Five (un)finished tattoos as an ode to deceased artist Steve: ‘really an artist’

The death of tattoo artist Steve Mahakena has hit like a bomb among his acquaintances. Not only family, friends and acquaintances, customers are also stunned by the news that he was found dead ‘under suspicious circumstances’ last Tuesday in an apartment on Egholm in Hoofddorp. NH News reminisces about him with five of his customers.

Tattoos done by Steve Mahakena – Own photos

Cindy Kramer (43), Leimuiden

“A phoenix with tribal effects”, Cindy Kramer from Leimuiden describes the tattoo she had done last summer in Steve’s shop Pax in the Symfonie shopping center in Nieuw-Vennep. “At the top of my left forearm, from wrist to elbow.”

The phoenix is ​​Cindy’s fifth tattoo. “And the first one I had put on Steve.” She met him through a friend. “We were in touch via the app, I sent him photos and made the design with him on site,” she recalls the ‘nice time’ she spent with Steve in his business in Nieuw-Vennep.

To update

“Actually, I had to go back to have something touched up,” she says. It is a speck that she would have liked to have colored a bit more. “But then everyone in my family got sick and it never happened again.”

With Steve gone, she cherishes the imperfection of her tattoo and has decided not to let anyone else finish it. “It’s something he put.”

Tattoo Cindy Kramer – done by Steve Mahakena – Tattoo Cindy Kramer – done by Steve Mahakena

Jolanda van der Pijl (54), New Vennep

Jolanda van der Pijl runs Grandcafé Maze in Vennepse Sint Anthoniusstraat, but she knew Steve not only as a fellow entrepreneur, but also personally. “For about twenty years. When I had my first tattoo done with him, he was still in Hoofddorp.”

They lost touch for a while, but when Steve opened his tattoo studio in the Symfonie shopping center in Nieuw-Vennep, they got back in touch. And let Jolanda get more tattoos. How many of Steve’s creations does she have on her body? “Then I have to count them: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, I think.”


There is no common thread to be discovered: the tattoos Steve made vary from flowers to headphones and a microphone and a sign of eternal love for her daughter.

She can hardly believe he is gone. “He was really my friend,” she says. “Such a darling, his jokes, his things, a delightful man, truly an artist.”

Tattoos Jolanda van der Pijl, set by Steve Mahakena – Own photos

Viviana Woudenberg van der Elst (56), New Vennep

“Day that he tattooed for KWF (see video below, ed.), I had him place a tattoo,” says Viviane Woudenberg from Vennep. “A hummingbird with peonies, a beautiful tattoo.”

Tattoo marathon for the KWF – NH News

She will remember Steve as ‘a nice, quiet man with an interest in people. “Including why you want a tattoo,” emphasizes Viviana. “What happened to him is a shock, he was a welcome man who always raised his hand when he walked by.”

‘Most beautiful flowers’

“Why are the most beautiful flowers picked first?” Viviana wonders. She finds it difficult to comprehend that he would have been killed, which has not yet been officially confirmed. “That someone else can decide when you have to leave earthly existence. It is a loss for many, a beautiful and above all creative person has been taken from us.”

Tattoo Viviana Woudenberg van der Elst – Viviana Woudenberg van der Elst

Milan Roest (20), Rijsenhout

20-year-old Milan from Rijsenhout is devastated that Steve is gone, and that’s not just because his tattoo isn’t finished yet. “He was my gabber,” he tells NH News. Milan burst into tears when he heard the news and still can’t believe it.

Milan recently had Steve put a so-called sleeve (fully tattooed arm), in stages. “We spent quite a few hours together. I visited him two weeks ago and had another appointment in two weeks to finish the tattoo. Now my arm is still open at my elbow,” he says.

“Then I’ll have his date of birth put in it, as a tribute”

Milan Roest about his tattoo

Milan is still unsure whether he wants to finish the tattoo, because Steve had developed his own style, which he describes as freehand polynesian/maori. That amounts to freehand tattooing of typical Polynesian and Maori linework.

If he finds someone who can complete the tattoo as desired, he also wants to incorporate a lasting memory of Steve into it. “Then I’ll have his date of birth put in it, as a tribute.”

Unfinished sleeve by Milan Roest (20), set by Steve Makahena – Own photos

Claudia Raams (50), Hoofddorp

“When I read the news last night, I shed a few tears,” says Claudia Raams (50) from Hoofddorp. “It’s very strange, unreal.” I knew him from my first tattoo, about a year ago now: “A text on my spine.”

After that first tattoo, another followed. “A branch with small flowers along my chest,” she says. “We were going to make another appointment to expand it, but that was no longer possible.”

‘with a smile’

In addition to a business relationship, she had also built a personal relationship with Steve. “We spoke via Whatsapp and in the mall. Two weeks ago I was still playing with him. I could always go crazy with him, and always with a smile.”

Now that Steve has passed away, Claudia has also decided not to have her tattoo expanded. “I’ll leave it as it is, because it was set by him.”

Tattoos Claudia Raams, done by Steve Mahakena – Own photos