One of the biggest and hottest growing trends in the art of tattoo design is Hawaiian arm or leg band tattoos. As this trend goes a lot of people think to themselves, well of course. At least that is what I said to myself at first. You can hardly drive more then 10 minutes on the freeway in southern California where I am from and not see a big SUV like a Lincoln Navigator or a Cadillac Escalade and not see a Hawaiian sticker. Things with flowers designs, or turtles, dolphins. Ya see it started off with the sticker and then the car seat covers with hibiscus flowers everywhere and it just grew from there.
This trend of Hawaiian design has then met it's match with the whole tribal tattoo movement. Tribal tattoos have been the hottest thing in the tattoo world since sliced bread or the old school WWII era Hula dancer. You see these influences have been all around us for a long time my grandpa even has one of those Hula Girls tattoos still. Granted it is a little saggy and faded now but he still has one on his forearm nonetheless.
So the whole tribal tattoo and the growth in interest for Hawaiian designs have combined to make a hot and growing market for Hawaiian tattoos. This is really an up and coming thing and it not huge yet. However many tattoo artists are spotting the trend and jumping on it already.
Of course there is a lot of controversy on this subject also like anything. If you look on the internet there is a controversy about getting Kanji and Japanese Tattoos also. Anytime you try and take the designs of a culture and do not depict them accurately it creates a sense of bastardization or what I call the "Disney Effect" towards the culture. I mean how would you feel if you were in China and someone said, oh you should try this hot new restaurant out it serves this great food that is really American. They have fried chicken and apple pie that is the best." Well, at first you would be excited right? Sure it would be nice for a good home cooked meal if you have been out of the US for a long time. However once you get there you see the place has really tacky and awful reproductions of 50's art and the all the food tastes kind of strange. It would probably bee kind of close or resemble what you were thinking of but it would be missing something or a few key ingredients. I bet this would leave you feeling a little sad and like your culture was not totally understood.
Well, I can not speak for you and maybe you will feel different but I was pretty sad when after staying in Japan for 3 months I was invited to a 1950's classic hamburger joint. When we got there it was Elvis with a funny accent playing on the jukebox and when my hamburger came it had a fried egg on top of it with teriyaki sauce. WOW what a surprise that was for me. I kind of felt weird about being in the place that had tried to recreate something from my own culture.
So, the same controversy rolls on in the world of tattoos. Anytime you get a tattoo design from another culture just make sure you go with a professional. Do not have your friend trace out some Kanji in a book for a tattoo and don't go and rip some design of the internet because it states that it is Hawaiian. Go to a real custom tattoo designer and have them do the research and come up with some designs. After all this is going to be on your body for the rest of your life and since Hawaiian arm band tattoos and leg tattoos are typically big it will be a significant investment in pain, time and money to get the thing done. So you should consult with a professional and get top notch work done.