backing band. We probably would have all just stayed at aquaintance ‘Hi/Bye’ level but one year we all took part in what we called ‘The Fat Robbery’ which was like a group fitness challenge to motivate each other to get fit and lose some weight. Toma and his partner Mua actually went & won the challenge and then threw this massive party for all of us from the prize $$$ which was awesome and yeah, by the end of that we were all boys lol!
He also did this mean as cover up job on a tattoo my cousin had done that I wasn’t happy with (pic of Tomas awesome cover-up below) which was the beginning of the cover up of all cover ups lol and is currently a work in progress so I’ll share more on that once it’s completed. He started on the first part of my cover up back when he was still working at Stained Skin so we’ve swapped a lot of stories (The shenanigans!) and laughs over tattoo sessions and he’s since then gone out on his own and is now getting ready to open his own shop! Too cool!
I’ve split Tomas feature into 2 posts. Part 1 is about the ink he has himself and the stories & meaning behind them. Part 2 is about how he became a professional tattooist, his musical background and how the band came to be ‘The Daylight Robbery’ which I’ll post up in the next couple of days so keep an eye out for that.
So now for the ink …
Toma: I got the Jesus piece cos I grew up in church and my Dads a minister so kind of had to get something that signified my upbringing you know? My Dad was a minister since I was 4 and he’s just retired so the church was a big part of my life growing up. But yeah, Lucas did that from ‘Stained Skin’ – he’s over in Perth now – travelling artist buzz. I just gave him the reference and he put his own spin on it. I gave him a realistic reference and he stylised it a little bit. Plus it’s a little bit of a cover up, in that corner there (top right where the crown of thorns are), you can’t really see it but it was a tattoo & looked like a piece of shit – Jordan (one half of Production duo Fire & Ice) did it (laughs) and yeah, I covered it and thats why the thorns go out that way.
I got the sacred heart cos he (Lucas) was kinda like ‘we need something to fill it down’. Everyone thinks I’m catholic because I’ve got that but I’m not catholic it was just to keep it with the Jesus theme. So yeah, my whole family had pretty much grown up in church and it’s almost like it represents a certain time in my life you know.
Right arm sleeve
Toma: This is kind of like a bio-organic style – it’s all just one piece and I’ve kinda added to it but I just really like the style – that organic style. It kinda looks like it’s growing off your body and the style is kind of like it’s an extension of your body as opposed to just printing something on it. Thats my take on it anyway. So this is one by Rod Dawson, my old boss at Stained Skin who I did my apprenticeship under.
Toma: I decided to do my hands and you know when you do your hands it’s like a big leap cos once you go there it’s like you’ve gone full mongrel you know? So as soon as I decided that I was going to do my hands and all the way down to the fingers I really wanted an eye there. So aside from the fact that it kinda goes with the organics thing it was like I decided I was all in and I was pretty clear about it. They say ‘Clarity is key’ and so once I was like nah I know! I know I’m getting my hands done and there’s a lot of people who say oh once you get your hands done you’re not going to be able to get a job and a career so you’re kinda like ahhh & you’re tentative about going all the way down but as soon as I was like ‘nah fuck, this is what I’m doing, this is what I do – I’m a musician and an artist’ and I was quite clear about that, so I didn’t care, I was like I’m going to do it. So I put an eye in there – clarity….. but yeah it kind of fit as well.
Fly/Die on my fingers – the old N.E.R.D motto that I quite liked. My mate got ‘Sink or Swim’ and it was kind of along the same lines. He was my mate that was apprenticing with me. ‘Fly or Die’ or ‘Sink or Swim’ you know but I just liked …. I guess the finality of the alternative to flying. It’s not like ‘Fly or Don’t Fly’ you know? But that was kind of my M.O in life. You either nail it or you don’t. You always just have to go for it. I’m really big on that and it correlates to music and I guess cos tattooing and the arts and with music and that, it all blurs into one and I approach everything like that aye? You can ask the band, I crack the whip with the band cos I’m kinda like you either nail it or you don’t and if you don’t nail it, it means we didn’t work hard enough.
Before I started tattooing I was like you’re either gonna do this well or you’re gonna fuck it up cos you’ve only got one shot at it you know like after I started tattooing for about a year that whole approach to anything is kinda how I started looking at things. I’ve got a real kinda one shot approach to shit and thats just for everything so even when we perform and we do a gig, we either come off the stage like ‘We killed that or we didn’t’ there’s none of that ‘ahhh yeah, that was alright’ I’m like Nah! I don’t do a tattoo and be like ‘Hmmm yeah that was alright’ I’m just like you either go in and you go in for the kill or you shouldn’t do it’ I’m real kinda absolutist like that so ‘Fly or Die’ and yeah, so I thought fuck man thats me I’m gonna put it on my fingers cos I really wanted something I could put on my fingers. I haven’t actually got another one after that.
Toma: The leg ones, there’s no real significance to them it was just when I was starting off ….
Me: Oh yeah, cos I was watching that Ink Story episode on Fresh that you and Ron (older brother) were on and you were saying you did some of them yourself?!
Toma: Yeah, yeah, so when I started I just needed something to tattoo so I did the skull and did my own knees to practise on, so yeah music symbols cos I’m a musician. You can practise on chicken & orange skins and shit but yeah, I don’t know, I was kinda like just practise on myself.
So this piece was one my boss did on me. The dude who does this kind of style, he’s like one of the greatest artists in the world – Guy Aitchison – it’s actually a Guy Aitchison piece but I just told my boss to jack it and put it on my leg.
Then I just did the skull filler but yeah, that and the knees, I did them when I was an apprentice at my job and needed practise.
So yeah, we were just out it was like the first 6 months of us being in the shop. I just needed stuff to put there so I did that (The Cross) and like anything religious to me is going to have some kind of significance you know?
Toma: This is probably my most significant tattoo. My Dads brother was an Elim minister and he passed away so I dedicated the whole chest piece to him. You probably know the bible verse if you read it ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race & kept the faith’ (2 Timothy 4:7) my Dads brothers name was Ropati Amosa. This piece was done by Lucas as well. The sternums real sore and the collar bone aye? But yeah, this is definitely my most significant one that I got in memory of him. Me and my brother got pieces done – like Mac (younger brother) – he’s got a whole sleeve thats dedicated to my Uncle, my Uncle was a pretty hardcore christian like a proper christian not christians like we are (laughs). It was my Dads little brother and he passed from cancer so we were all kinda like oh shit and he had parting words for me as a musician but yeah, that was it, apart from that everything else is kinda just what you see.
Toma: Yeah, this ones not quite finished. It’s kind of the same skeleton with some random jaw line & shit but yeah, thats pretty much it, I’ll finish them when I can be bothered. I haven’t been tattooed in nearly 3 years. I kind of gave the boss ideas and something to go off but yeah, when I get round to it it’ll be all coloured in, it’s just so many hours aye I can’t be bothered and when there’s that much of it done it can feel like it is finished you know? It was part of the original piece and I lined it all up in one hit then we shaded it over a few sessions and then yeah, I haven’t had any work done in ages aye?
Me: So what order did you get your tattoos?
Toma: I did my knees first … myself and then my boss did the one on the outside the half skull, half oni mask Japenese thing. That was just cos he was like ‘Right! You needa get tattoo’d, you needa get a tattoo like a proper one in a shop’ so he did that. He picked it, he just said ‘I’m gonna blast you with this’ and I just wanted something he wanted to do. Then I found that (Guy Aitchisons design) and I thought it was pretty cool so I got him to do the big skull. Then the rest of these were just me and the other apprentice mucking round in the shop practising.
Later I got the chest piece done, my uncle had passed in 2008 and then I got that years after. Then I got my sleeve. My sleeve would be the latest one that I did. Actually I lined up my whole sleeve but the last tattoo I actually got done were my fingers. The Fly/Die ones and it’s still missing the ‘OR’ on the thumbs – it’s supposed to be Fly or Die.
So not all my tattoos have hardout meanings cos obviously my legs are just like I liked some super cool shit – it’s like a picture that you like and you hang it up and the same with this kinda style. It’s funny cos all the hamos are like ‘Man, mean thats a dragon aye?’ and I’m like ‘Is it? I don’t know’ and they’re like ‘oh well what is it?’ and you’re like it’s just what it is, it’s just organic, it’s meant to be like a growth off your skin. I’m into aliens & shit. It kinda like looks all scaly and it’s real weird cos it’s got teeth in there, it’s got a skull and people are like ‘what is it?” and I’m like ‘I don’t know imagine some alien, tumour shit growing on your arm’
Actually you should get a photo of this one! It’s my first ever tattoo (laughs). I actually tattooed myself at home.
lol! Shot Toma!
Thanks for sharing your Ink stories bo!
Check out Toma and his brother Ron talking about their ink on Fresh TV below