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Email message to author, 6 October 2014.


Because the process is sacred in the Maori community, the idea of non-Maoris receiving


is some-

what controversial. Proponents of


for all argue that, if the receiver has researched the process and

approaches the spiritual underpinnings with respect,


practitioners can perform the tattoo. Those

opposed claim that because

ta moko

is sacred, individuals with no connection to or understanding of

Maori history and culture cannot properly respect the ritual or care for the completed tattoo.


Interview with author, 9 May 2013.


The author visited the artist in his Manhattan studio in 2013, observing part of a session with a client

and interviewing the artist. For two hours, Gupta spoke eloquently about his philosophies regarding life,

art in general, and tattoos specifically.


Fabio Paleari.

The Leu Family’s Family Iron

. London: Trolley Books, 2001.


Email message to author, 22 June 2014. The Family Iron Studio is a close-knit operation, with deep

relationships between the artists (most of whom are members of the Leu family) and their clients,

who come to the Swiss shop for long-term, large-scale projects, or multiple tattoos.


The name of the style was deliberately changed to make it—and tattooing in general—more acceptable

to the general population. A middle-aged suburbanite or a business executive may have a deep passion

for wearable art, but may find “prison-style ink” unapproachable or may shy away from an artist with

supposed underworld connections.


Joanne Kaufman. “Keeping Their Art to Themselves.”

The New York Times

, 17 April 2013.

Accessed 1 June 2014.