Sua Sulu'ape Keone Nunes

 Walk Story™: Keone Nunes "Master Tattooist" - Video Series 1.3

 Keone will be visiting from time to time to share the tradition of Hawaiian Tatau and to educate those that are interested.

 Please keep in mind when requesting work from him, that he performs only by the traditional hand tap method known as or Kåkau in Hawaii.

To Book with Keone please email him at

Keone Nunes did not have a typical apprenticeship, and that’s because he’s not your typical tattoo artist. His clients rest on a bamboo mat on the floor of a small room. There is no power source, no rattling of the needles in the tube, only the mesmerizing tap tap of the moli–a traditional instrument used for Hawaiian tattooing. An assistant pulls the customer’s skin tight as Nunes taps dye made from a kukui tree into the skin with a fine-tooth comb made from hippopotamus tusk. His West O’ahu tattooing room is as far removed from the tattoo shop experience as possible.

Growing up in Wai’anae, he was instructed in the ways of traditional native Hawaiian tattooing. He also studied under tattoo master Su’a Sulu’ape Paulo. Today, Nunes is the foremost revivalist of ancient Hawaiian tattoo traditions.

Of the 175 motifs he knows of, many run along the lines of genealogical designs specific to family origins. Noa, designs free from genealogical affiliation, are used for adornment, protection and other purposes.

Nunes does not discriminate against his clientele by race, but rather judges the motives and character of the individual seeking a traditional motif.

‘If I meet with them and they are good people and they’re doing it for the right reasons, then, yeah. I don’t want to tattoo everybody in the world. I want to tattoo people that appreciate the art form,’ Nunes says.

Nunes is relatively unaffected by the explosion of the tattoo scene on O’ahu and the widespread popularity of tattoos across the world. And he likes to keep it that way. ‘It’s hard to get in touch with me if you don’t know how,’ Nunes says. ‘It’s a different type of person that comes to me. The people that I see are not really interested in having that particular type of tattoo done with a machine.’

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Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, however we offer them in gift card form.  Feel free to email or call the shop to purchase a gift card for a loved one.

We can also send them out directly to the recipient as well.

Yes, there is always a level of pain when getting a tattoo and generally the tolerance level is up to the individual, but our talented artist take great care to make sure you are relaxed, comfortable and confident. A skilled hand can make the experience much more enjoyable, and those are the hands we employ here at Tattoolicious.

Infection is caused by bacteria getting into the raw wound, so yes, you are able to get an infection. But it all depends on how well you care for the tattoo after your appointment. Your artist will cover the area with a bandage immediately following your session and will provide you with instructions on how to properly care for the tattoo. As long as you follow the instructions provided, your risk of infection will decrease dramatically.

Proper care will help the tattoo heal properly, and reduce the risk of infection. It will also help with the overall appearance of the tattoo, causing the colors to remain bold and bright and remain beautiful for years to come.

Tattoos are permanent body art created by professionals using tattoo guns to puncture skin and insert ink below the first layer of skin. It is important to know how to treat a new tattoo in order to speed up your healing time and avoid negative side effects. Consider the following when learning how to treat a new tattoo.

  1. Listen to your tattoo artist. If you’ve done your homework and chosen a good tattoo artist, he or she will provide detailed instructions and you should follow them carefully. Think of your tattoo as having a warranty; if you don’t follow the artist’s instructions, you might void the warranty and he or she won’t give you free touch-ups.

  2. Leave the bandage on. You should leave it on anywhere between two hours to 24 hours. Make sure a thick, absorbent, non-stick ABD wound dressing is used. Your tattoo artist will give you a time frame. Be patient. The bandage is there to protect your tattoo from airborne bacteria, which can penetrate through your broken skin.

  3. Soak the bandage with warm water when removing it. This is optional, but recommended if the bandage is stuck to your tattoo and offers resistance.

  4. Wash the tattoo. Most artists recommend lukewarm water and mild, unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Use your hands (not a wash cloth) and gently remove all traces of blood so it doesn’t scab. Pat (don’t rub) dry with a clean towel or a paper towel.

  5. Apply ointment. Many tattoo artists advise that you use ointment for 2-3 days. Ointment lasts longer than lotion, reducing the number of times you need to apply it and thus lessening the amount of rubbing. Apply a thin layer that’s just enough to make the tattoo shine, or else you’ll suffocate it. Apply it twice a day. Switch over to lotion when your tattoo artist says so.

  6. Continue washing and applying ointment or lotion as directed by your tattoo artist until the tattoo heals. The tattoo might look cloudy for a few days as it heals. This is called “onion skin.” You’ll know you have “onion skin” when the tattoo looks clearer when wet.

Yes, we require you to pay an $40 deposit to hold your appointment time, and also allow our artists to begin your drawing (drawing is work!). If you cancel within 48 hours, you will not receive your deposit back.