I was in search for a specifically skilled artist in order to finish a certain part of my life's journey. The person I was looking for had to be able to combine the traditional art form of TA MOKO with my already existing artwork, a wild mixture that represents milestones of experience in my life. Most importantly, he had to be able to see what was needed to complete the work on my skin into something that felt right.
I have been drawn to TA MOKO since young age, kept meeting fine people and artwork of the tradition itself. I resonate deeply with the flow of the design, have great respect for the craft, be it executed in wood, Pounamu, weaving or visual art.
When I finally found Shane Coley's portfolio, saw the variations which he could create, designed for the individual subject he was working on, the way he made the shapes fit the spot on their bodies, it blew me away. I immediately knew it was his work I wanted on my skin. I was hesitant at the time, because I honestly did not know how to make time and space for a trip North. I was living in Sydney at the time and pushed a nine to five in the suburbs. But if one wants a Renoir, one must go visit Renoir, not Monet.
I finally managed to take leave and packed up. Met my old friend further north and turned it into a mad road trip with her kids. They dropped me off in the woods, right in Shane's driveway. His studio is located by a serpentine road in the rainforest, inland from the Gold Coast.
One finds the retreat in midst of tall, old gum trees. The wooden house is spacious, feels warm and welcoming. The space radiates life. The wood crackles under the sun's heat. The walls are of golden planks that send off their resinous scent. Healthy, beautiful.
Up in the loft, Shane had set up his actual studio. Light broke through the various windows, I could see trees and blue sky, wherever I cast my eyesight. Wooden artefacts looked on as he cleared the space with holy woods and herbs. He did not miss performing important rituals up front, either. Lying there, after having happily agreed to his freehand designs across my body, certainly felt special. I knew that this would be a good experience, before he set on to touch me with the needle. The following hours were spent in quiet and focussed concentration, the atmosphere was charged with creative and healing energies, exactly what I came for. Getting tattooed is always painful and requires full concentration and discipline from both participants. It felt like teamwork: I kept still as a rock, a breathing rock - and he aligned himself with my rhythm and drove the machine. When we finally finished up after the second day, I felt beautiful, clean and somehow new, revitalised, ready for the next chapter of my life.
Shane has the ability to see the lines across the body, before they are drawn and tattooed. His exquisite sense of aesthetics is reflected from every corner of his workspace and I now wear a piece of it on my skin, forever.
His bookshelf is a very interesting aspect, as well.
I believe that Shane Coley is an extraordinary, multi-experienced individual. He emanates a calm and professional, yet human and connectable energy and his work represents his qualities in each example.
When I require more ink, I will travel to him, again - even though I am now living on the other side of earth.
I will make time. That's all it takes and it is worth it.
My Atua healing session and tattoo experience with Shane is difficult to put into words. It sounds cliché but simply put, it has literally changed my life for the positive. I count it as one of the most sacred, spiritual experiences I've ever had. I came to Shane full of anxiety, fear, doubt, a bit of a mess emotionally. Now I have new strength, fresh outlook, a peace of spirit, a calm and solidarity I've not previously felt in my life. A positive energy that still pulses with joy and motivates me to be the best I can.
I'd been struggling with some big life challenges. I'm a Cancer survivor, the death of my father who I was so close to, my pillar of strength. Also, I recently left the religion of my youth after being an active member all my life. It sounds like no big deal but I can't express the difficulty of this transition. To members of that faith, leaving the church is worse than death. It caused and is currently causing massive strain in my family.
I sought after a tattoo to commemorate these experiences and symbolize a new beginning. Having lived in New Zealand for a couple of years as a young man, I love the Maori people and their beautiful culture. I love the Ta Moko art, it's intricate line work, use of negative space, it's symbolism and storytelling. But I didn't want just ink, I wanted an experience. An artist that understood my struggle in some way and could capture emotion into the piece.
May sound strange to some but I feel I was led to Shane and Atua healing. Not only is his Ta Moko and tattoo skill world class but he also understands the spiritual aspects of the art. After reading his bio I knew he was the only one I wanted to do my tattoo. That's why I travelled all the way from the U.S.
Before we began any tattooing, we started with an Atua healing session. The environment was peaceful and relaxing. Shane's demeanor and personality is uplifting and illicit confidence and trust. During the session there is a portion in which I could send my intentions to the universe/pray/meditate/express my desires quietly in my mind. Completely unknown to Shane, during that time I was asking earnestly for help with my greatest fear. Does my dad accept me getting a tattoo and the path I'm taking? Leaving the faith he devoted his entire life to. My anxiety seemed overwhelming. In that exact moment Shane spoke (which I learned later that he normally wouldn't during a session but felt very impressed upon to do so), he said, "Chris, your father is here. He wants you to know that he's happy with the path your on and that it's all part of one truth. He's cool with it!" I felt the presence of my father, his warming love, his approval and acceptance. Emotion welled up out of me for a moment in wracking sobs and then I was at complete peace. Peace I've never experienced before. I felt lighter and couldn't contain the joy, I'd break out in laughter every time I looked in the mirror, it felt so good. It lasted through 2 days of tattooing and has continued with me everyday since as I look at my beautiful tattoo and am reminded.
I am overjoyed with my experience and would recommend and encourage people to experience for themselves. I am daily grateful to Shane for removing the shame, doubt, fears, all the emotional blocks that were so heavy to carry and stopping me from progressing. Now, I am proactively pursuing joy in my life. I am focused and determined to move forward in love and positivity.
I absolutely adore my tattoos. You did such amazing job of pulling together the elements I spoke to you about and I could not be any happier. The intention behind these was to draw on my recent months of introspection, enlightenment, pain and growth, to give myself a lifetime reminder of who I am at this moment of my existence and how I got here, my connection to a passed love one, home, land and sea, my feminine empowerment, my divinity and the feeling of peace and connection to my pure consciousness now that I am no longer fighting against the current of life.
I can feel so deeply that whilst to the eye the tattoo represents this all for me, it was the Atua Healing that truly manifested the essence of these intentions into the piece.
It’s like the healing tapped into the vibration of the words and thoughts of where this tattoo originated in my heart and turned that energy into the lines you etched into my skin. I felt a strong sense of clarity and harmonisation of my energy and that feeling of harmony hasn’t left me since. I feel balanced and grounded. The tattoo aside, the healing was a beautiful cleansing experience.
I’m honoured to have the intention behind my piece so beautifully represented through such a sacred practice. You have an amazing gift and the ability to create a very soulful and powerful experience for those who feel drawn to this.
Much peace, love, gratitude and respect x
I am extremely happy with my tattoo from Shane, which sits both literally and spiritually close to my heart. Every line he drew was intentional and considered. The resulting symbology resonates strongly with me and what I expressed when we talked at the beginning of the session.
Having never experienced an atua healing before, I wasn't sure what to expect but after hearing my friend talk about it I decided to open myself up to a new experience. During the healing I felt very calm, I let my mind go where it wanted and it felt similar to a meditative experience.
The tattoo I got is in quite a vulnerable place but I never felt uncomfortable with that. I felt at ease and knew I was in safe (and professional) hands throughout. The result of this experience is a tattoo I am absolutely in love with and a new appreciation for the practice of atua.
My Atua tattoo session with Shane started to move some fears that were dominating my life. It seemed to create movement that I needed to get to the next level. The combination of being tattooed by Shane and experiencing what he brings to the work and being open enough to receive the healing is challenging but I love that. For me it brought big shifts within myself. Some I'm ready for and some I'll get to a bit later when the time is right for me. This work shows me that when I get tattooed by Shane it's an exchange of energy, it's not just ink marking my skin. I can be open and trust myself. I can go within and the work can be transformative.
When Jodi came to me for her tattoo she wanted something with meaning, something that for her stood as a representation of her inner strength and bringing forth significant moments in her life where she found solace and grounding. To Jodi there are three symbols that embody these qualities. They were used to create her tattoo and in doing so her vibration of strength and connection to her higher self was activated.
Combining the ritual of receiving her tattoo on a spiritual level with an Atua healing really encompasses and enabled the energy and shifts Jodi required to move forward in what was a difficult and stuck period of her life.
A tattoo is such a powerful representation of growth, change, movement and empowerment to the wearer and including the Atua healing in the process is a wonderful way of connecting the significance of the tattoo to the higher self and the power we all have within us to heal and create an elevated version of ourselves. To trigger a move forward through any blockages that are causing us to be stuck. We are ultimately the creators of our own lives and reality. We are one with the universe and when we connect to that level anything is possible.
Atua Healing can be done on its own or incorporated into receiving your tattoo.
There are two kinds of people who want tattoos. Those who want pictures….and those who want story’s. Those who want stories are looking for more than a tattoo. They want a genuine connection with the artist, who through self and spirit, guide the hand of the artist to create an impression that is deeply personal for the client. If this is what you seek, look no further than Shane Gallagher Coley.
The complete professional, Shane combined my Maori and Aboriginal ancestry into a piece of work that honours the beauty of indigenous cultures. I am inspired and humbled each time I look into the mirror and see this amazing work of art he gave me. Thank you!
I wanted to express a subtle but definitive statement reflecting my heritage and place in the world. I had an idea of the elements I wanted to include based on a bark cloth given to me by my family. Shane combined these to create a unique design that perfectly captured my story and how I interact with the world around me.
I feel like it fits me perfectly and as the ink sinks into my skin, I feel more and more like it’s been there forever, waiting for the right moment to appear. A little apprehension (my first tattoo) soon gave way to complete calm and peace as the consult began and this tone continued throughout the session.
The dedication and discipline Shane invests in his craft is nurtured with sincere dignity and grace. Genuine soul delivered with absolute integrity – a true artisan of the finest making – that I deeply respect and highly recommend.
Thank you, Shane.
I have followed Shane’s work since he released Koru In Lines Volume 1. I am one of those people who believes in "you get what you pay for" and boy was I wrong. I got a lot more than what I paid for. It wasn’t just a Moko, it was the entire experience from the second I sat down with him. Shane obviously spent time considering my first requests sent via email as I lived interstate. When I arrived he patiently guided me through the process from conception to the final product. He is so skilled with the free hand that at each stage of the process I was completely blown away with his design, thoughtful consideration of my requests and the speed at which he worked. I totally recommend Shane to anyone who takes this seriously and requires a man of absolute faultless skill and guidance. I left feeling as though money wasn’t enough payment and have the utmost respect and admiration for a man at the top of his profession.
Thanks bro. I had to dig deep for that one. We went back to my Marae. It was good to be home and a blessing. I knew and felt I was in trusting hands, thank you, and for helping me through it. I felt you did bro. Your character and Mauri let alone your work speaks loud and clear. You run deep. When we finished I was still absorbing the journey we took and also taking in the koha you had just given.
Bro I actually felt we were in a realm at the time. Thank you bro, it took me home.