LOPETI. IS. THE. MAN!!!!!!
He covered up a pretty awful tattoo on the side of my right calf -- and it looks NOTHING like a cover up. It's just amazing.
During my consultation, I showed him what I wanted covered up and told him to design an original traditional Polynesian tattoo for me. Then I asked what else he needed to know. He just smiled and said, "When you come back for your tattoo, we'll sit down and talk stories and I'll draw something for you."
A few days later I showed up for my appointment, we talked for a minute again about what I wanted, and then he started drawing on my leg. Because of my position, I couldn't see what he was doing but we talked a little more while he drew -- not about my tattoo but about my life. He asked me why I wanted a traditional Polynesian tattoo, what the story was behind my old tattoo, where I had been in the Islands, whether I had a family, etc. About 30 or 40 minutes later, he stopped drawing and said, "Check it out." I hopped off the table, walked over to the mirror, and I was BLOWN AWAY. The design was even more beautiful than I had expected ... I had no idea how he did such a complex design in such a short time ... and, somehow, it all seemed exactly right for me. Like it BELONGED on me. Lopeti asked me if I wanted to change anything and I practically shouted "NO!" at him.
The tattoo took about 3 hours or so to complete. The last 30 minutes was a little painful because the tattoo wrapped around the back of my calf just under the knee -- but Lopeti is an extremely gentle tattooist. I almost fell asleep at one point! This tattoo is healing so much more quickly and easily than the others I've had.
Bottom line, Lopeti is a great artist, a great tattooist, and a very humble, nice guy. I'll be sitting with him again on my next trip to Oahu, for sure.
Also, a shout out to Monkia, who helped me set up my appointments. She is super nice, very helpful and very funny.
I LOVE this shop. One day, I hope to meet Aisea and have him tattoo me as well.