“Completely tattooed Mario and Yvonne’s inspiration is derived from the Marquesas Islands in the Polynesian Pacific, it is from there that the word ‘tatow’ or‘tatau’ meaning to mark something originates.
For centuries the Marquesas were known and feared due to the cannibalistic rituals of the inhabitants. Entire groups of tribes-men, women and children were tattooed from their fingertips to their toes, under the hairline, on their genitals and even in their mouths. Boys and girls as young as eight were tattooed in preparation for puberty and the process for many was not complete until the age of 30. The Marquesas are famous for their solid black and layered tattooing known as ‘pahupahu’, this can be seen on Mario’s body and on Yvonne’s arms. Traditionally it was commonly applied to boys or warriors as a disguise and separated them from all other Polynesian tattoo forms. Nowhere in the world even today can this, the extremist of all tattooing be found.
As with the Marquesas Mario and Yvonne share the same philosophy, seeing themselves as living and ongoing works of art, something to be treasured in their own right. Approximately 95% of Mario’s body is tattooed in multiple layers and each layer incorporates a wide variety of designs and symbols that pertain to ‘Yantra’ , the magical diagram. In 1990 Mario began experimenting with various designs relating to the Marquesas, a process that has since progressed to a mixture of Marquesas, Thai and Hindu designs. In 1991 he was tattooed by Luang Pee Paw, a life long monk whose mantras have been tattooed between designs in Sanskrit and an ancient Khmer language. Over the years Mario has been tattooed in oil in the unseen diagrams of yantra, this is said to protect him in life and to ward of sickness. He also wears the layered tattooing of pahupahu that can be seen in the matrix layers running down the left side of his body. Yvonne is his partner and she has her personal beliefs tattooed within designs on her body, many of these have been incorporated into the background of the artwork in both English and German. Yvonne’s designs are a mixture of Chinese, Buddhism and Hindu. Though the majority of triangular designs ect, are from the Marquesas, Taumotu, Austral, Gambier and Society Islands, all part of the Polynesian pacific. Yvonne has pahupahu running down her arms and her designs emphasize a strong sense of balance, direction, rhythm, unity and emphasis, something that she has previously learnt as a designer. Yvonne lays on designs representing fertility and womanhood, an important part and feature of the Marquesas Islands. The background to this artwork has over 200 Marquesas tattoo designs that hold many profound and symbolic meanings, one of which represents the bond and distinction between a man and a woman. Other motives relate to one’s life history, land of origin, social level, work and activities, there are motives relating to seduction, mystic symbols and symbols representing honour and protection the meanings ”