Finding Positives In The Negatives

I’m not going to go in to detail over why I won’t be getting my Phil Collins portrait next weekend (maybe I’ll write about the drama somewhere down the line), but if I have one piece of advice for you it’s: Go to the Melbourne Tattoo & Body Art Expo instead, and you won’t be left disappointed. 

 

With that being said, plans for several upcoming blog posts have been put on hold due to these recent events. I was planning on detailing the healing process of a new tattoo, comparing tattoo after care products, and reviews of both the tattoo expos in Melbourne this month. You’ll just have to check out a future issue of Inked Australia/NZ magazine for their coverage (cheap plug).

 

I’m out-of-pocket a few hundred dollars (deposit, expo tickets) because of this, however I’ve saved the money I would have spent on the tattoo, so that’s going towards getting my Japanese flower sleeve done, whenever that may be.

 

I really think it’s time for me to move out of home and move interstate like I’ve been saying for the past four to five years. I need to remove myself from this negative environment, an area of Melbourne that I’ve lived in my entire live. It’s a place where I can’t leave my house without seeing people I went to school with, the people who I have nothing in common with and all but negative memories of. As soon as I find a job, I’m packing up my things and starting fresh.

 

Over the coming weeks I’ll be listing a tonne of things that I’m selling. They’ll range from shoes, clothing, DVDs, CDs, books, jewellery (brand new 00g plugs and eyelets) and accessories; everything must go. 

 

For the foreseeable future this blog will be fairly quiet, but if you get tattooed at either of the expos feel free to share your photos of your new tattoo and your thoughts in the comments section down below.

Ink-spiration

Having gotten quite a few tattoos done in the last few months, they have come up in conversation quite frequently at work. It’s rare that I’ll go out of my way to discuss my tattoos (except for one here, of course) as I know the topic interests very few people. When my work mates see my new tattoo the first question they ask is “Why did you choose that?”

Television shows like LA Ink and NY Ink showcase the art of tattooing as a form of grieving the loss of a loved one. And for some it is. But for many people like me, tattooing is a representation of a myriad of emotions.

The inspiration behind a tattoo comes from various aspects of life, not limited to;

  • A favourite actor, band or musician
  • A person’s love of their occupation
  • Lyrics or a poem
  • Tattoo magazines
  • Art, whether it be street artists or history’s most recognised artists
  • Another person’s tattoo
  • Images found on the Internet
  • A dream or nightmare had
  • A particular tattoo style (ie. Japanese, Americana, Tribal etc)
  • Family heritage

Tattoos are not always to mask the painful memories or used as a reminder of the past. Don’t be fooled into thinking tattoo shows are a true representation of all tattooed people. Just like non-tattooed people, we’re all weird, wacky and complex creatures.

For me, personally, tattoos are an extension of my being. I’ve always been a visual and imaginative person, easily spending hours daydreaming, creating my own reality. I love how skin can be transformed from something so plain to a beautiful piece of art with nothing more than ink and needles (and some talented tattoo artists). I draw tattoo inspiration from most of what I have listed above. My tattoos aren’t meant to be understood by anyone but myself. I just hope people can appreciate them as art, no matter whether they understand my reasoning behind them or not.

Where do you find the inspiration for your tattoos? Comment below.

Awful Modifications

I was browsing the Awful Modifications Tumblr page this morning when I came across this photo:

Look familiar? If you’ve been following my blog since September last year, then you would know that I got tattooed by Craigy Lee at the Melbourne Tattoo Expo. You can read the full post here.

Other than the Hold Fast banner, this is a direct copy of my tattoo.


Craigy Lee gifted me with the two original sketches that he did for this custom design. Since this design has already been stolen, I won’t post a photo of them.

I don’t know what compels people to steal tattoo designs from other people. But if you are going to do so, at least go to a decent tattoo artist, not some backyard scratcher.

That person will have to live with that terrible tattoo on their body for the rest of their life. That is punishment enough.

Inked Girls Issue 5 Review


(Credit: Inked Australia)

Five issues of Inked Girls and we’ve seen hundreds of different, individual and gorgeous tattooed women. It’s a reminder that the female tattoo community is continuing to grow. There are always fresh faces instead of recycling the same images of the same women like some magazines are guilty of.

Inked Girls doesn’t rely on heavily digitally altered imagery to sell copies. It’s the human fascination with the female form and how tattoos alter our perception. Look at a non-tattooed female and then look at a tattooed female.

The Sephora shoot is a perfect example of this. In one photo Kat Von D has every tattoo on her body concealed with makeup. In the other photo her tattoos are left untouched. There before you is the same person. Your eyes are drawn to different areas of her body.

I’m a believer in our eyes telling a story, likewise with tattoos. You may judge someone by the art on their body, but look in to their eyes and you’ll see the warmth.

I love how this magazine is another medium keeping the gypsy/freak show tradition alive. Decades ago people would pay their hard-earned money to see tattooed people in the flesh (excuse the pun). Tattooing was a novelty, a form of entertainment that people enjoyed from afar, but not a practice they would partake in.

We can project ourselves into the minds of the girls on the pages before us. Humans like you and I, they’re not ashamed to display their canvas to the world. Inked Girls is like Cleo or Cosmopolitan to some people. Seeing other like-minded women is inspiration.

Now that many women do have tattoos it’s not such a surprise to see one on the street, at University or in a workplace. However the allure still remains as heavily tattooed people are on a completely different level. It’s these women who are paving the way for others to break the gender stereotype and are attempting to dispel discrimination. There’s always power in numbers.

There isn’t much else that can be said about Inked Girls magazine other than it’s a must buy for any tattoo fan.

This will probably be my last review of an Inked Girls magazine, but you can read my previous Inked Girls/Inked Australia posts here.

Inked Australia/NZ Magazine Issue 13 – the 2nd Birthday issue is out May 2. And don’t forget that Inked Artists 2 is on its way.

The Missing Piece

The process of shedding skin as a tattoo heals is rather symbolic. It’s our bodies ridding us of our old self. Our once plain skin, injected with ink. There is no return.

It’s somewhat of a rebirth. Stepping out in to the world, visibly altered forevermore. After each tattoo I consider it another missing piece replaced in the puzzle of my life.

The tattoo artist creates the art and I create the memory.

Tattoos are the one thing that people, my job and society cannot strip from me. I don’t identify with the culture of following such archaic and outdated societal values. At times I may get worked up about what people write about tattooed people, but it’s not a deterrent. No matter what words or labels that they throw my way, I’ll always be able to call myself an individual.

Every year, month, week, day, hour, minute and second is another that we cannot get back. It’s not selfish to live my life for myself. I don’t need someone else to make me whole. But without tattoos I sure would feel incomplete.

Inked Australia/New Zealand Issue 12 Review

Issue 12 of Inked Australia Magazine is the annual Artist issue. No musicians, no models, just tattoo artists doing what they do best; displaying their art to the world.

This issue also marks the two year anniversary or 2nd birthday for Inked Australia/NZ. As posted on Facebook, Issue 13 is to be a celebration of this feat. I’m curious to see what they have in store for us.

Some may remember Australian Ink magazine from a few years back. After several issues it was abruptly taken from the shelves. Mere months later Inked Australia/NZ magazine graced us with its presence.

With a 28,000 plus Facebook fan base and another 4000 followers on Twitter, this magazine has gone from issue 1 two years ago, to publishing 4 issues of Inked Girls, and 1 issue of Inked Artists, to now celebrating issue 12.

Megan Massacre, the token female from NY Ink is the cover girl for Issue 12. The accompanying article delves a little in to Massacre’s life as the female cast member of NY Ink, and balancing her love of tattooing and modelling.

The shock value of seeing a female tattoo artist is slowly waning. I think Megan put it best when she said: “I don’t want to be known as a great female artist – I want to be known as a great artist”

For the most part, tattoo artists from the east coast of Australia seem to get most of the attention, but not this issue. A tattoo parlour from each state and territory in Australia is featured. New Zealand fans, don’t fret, you haven’t been forgotten.

More than 50 tattoo artists are featured in this issue, each describing their positive and negative views on modern tattooing. Tattooing has changed dramatically over time, but even just in the past 10 years new styles are emerging.  Each individual interview gives some much-needed insight into the real tattoo industry.

Keen to get your first tattoo, but don’t know where to start? Page 82 is a must-read for people not familiar with the tattoo process.

It is followed by a piece about laser tattoo removal, and the information is not pretty. For many, I think, tattoo removal seems like the simple solution to getting rid of your unwanted ink. Be prepared to be shocked by the truths behind this practice, and remember think before you ink.

In addition to Australia’s talent, Canada’s Zombie Boy, Rick Genest makes a surprise appearance modelling clothing. I love how he is somewhat carrying on the tradition of circus/sideshow freaks.

Then with Chris Nunez, sitting on a toilet with his pants around his ankles with that token smirk on his face, it’s difficult for me not to melt inside. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a handsome man with tattoos. If that doesn’t float your boat, there is an article about his new television show, Ink Master which he hosts along with Oliver Peck and Dave Navarro.

For a magazine without the support or resources of a corporation like ACP Magazines, Inked Australia/NZ continues to deliver a quality magazine every time.  With so few people behind the scenes, creating this magazine is more than a job, it’s a time consuming passion that we’re lucky to have shared with us.

Always willing to offer knowledge and advice within the pages of the magazine, the Editor, Ness extends this to Facebook and Twitter. Steering people to decent tattoo artists, she’s single headedly saving the citizens of Australia and New Zealand from one more tattoo disaster. Super Ness – cue the theme music. (Clearly I’ve lost my marbles)

If you’ve yet to get a response to your email, Facebook post or Tweet, be patient. It’s a one-woman show across those social media platforms.

Inked Australia may very well be your tattoo bible, but if there is one issue to buy, this is it. Issue 12 is a detailed directory of the best of the best Australia has to offer, with interviews and photographs of each artist’s work.

Your newsagent doesn’t have Inked Australia/NZ in stock? Ask them to order it in for you. Better yet, subscribe to receive a free gift and have the magazine delivered straight to you every two months.

And ladies, don’t forget that entries for Miss Inked 2013 close on Friday 20 April.

Wrestling Road Diaries Review

Wrestling Road Diaries stars three talented wrestlers in the American independent wrestling scene – Colt Cabana, Bryan Danielson and Sal Rinauro. We’re invited on their two-week journey to get a personal look into their life as professional wrestlers. The viewers are exposed to the behind the scenes antics at the Ring of Honor television tapings, and follow the guys as they travel from state to state wrestling in various other wrestling promotions.

Coming into watching this DVD, I really had no idea what to expect. I did not want to distort my perception by expecting certain things. I watched this DVD as a fan of wrestling, and upon completion I am now completely engulfed in this whole other world. I have a new perspective on the wrestling industry as a whole. It has expanded by knowledge and given me more to think about in terms of what I personally enjoy about watching wrestling.

Wrestling Road Diaries is like something we have never seen before. We have the opportunity to get to know the guys on a more personal level. They share with us their thoughts on wrestling, the travelling, the different companies, and friends. We can see the close bond that Sal, Colt and Bryan share.

Past wrestling books and documentaries have focused on the gritty side of the wrestling industry, playing out the old Hollywood story of dying before your time. Where is the joy in hearing about all this heartbreak, the lies? For years people idolised wrestlers to find out their deep, dark secrets long after their time in the ring is up.

These are men to look up to. Respectful, dedicated, successful, humble and they’re not trouble makers. Have you ever heard of them being arrested to drug or alcohol offences? And you won’t because they made the decision not to partake in that culture.

This DVD has been a long time in the making. Filmed back in 2009, it begins with Colt returning to the Indy scene after being future endeavoured by the WWE, and Bryan just being offered a WWE contract. Even when he is faced with what could be some serious medical issues, Bryan still seems to keep it together; taking it one day at a time, and hoping for a positive outcome. They love what they’re doing and it’s their passion which keeps them going.

Whether they’re wrestling in front of less than 50 people or a crowd of thousands, they truly do put their bodies on the line. They got into this business to entertain. They want the crowd to leave satisfied, yet begging for more.

Wrestling Road Diaries evokes questions such as: What do you define as success in wrestling? What do you define as success in life?

We’re conditioned as children that life must follow a certain formula: finish high school, get a college degree, have a 9-5 job, buy a home and have a family. Many give up on their childhood dreams because they’re afraid of failure, or perhaps too materialistic to suffer for their passion; but not these guys. They’re businessmen, salesmen, athletes, teachers, entertainers, their own advertising team, self-made men. There’s so much more to being a successful wrestler than meets the eye.

Many think the wrestling lifestyle is glamorous. No one day is ever the same for these wrestlers. It is a gruelling life to live, and at times unorganised and spontaneous, but that seems to be part of the attraction for them. There is the excitement of doing something new, and not being stuck behind a desk five days a week. There is freedom. It’s an almost gypsy-like lifestyle that they get to lead. Travelling around, seeing their homeland and countries abroad. Interacting with people and being able to bring entertainment and joy to their lives.

I commend them and other wrestlers for having the determination and drive to make something of themselves. It is a long and difficult road, but with wrestling pumping through your veins, it all seems worth it in the end. They’re not bitter about past incidents, but more so positive about what’s to come next. The wrestling business needs more guys like this, guys who are and have always been so infatuated with wrestling. Those who have put their blood sweat and tears into their training and development into becoming the amazing athletes that they are today.

This documentary shows off the close connection that these guys share; their passion, their quirky habits, and their ever playful nature. They have the utmost respect for each other and the business. You very rarely hear them say a bad word. They have such a positive mental attitude that everyone could benefit from adopting in their own lives. Who else can say that they have been able to travel the country every week, with their closest friends?

It is heart-warming to see how they help each other out, offering them a place to stay with no expectations of being paid. There’s no shame in sharing a hotel room with three other grown men, it’s just a normal part of their lives.  These guys are not simply characters acting out a story before us. They’re real people with hopes, dreams, fears, responsibilities just like the rest of us, but they go about their lives like no other I have ever seen.

I didn’t want the DVD to end. I was captivated from start to finish. I could listen for hours about their stories from the road. That is what has drawn to me Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling pod cast; being given the opportunity to hear both the positive and negative about the wrestling world, and how wrestlers took various paths in order to become the wrestlers and the people that they are today. These guys have lived. They have life experiences others would never dream of having.

Wrestling Road Diaries really drives home the point of supporting local independent wrestlers and wrestling promotions, whether it is by attending a show, helping to promote it, or with buying merchandise.   It is us fans who are giving these guys the opportunity to live their dreams; something everyone should have the chance to do.

Wrestling Road Diaries will be one of those wrestling documentaries that are talked about for years to come. It joins the ranks of The Backyard and Beyond the Mat for DVDs every die-hard wrestling fan needs to see sometime in their lives. However, this documentary isn’t just for wrestling fans. It’s a lifestyle documentary following people in an unconventional profession, living their dream. What’s more inspiring than that?

How do you measure success? By the amount of money you make? By achieving the goals you set for yourself? Or is it measured by your happiness?

Buy your copy of Wrestling Road Diaries here.

Filming of Wrestling Road Diaries 2 will commence in two weeks. Follow Colt Cabana, Cliff Compton and Luke Gallows for more details.