Posts Tagged ‘Roger Ingerton’

YellowMan's Kirituhi Tribute Shirt

Tattoo artist Roger Ingerton has produced numerous Maori-themed designs for YellowMan’s exclusive tattoo shirt collections, and his latest design is nothing short of stunning. YellowMan’s Kirituhi Tribute shirt is masculine, rugged, and earthborn with sepia tones that evoke soulful, wood-carven artifacts.

Kirituhi, meaning “skin art”, is a Maori form of body adornment which is painted onto the skin using a mixture of charcoal, and is offered as a culturally sensitive alternative to the traditionally sacred Polynesian Ta Moko art. Kirituhi is inspired by Ta Moko, but does not contain the essential element of whakapapa, or, the long lines of genealogy which are important to Maori.

More about YellowMan’s Kirituhi shirt here.

YMX's "Maori Swirl Sun Tee" (left) and "Maori Dragon Sleeveless Cycling Jersey" by New Zealand artist Roger Ingerton.

Fans of YMX athletic/lifestyle apparel can’t get enough of the fantastic Maori prints found throughout the YMX line, and it should come as no surprise, because much of that art comes from New Zealand artist/tattooist, Roger Ingerton. Ingerton has achieved his mark as a pioneer in the development of “Maori style” tattooing (apart from authentic Moko). Much of the work he has done in this style is his own freehand adaptation of traditional patterns. He says he has learned a lot from Maori artists who have supplied him with patterns to be tattooed for themselves and their friends and families. He loves this style of tattooing, and has a real feel for the flow of Pacific Island patterns. It is probably this type of work, along with a pe’a he did in 1982 that first won him international accolades. In America particularly, his work has been acclaimed in Ed Hardy’s ‘TattooTime’, and the National Tattoo Association.

Since the formation of YMX’s parent company, YellowMan, Roger Ingerton has produced many original pieces of art exclusively for YellowMan and YMX, all of which continue to be top sellers in both lines.

Read more about Roger Ingerton at

Read what Roger Ingerton has to say about himself in an archived article on this blog.

See what Roger’s wife Margaret has to say about his Maori influenced artwork.

Ingerton's Moko-based art holds a common theme at YMXbyYellowman.

Roger Ingerton's recent "Animal Kingdom" shirt for YellowMan demonstrates his gift for combining traditional Maori art with his own contemporary interpretation.

YellowMan unveils artist Roger Ingerton's Animal Kingdom tattoo shirt.

New Zealand tattoo artist Roger Ingerton has been tattooing since nine years old, when he accidentally jabbed a pencil in his hand. His skills have since been refined, specifically diving into traditional Celtic, Samoan and Maori Tā moko art. YellowMan’s new Animal Kingdom tattoo shirt (retail $180) exemplifies Ingerton’s signature art style, which infuses his broad treatment of ethnic styles in a contemporary execution.

The back of Roger Ingerton's Animal Kingdom shirt borrows motifs from traditional Maori Moko art.

Ingerton’s Animal Kingdom shirt presents a kaleidoscope of fantastical creatures of land and sea, executed in a mesmerizing Escher-like puzzle. Perhaps the signature of the piece is the back, featuring a Maori Tā moko face, or mask, design, also infused with animals of various kind. Amidst all the traditional Polynesian and Samoan motifs Ingerton inserts American Traditional elements, such as hearts, sparrows, and angels.

Example of traditional Maori Tā moko.

YellowMan’s Animal Kingdom shirt comes just in time for the 2010 holiday season. It makes a perfect, festive, original gift. Made with YellowMan’s silky-soft, high-quality MadKool fabric, it offers exceptional comfort and can be worn as a formal or casual garment. Its moisture-wicking fabric properties also makes it a perfect base layer or athletic garment. It’s vivid, sharp colors are fade resistant, and although the art will make you want to treat it with kid gloves, you can wear it hard. What more could you ask for in a garment!

Check out YellowMan’s Animal Kingdom tattoo shirt here.

Moko photo above, courtesy of Inked Plus Blog.

Anyone who visited the 2009 Tattoo Sleeves Exhibition in Miami, an original art exhibition coinciding with Art Basel and the Wynwood Walls project, will remember the stunning original tattoo artwork on display. The exhibition featured over 25 of the world’s top tattoo artists, spanning a wide range of styles and motifs. Only a handful of the works on display there had been reproduced as collectible, wearable art YellowMan shirts, and many lucky gallery-goers walked away wearing them.

Now, a year following the Tattoo Sleeves Exhibition, YellowMan tattoo clothing fans around the world are chomping at the bit for more. Requests for new tattoo shirts, beyond the wide array of designs already available at, have been mounting. The truth is, YellowMan fans just can’t get enough!

Well… we’ll let you in on a little secret. YellowMan is gearing up to unveil two new YellowMan tattoo shirts that will knock your socks off. The original tattoo sleeve art for both shirts were on display at the Tattoo Sleeves Exhibition in Miami and received a great deal of attention.

Original tattoo sleeve art by Taiwanese artist Chia, as displayed at the 2009 Tattoo Sleeves Exhibition in Miami, represents one piece of art in YellowMan's upcoming shirt unveiling for the 2010 holiday season.

YellowMan’s two new tattoo shirt designs for the 2010 Holiday season will include one design for Men and one for Women. Both are equally exquisite, and will make perfect, unique, meaningful gifts, although we suspect you will want to keep them for yourself once you see them.

To be the first in line to order one of these new YellowMan shirts, be sure you are on the YellowMan mailing list. You will be alerted as soon as they are available!

A YellowMan sleeve design by New Zealand artist Roger Ingerton, as displayed at the 2009 Tattoo Sleeves Exhibition in Miami.

The style section of today’s New York Times featured a story on Disney as a “Lifestyle Brand” (Disney by Design by Brooks Barnes). The article included a nice picture of two special edition YellowMan shirts made for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Readers of the article wouldn’t know that, though, as the article did not include a credit, or point them in a direction where they could get one of the “Hipster T-shirts”.

So, if you want to find them, we’ve provided you with some information here.

Pictured in the article are two shirts, one is Cursed Ship by tattoo master Filip Leu, and the other is Pirate’s Code by New Zealand’s Roger Ingerton.


Roger Ingerton – Part Two

Posted: May 8, 2007 by Andreas Engel in Tattoo Artist Bios
Tags: , , ,

By Margaret Ingerton

In 1977 Roger moved to his present, much larger premises at 198 Cuba St. He intended to call the new shop ‘Roger’s Tattooart’, but on the new business card, the printer dropped one of the t’s in ‘Tattoo’. Roger liked the printer’s version, so he kept it. Hence – ‘Roger’s Tatooart’. I work with him. My job is dealing with the people who phone or come in with queries, and I organise his appointments. In short, I run the business, and he does the art.More...
In the late seventies Roger pioneered the development of Maori style tattooing (apart from the Moko). Much of the work he did in this style was his own freehand adaptation of traditional patterns. He says he has learnt a lot from Maori artists who have supplied him with patterns to be tattooed for themselves and their friends and families. He loves this style of tattooing, and has a real feel for the flow of Pacific Island patterns. It was probably this type of work, along with a pe’a he did in 1982 that first won him accolades, especially from overseas. In America particularly, his work was acclaimed. Ed Hardy published many photos of Roger’s work in the ‘TattooTime’, and National Tattoo Association published a steady stream of his work…

In 1980 when Roger and I went to our first international Tattoo Convention in Sacramento, he realised that photography was the only practical way to present a good tattoo art piece. He began to take more photos of his work.
He designs many of the tattoos himself. Sometimes people bring him exact pictures of what they want, but more often they have an idea, or a ‘sort of a picture’ and he takes it from there. He is intuitive, and has a talent for interpreting people’s ideas, even when they are not very articulate. He takes their idea, makes a few quick lines on a bit of paper, and says ‘Like this?’ Most often it is ‘like that’, and the person’s face lights up.
The whole concept of tattooing has changed and evolved in the years Roger has been in Cuba Street, and he has been at the forefront of that change. Although a lot of clients still get just one or two small tattoos, many keep coming back. Among Roger’s strengths is the ability to plan ahead, to make everything he does look complete, but at the same time making provision to add to it if the client decides to do so.
The small tattoos have changed too. Gone are the days of standard flash. Nowadays people are asking for smaller and finer designs, with ever more intricate detail. Roger has honed his system to deal with these just as well as the large, bold tattoos. He often says that the most important tattoo is the one he is doing now. The shop gets extremely busy, at times there are up to seven or eight people clamouring to speak to him, while he may be grappling with a very demanding piece of work. When that happens I have to do the best I can to help, trying to interrupt him as little as possible. People come from all over New Zealand and from overseas to get work from Roger.
The shop is set out the way he likes it – as a gallery with some old style flash, a range of photographs of his work, and lots of his own paintings and drawings in different mediums. The latter include works done in mixed media, water paints, oils, and pen and pencil drawings, some of which have been exhibited in various Wellington galleries. All of the above combine to give the shop an ‘olde worlde’ look, as well as a hint of the tremendous creative energy that has gone into the making of it People often comment on the good atmosphere. Although he has changed and updated some of the displays over the years, the shop still has essentially the same feel as it did when he opened in 1977. Until 1990, Roger ran the place by himself, with help from me. Since that year, we have sometimes had other artists working with us.
One of our aims is to make anyone who comes into the shop feel comfortable. We want people like the mature executive who recently got a rose tattooed on her shoulder to be as much at ease as any young man about town. Children come in and watch while Mum or Dad gets a tattoo, and shy young women sense that they are in a safe place. The shop is open – people can see what is going on, although of course we provide privacy when the client requires it. Parents who may not even want their offspring to get tattoos will sometimes bring teenagers to us. Their reasoning is that if the kids are determined to be tattooed, they’d better steer them to the right place.
Fashions in tattoos change. Peacocks, anchors, armbands in various styles and mixtures of styles – people still ask for these. Maori, Celtic, black tribal and abstract designs are always in demand, but there are ever increasing numbers of new, modern ideas presented from tiny symbols to full body pieces. Samoan and other Pacific Island patterns are also very popular. As with the earlier Maori work, Roger has increased his knowledge by working with ethnic artists who furnish him with artwork for their own and their friends’ tattoos. One way or another, nearly all the work Roger does now is custom work. He likes a challenge, which is just as well because he is presented with many every day.

There is a story for every tattoo and this is part of the story of a tattooed man who became a tattooer of others.




Roger’s TatooArt
198 Cuba Street,
New Zealand.
Operating uninterrupted at this location since 1977

(04) 3845242
A call from the US in the evening will connect you to New Zealand mid day on the following day


PO Box 6407
Marion Square,
New Zealand.

Roger Ingerton
By Roger Ingerton

My first tattoo was an accident. A jab from a sharp pencil into my palm left a mark – a tiny blue-black dot. I was only nine years old, but I came to realise it might be a permanent part of me, that it was an addition. It is still there and I’ve studied it often, pondering the potential ……….

When I was sixteen, a friend showed me how to prick dots into the skin using black ink and sewing needles wrapped with cotton. I was hooked. Immediately I tattooed a crude bird into the back of my left hand. Then a large dragon on my left biceps.
My tattoo journey had begun.
A few months later, I joined the merchant navy, signed on a cargo ship and left my home town of Wellington, bound for South Australia. From our first port of call, Lyttleton, I went to Christchurch, where I got my first professional tattoo. The artist was Emil MacSweeney, known as ‘Mac’. My main memory is of how much the tattoo hurt! At seventeen, the pain involved in being tattooed drove everything else from my mind. But I left Mac’s place with a beautiful dragon on the inside of my right arm.
It was vastly different from my own efforts. For one thing it had colour, which took longer to heal than black – the healing process took a week. At first the tattooed area felt hot and slightly swollen. By the next day, it was only a little tender and beginning to form a protective scab. As this started to flake off a few days later, tiny glimpses of the colours appeared. When the last scales fell off, revealing the glowing colours – iridescent green, the reddest red you could imagine, blue, brown, yellow, a work of art.
In February 1957 I moved to Sydney, Australia. I lived on the waterfront, made a local hotel my home and did some tattoos out in the beer garden, and a few more at various patrons’ homes. Stone terrace houses in the ‘Rocks’ area above Darling Harbour, boarding houses in Piermont, and rooms in Kings Cross – my home-made equipment and I ended up in some strange places.


As soon as I got a job and saved some money, I was ready to collect some more professional tattoos.
Alex Chater was known throughout the Pacific as a fine tattooist. I got several tattoos from him in his small shop in Paddington. Australia’s most tattooed man (at that time), was sitting in the tiny waiting area when I first went to the shop. He was like a being from another planet! His body was a mosaic of design and swirling, merging patterns, a riot of coloured skin. I squeezed in between him and a couple of sailors, and the atmosphere took me over. The buzz of the electric machine and the smells of cigarette smoke, sweat, antiseptic and beer, was an intoxicating mixture!


On my first visit, I selected a design of a geisha girl. Later, Alex tattooed a peacock, and a small dove for me; they are just as neat and tidy today as when they were first done.
Sailor Bill, the only other tattooist I knew of, worked from the verandah of a terrace house in Liverpool Street, in Paddington. When I first went to see him, he told me he was blind in one eye, and had a mosquito bite in the other! However, in spite of such afflictions, he did a good job covering a couple of my own left-handed attempts, on my right arm. Next time I went to see him, he drew a very neat dragon on my arm, without using a stencil. This impressed me. Over the next few months he did several repair jobs, along with some good new work for me.
I left Sydney and went to Melbourne where I visited Dickie Reynolds shop.
Dick ‘Dickie’ Reynolds was known throughout the seafaring community for his artistry and his distinctive style. His tattoos seemed to be simple line drawings with glowing colour and delicate shading. I asked him if he would do a small devil, on the inside of my right arm. ‘No trouble,’ he said. ‘Sit down son.’ Twenty minutes later, I had a marvellous little devil. Dick didn’t use a stencil, nor did he draw it on first – he just started up his machine and tattooed it on!


Next stop Port Adelaide.
In between ships, I did a lot of tattooing and made some extra income, usually in the form of gifts of food or alcohol, but occasionally cash – my first ‘professional’ work!
In 1958 I joined a Norwegian ship that spent the next year on a run between south and east Australia, the Pacific Islands, and N.Z. My Scandinavian fellow crew members asked me to decorate their arms and legs, and other bits dragons and birds were popular then.
A couple of years later I ended up back home in Wellington… I met Kevin Gray, who was just getting established in Wellington as a professional tattooist. I got a couple of tattoos done in his shop, some cover-up work on my chest, and some new work on my arms.

By 1967 I was still travelling. Along the way, I’d become a ticketed rigger and scaffolder. After another spell in Sydney I accepted a position as a working supervisor, on a power station construction site in Jamaica. I lived in a small town called Mandeville and my tattoos intrigued the locals. They called me ‘the white Rasta’ – a title I appreciated as the Rastafarians were a creative group in their society.
When the job finished, I returned to Australia. On the way I met up again with Kevin Gray in Wellington. One day he put an electric tattoo machine in my hand and said, ‘Have a go!’ I did a bit of colouring in and enjoyed the experience…

About this time I met Margaret, who was to become my wife and partner. We flew to Sydney a few days before Christmas, 1969. Early in the New Year Kevin visited us in Sydney, and he introduced me to Wally Hammond who had opened a tattoo shop in Darlinghurst Road in King’s Cross.
Wally asked me to do some drawing for him, and then suggested that I fill in some work he had outlined.
I started doing complete works, and became a full-time tattooist in early 1970.

Ingerton Tattoo Design

Wally’s shop was on the first floor of an apartment building in the main street, with a balcony over the footpath of the most colourful area in the ‘Cross’. I am indebted to Wally who taught me how to make machines, make up needles and transfers, and mix colours. We worked together during the day and I ran the shop on my own in the evenings. Wally had taught himself about electrical machines, and about colour pigments. The inside of his left arm glowed with rainbow colours; hundreds of little dots and scars of every hue, indelible reminders of pigments he’d tested on himself – an idea that I adopted.
The Cross at that time was a rest and recreation area for the troops fighting in the Vietnam war. We tattooed soldiers, sailors, locals and travellers, almost anybody, anything, anywhere, anytime!
During quiet periods, I did a lot of drawing, mostly traditional designs. Some of these I still use today.
I started looking for new material and the first art books I got had the work of Escher and Dali amongst others. These images inspired me. I also discovered the art of Albrecht Durer, Van Gogh, and the surrealists. My job was becoming more and more fascinating. I liked drawing – on skin! I had always been good at drawing; it seemed to come naturally to me. I was becoming a freehand artist, that is, I was tending to draw the designs directly onto the skin instead of using transfers. Bill Furness of Melbourne, retired tattoo artist and a friend of all in the tattoo game made my first machines for me. I’m still using these machines.
I left Wally’s shop in 1971 and opened my own place at North Bondi.
At this time I also started painting. I did a number of small works and found myself engrossed by both painting and tattooing.

Ingerton Pirtates of the Caribbean Tattoo ShirtRoger Ingerton’s Pirates of the Caribbean Tattoo Shirt

Margaret and I returned to Wellington in February 1972 where I took over Kevin Gray’s shop in Vivian Street and began four years of fine art studies at Victoria University in painting drawing and printmaking.
I met Samoan tattooists, Paulo Suluape and Sefo Pasina, and watched them working in their traditional way. I also became interested in Maori art, including Moko. Appreciation in the art of Tattooing was growing. News media, film and video, and photographers; all contributed to a worldwide exchange of information. We became more aware of the work being done in Japan, America, Europe, and many other cultures. A Tattoo renaissance! I began to introduce new elements into my work. The biggest influences on me at this stage were Japanese and Maori tattooing…


Roger’s TatooArt
198 Cuba Street,
New Zealand.
Operating uninterrupted at this location since 1977

(04) 3845242
A call from the US in the evening will connect you to New Zealand mid day on the following day


PO Box 6407
Marion Square,
New Zealand.