Oliver Fagalilo takes a labored breath and tenses his body before a sharp steel comb, dipped in ink, is driven into his skin.

Six hands keep him still and his skin taut as a Samoan artist works on the traditional tattoo that will cover more than half of his body. It takes 35 hours over seven days to complete.

"Yeah, I'm going good, just trying to breathe, but it's quite hard to breathe," said Fagalilo, his uncle cradling his head. "Just trying to push through. Trying to focus."