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The Tattoos Works of Samuel Morgan Shaw

Kulture Tattoo

My name is Samuel Morgan Shaw and I am the owner of Kulture Tattoo, located on the beautifully lush island of Kauai. I began my career with my previous tattoo studios: Human Rites Tattoo and Hanalei Tattoo in 1998. My tattoo work focuses primarily on Polynesian tattooing, and all tattoos relating to cultural influence and importance. My lifelong interest in ancient and indigenous cultures led me on my path, giving me a personal animistic view of the universe. The talismanic properties of tattoos have always been at the core of my interest driving me further into exploring the roots of tattooing culture and history. When the missionaries arrived in Polynesia, tattooing was banned and the practice nearly wiped out. Slowly, it emerged again, and made a comeback despite attempts to banish it. My passion is to help support cultural revival and to keep the indigenous cultures alive through this unique art form.

My evolution into becoming a specialist in Polynesian art and cultural art was a very slow process that continues to this day. Living on the island of Kauai with the unique blend of cultures, years of study, traveling, and having been blessed with some of the best Polynesian tattoo artists in the world as my mentors all contributed to my understanding of the meanings in Polynesian tattoos and symbols. Humankind has made huge advancements in technology, yet, despite our evolution, we have lost touch with the world around us. Personal connections have been replaced by electronic ones. Tattooing reminds us of our human connection, the connection to our roots and serve as reminders of who we are in a fast changing world. I strive to keep this connection alive with my art.

2013 marks my 20th year as a tattoo artist and it felt appropriate to celebrate by sharing a more thorough look into my work and creative process. Oral tradition is one way many cultures keep their history alive. The symbolic meanings of my work can only be learned by travel and the passionate intention to learn through delving into a culture firsthand. For this reason, the symbols on my website are not backed by written meaning; inviting the viewer to find their own inspiration to learn more.

For appointments. Please reach me directly via text at 808-631-6130 or email me at

Please make your appointments in advance as my schedule varies from month to month. Most of my work is free-hand so there is no design process. We talk story and I make your tattoo. Simple as that. I require a 50 dollar deposit on all appointments. 

When it comes to Polynesian and cultural tattoos you must understand that so much study goes into each and every tattoo.  Often I see a “Polynesian” tattoo that has a  bunch a symbols put together yet it has no meaning and no Mana, the spiritual energy that makes the backbone of your tattoo.. You don’t want a meaningless tattoo that just looks good. Time after time we see tattoos where the wearer has no understanding of what he has tattooed. This is a disrespectful approach to the indiginous ways. To avoid this please seek out those who truley have studied this beautiful art form and those that honor the many cultures through out the Pacific and world.

Aloha and thank you for looking at my work

Samuel Morgan Shaw


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