Lane Wilcken, author of FilipinoTattoos: Ancient to Modern, is an artisan of ancient technology and art, and independent researcher, scholar, and private practitioner.
Lane is the second oldest child from a family of eight children of mixed cultural heritage. His mother is a native Ilokana blend from both Ilocos regions in the Philippines, and his father is an American of English and Scandinavian descent. On Lane’s maternal side, his family is well acquainted with the traditional spiritual beliefs of the Philippines, his grandmother being a mangngilut (midwife and healer) whose healing practices were given via communication with ancestral spirits. His great-great-grandmother was a spirit medium, or mangnganito. His grandfather was well versed in the oral traditions and practices of the past. From an early age, Lane has been interested in mythology and different cultural practices. In his childhood, Lane was taught by his parents through metaphors and analogies. His related interest in symbolism was expanded while attending Southern Utah University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Sociology with a focus in Symbolic Interactionism and a Minor in Communications.
Lane’s unique heritage, upbringing, and schooling have given him an uncommon insight into various aspects of his ancestry, such as oral traditions, spiritual communication and tattoos. He has been researching the indigenous past of the Philippines and the Pacific Islands for nearly two decades. His methodology incorporates oral tradition; written history, linguistics, personal experience and cross-cultural analysis with other Austronesian peoples to bring a fuller understanding of the origins and culture of the peoples of the Philippines. His interest in cultural tattooing was borne out of a desire to strengthen cultural pride among Pilipinos and to reunite Pilipinos symbolically and spiritually with their estranged ancestors. He resides in Las Vegas, NV, with his wife, Rebekah, and their six children. His 160-page book is filled, cover-to-cover, with helpful drawings, fascinating historic images and current full-color photographs of the tools, the designs, and the colorful inhabitants of the world of Pilipino tattoo art. It is a great reference guide for tattooists who are intrigued by other cultures and inspired by their dramatic and meaningful tattoo art.
*Write-up prepared by Philippine Expressions Bookshop for Author's Night in Los Angeles.