Artist Spotlight : Makalio

I was born in 1980 in Nouméa, but when I was 12 years old, my family and I moved to Tahiti. At the time, I had no idea what surprises life had in store for me.

After completing my education, my parents advised me to choose a career that suited me. So, I spent three years at the Tahitian Center of Arts and Crafts, where I earned a degree in engraving. At the age of 18, I began working as an engraver in a renowned local factory.

Wanting to continue learning and developing, I decided to change careers and try my hand at being a jeweler until I became an artisan in an art gallery. However, I was still unsure of my path and took a sabbatical year to refocus and explore other possibilities.

My passion for manual art never left me, so I spent my time drawing. It was then that a tattoo artist friend noticed the potential in my drawings and suggested that I move from paper to human skin. The adventure I was looking for was about to begin, without knowing all the surprises that awaited me.

Polynesian tattooing is essentially composed of specific patterns and designs unique to its culture. It was natural to take the time to learn and practice self-taught. One year later, in 2007, I decided it was time to open my own tattoo shop and thought about the name for my business.

It was absolutely necessary that the name reflect my art, my personality through my culture and my origins. With great humility, I decided to name my small business TAGALOA.

TAGALOA is the name of a God in Polynesian mythology, known throughout the lands of the Pacific Ocean. It is also translated in every language of the islands, Ta'aroa, Tanaoa, Tangaroa, and many more. It seemed obvious to choose the translation that represented my origins in Wallis and Futuna. It is a powerful name that unites the Polynesian people. There was no coincidence in my choice as it simply reflects what I want to convey in my art. Each culture has its own patterns with their own meanings, all based on nature and the universe. So why not bring it all together in a representation and make it a blend of cultures? This is how I created the specialty for which I am known today.

Since the creation of my salon, I have had the chance to participate in numerous local and national conventions (France). This has allowed me to become known on the international stage and to share my work. After years of participation and winning different prizes, I was invited as a jury member, jury president and guest of honor in tattoo conventions and cultural events in Tahiti, New Caledonia and the Samoa Islands. I have also been able to make many encounters that have only accentuated my passion for Pacific history, my culture and my identity. This has driven me to research and transcribe them in the best way I know how, through tattooing.


Today, after 15 years of research, encounters and passionate work, I am still thirsty for knowledge. For me, there is no limit to creation and imagination. Now, I am able to transmit this knowledge to the new generation who, I hope, will strive to preserve and respect it as I have done so far.

In summary, I am grateful for all the experiences I have had so far and I am happy to have found my place in the world of tattooing by mixing different cultures and transmitting my know-how to others. My journey is not over and I look forward to seeing where my creations will take me in the future.

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