Peter Sulu Ape

About Me

Su'a Peter Suluape, Master Tattooist, is the son of renowned Samoan traditional tattoo artist, Su'a Suluape Petelo Alaiva'a. At the young age of 8 he was introduced to the world of tatau by assisting with his father's work as a stretcher and at 15 he began assisting his father in the crafting of traditional tools. Peter received his own tatau "pe'a" for his 19th birthday from his father. This process completely changed his outlook on life and as a result he decided that he would take on tattooing as his sole career path prior to which he had ambitions to become a teacher. Immediately after his 21st birthday, he made his own very first tools - 'au mogo and 'au sogi'aso - and began practicing on any brave and willing relative. Less than a month later, his father sent him to New Zealand to practice tatau there and gain some knowledge and experience away from the island shores. During his stay in New Zealand, he felt a void that was brought on by not having yet received the traditional and "official" blessing of the art of tatau from his father. After 4 years he visited Samoa and was bestowed this honor. He returned to New Zealand to continue tatau for 2 years and in 2007 decided that it was time to return home to help his father look after the aiga ("extended family") and to learn more about the art from him and in July 2007 he did just that. Peter, now 30, has represented the Suluape family and Samoa at various International Tattoo Conventions in Berlin, Tahiti, New Zealand and the USA including the 2009 BTSOE in Las Vegas hosted by Mario Barth. While he specializes in traditional Samoan tatau tools and techniques, he also uses machines for some of his other artistic work. He currently resides at Motootua, Samoa with his partner Tasha and their 4 sons with their first daughter due in April 2010.