The idea of tiki tattoos brings to mind large, detailed statues and masks mingled with bold floral designs, beautiful hula girls and colorful outdoor images. There are over 400,000 gods and goddesses and at least 4000 carved images of each; every one with their own meaning and style. So your chances of finding something perfect are very good.
Many people like their tiki tattoos to feature the beautiful, well carved totems in their most recognizable, wooden form. These can be done either by themselves, or within a background of a sandy beach, frothy azure waves coming in and palm trees swaying in the breeze. They may also be surrounded by exotic Hawaiian beauties, or a kitschy 1950s beach crowd. A few of the most regularly used tiki gods are Kane Milohai (who created the universe, and is a symbol of a full life); Lono (who is a god of rain, peace and music, and is a symbol of fertility), and Ku (the god of war, and a symbol of brute force and fear). Kane Milohai and the god of the sea Kanaloa are often paired together in art, and thus can be used in many tiki tattoos to represent the wild forces of the sea, and the taming powers of nature.
Some people prefer to create tiki tattoos that appear in a totem style. These often feature different tiki masks with gods that signify different emotions and powers. For instance, you could place the mask of Hina (the goddess of love) atop the mask of Haumea (the goddess of fertility). You could also create a string of varying tiki masks to create an armband, or place them on a large area of the body to create something akin to a colorful wooden puzzle.
Many tiki tattoos that can be seen take on a cartoon style. These often make the tiki gods come alive as they may be seen in the midst of a wild dance, surfing, or seeming to come away from the skin of the wearer altogether. These are usually done in bold hues, most commonly electric blue and purple, lime green and shocking red. These generally depict some of the more aggressive deities such as Kauhuhu, Kaupe and the goddess Pele. Some people prefer to use the masks for this style, rather than the statues, as they like to create a scene of a person in an exotic locale, either scaring or enlightening the people around him.
The Hawaiian culture has held a strong fascination for many people, and tiki tattoos are one of many ways to express the interest and love of this beautiful and interesting civilization.