My Favourite Things of 2011

My Favourite Things of 2011

Favourite Convention of 2011
Wrestle Reunion 5

The Melbourne Tattoo Expo was special because I got tattooed by Craigy Lee, but it pales in comparison with my three days at Wrestle Reunion 5.

I bought a VIP pass and got to meet wrestlers I had grown up watching. It was such a surreal moment, and one I will never forget. The ROH and PWG shows that same weekend are the best wrestling events I have ever been to.

Favourite Blogger of 2011
Kandee Johnson

Makeup artist, master of arts and crafts and a mother of four, is there anything she can’t do?
Kandee’s blog and YouTube videos provide a constant source of information and inspiration.

Favourite Clothing Line of 2011
Sober Is Sexy

A percentage of profits from this clothing line goes towards charity. Sober Is Sexy is a collection of shirts, singlets and pants promoting a sober lifestyle of not partaking in drugs or alcohol. Sober is the sexy look, not being a hot mess.

Collection two is now on sale.

Favourite Podcast of 2011
The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana

Each week Colt speaks with a fellow professional wrestler about memorable moments in their careers. The podcast introduces the listeners to wrestlers they may have never heard of. It is not just a wrestling podcast, but life stories, lessons and memories from people living their dream, travelling around the world entertaining others.

Help support the podcast by going to Colt Merch.

Favourite Television Show of 2011
American Horror Story.

At first I was sceptical, as the storyline seemed similar to the Amityville Horror. But as they slowly revealed more about the history of the house and introduced more characters, I was hooked. I don’t see how this show can go further than one season.

This has been the first show in years where I truly have had no idea where the story would go next. We need more horror/thriller television shows like this.

Favourite Movie of 2011

Favourite Singer/Band of 2011

His work with The Basics is how I first discovered several years ago, and I’ve since fallen in love with his sound.

I like to think of Wally De Backer as an Australian Phil Collins. Both being drummers, he tells tales of heartache through his experimentation with sound bites and instruments.

Favourite Live Music Event of 2011
Stevie Nicks

Hearing Stevie perform ‘Edge of Seventeen’ live was so hauntingly beautiful.

Check out my review here.

Favourite Tattoo Artist of 2011
Grant Cobb

Favourite Painter of 2011
Shawn Barber

Favourite Magazine of 2011
Inked Australia/New Zealand magazine

With the amount that I write and talk about this magazine you would be mistaken in thinking i was getting paid to do so. But it is this magazine that reinvigorated my love of writing, introduced to me countless number of artists, the best in their mediums.

I’ve been inspired by the people in the magazine, out there making a living doing what they love, all unique in their own special ways. There is no Australian tattoo magazine on the market that offers that mix of lifestyle, art, music etc.

Check out my reviews of Inked Australia here.

Follow Inked Australia/New Zealand on Twitter.

Like Inked Australia/New Zealand on Facebook.

Subscribe to Inked Australia/New Zealand here.


2011 in Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Some of my favourite photos from 2011.

2011 Highlights –

Carnival Cruise – Miami > Key West > Cozumel > Miami
Peony tattoo (Love Hate Tattoo Parlour)
Washington DC
New York
Stuck in a blizzard
WWE Raw taping
WrestleReunion 5 – VIP
Ring of Honor show
Pro Wrestling Guerilla show
Day on the Green – INXS, Train, The Baby Animals, Sean Kelley
Changing stores/jobs
Bryan Adams
Stevie Nicks
Melbourne Tattoo Expo – tattooed by Craigy Lee
Roving Reporter for YouthCentral website

My New Year’s Resolution? To make 2012 even more life-changing and amazing than 2011 was.

Inked Australia/New Zealand Magazine – Issue 11 Review

Inked Australia/New Zealand Magazine – Issue 11 Review

A tattoo conveys a moment in time, a memory, an emotion, beauty.

Coming up to the end of another year, the sixth and last issue for 2011, Issue 11 has really struck a chord with me. After I managed to pry the magazine out of my dad’s hands, I locked myself away to read it without any distractions.

The Inked team have outdone themselves once again. Every two months we’re presented with a magazine full of fresh faces; artists who have talent we could only dream of possessing. Inked Australia/New Zealand is my tattoo bible. Nowhere else will you find such a vast number of artists, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find a tattoo artist who will give you tattoo you will forever cherish.

I wasn’t far in before I started daydreaming (it’s either because I’m a Pisces or some form of ADD, but I often find myself drifting between my imagination and reality). I began thinking about how much of the tattoo community is open-minded and accepting. There is a much different definition of success between these people. Inked Australia/New Zealand magazine is a great source of inspiration for those of you who don’t find a ‘normal’ 9-5 job appealing.

Without sounding preachy, there really are many paths which you can take in life, but in the end it is you, and only you, who decides on your happiness. These images and those words on the page are spoken by real people, just like you and me. There are other ways to support yourself, doing the thing you love, whether it is music, painting, fashion, digital design, photography or tattooing.

Art transcends life, it is all around us. Doe Deere went from ‘a self-taught makeup artist posting tutorials online’ to creating Lime Crime makeup (Page 22). Strawberry Siren (Page 30) has been performing her whole life, from growing up in the circus to becoming a burlesque performer. Some Young Punks (Page 52), an Australian wine brand, has taken inspiration from graphic novels for their wine labels, taking the industry in a new direction.

Determination, defiance and self-belief are common traits of those who grace the pages of this magazine. They’ve surrounded themselves with supportive people, building a strong foundation to grow from. Their original ideas make them unique and pave the way for others to take creativity to a new level. Money isn’t the focus; it is the stories behind their journey to where they are today, the art on their bodies collected along the way. While some tattoos may be the same, the stories never are.

Perhaps I think too deeply about the subtext in the magazine. However, being a lifelong magazine enthusiast and an aspiring journalist, I can’t help but engulf myself in each and every issue. Tattoos bring out different reactions from people. For me it is more than just ink on someone’s body. I don’t get tattooed to rebel, or to follow a fad. To some I may be the biggest contradiction. I enjoy all things 80s, the cornier the better. Reading the stories of these tattooed people reminds me that there is no stereotypical tattooed person. Their interests and talents are as varied as anybody else.

Angelique Houtkamp is a name fast becoming synonymous with tattooing. The beautiful black and white photographs of her reminded me of the book The Tattooed Lady. You could be mistaken for thinking she was from the 1920s. Angelique brings a touch of elegance and sophistication to tattooing. So dainty and lady-like, yet covered in tattoos; she is simply gorgeous.

She was recently in Australia to promote Tattoo Parlour‘a book and exhibition, which celebrates artists from the tattoo world.’ See pages 38-45 for the full interview.

Many cannot forget the atrocity Christian Audigier created with his failed Ed Hardy clothing line. But ‘The Fabric of Design’ feature (Page 76) shines the light on tattooed Australian designers who have taken their original concepts to create their own successful fashion empires.

It was great to see Frederick Bain featured in this issue. He has recently moved from New Zealand to Melbourne, tattooing out of The Piercing Urge in Prahran. I just so happen to be getting tattooed there in a few weeks by another of their resident tattoo artists, Arn Lyons. Frederick is next on my list. He has an amazing eye for realistic pieces. Thanks New Zealand, another talented person for us Aussies to call our own.

Other artists included in Issue 11 are:

* Mike Rubendall
* Mattoo
* Tim Kern
* Rose Hardy
* Taylor Reeve
* Caia Koopman
* Edith Lebeau
* Hoang Nguyen
* Janice Urnstein Weissman
* Shawn Barber

Being a subscriber to Inked Australia/New Zealand magazine meant I got Issue 11 a few days earlier than the general public. It’s just one of the perks of being a subscriber, no hassle with trying to find a newsagent with the magazine in stock and every new subscriber gets a free gift (it is currently a choice of two necklaces from Rust & Regret). Not to mention you save from 25-30% off the cover price depending on whether you get a one or two year subscription. To subscribe to Inked Australia/New Zealand magazine click here or fill out the form on Page 37.

As a little post-Christmas gift for all the readers (including subscribers), Issue 11 comes with another calendar. This time a Sailor Jerry calendar usually reserved for US Inked magazine.

And if Alesandra Nicole on the cover and the calendar still isn’t enough for you, never fear. Inked Girls 4 will be hitting the shelves sometime in January. To avoid disappointment, head in and ask your local newsagents to order it in just for you.

If you’re feeling lucky, check out the competition on page 16 to win copies of LA Ink and NY Ink.

What was your favourite part of Issue 11?

Follow Inked Australia/New Zealand on Twitter.

Like Inked Australia/New Zealand on Facebook.

2011: Year in Review

2011: Year in Review

As I look back on 2011 I can’t help but get a little emotional. This year has been a memorable one thus far, to say the least. There have been ups and downs, but for the most part it has been one of the best years in my life (so far).


In January I was still travelling overseas. Following on from Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Miami, Key West, Cozumel, Washington DC. I spent January in New York, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and back to Los Angeles.

New York – I was living my dream of walking through Central Park, visiting the Statue of Liberty and standing atop the Empire State Building, overlooking the city below.

Toronto – I got up-close with some adorable squirrels, it was so tempting not to take one home with me.

Montreal – I was immersed in the French-Canadian culture.

Chicago – I fell in love with this city. I could imagine myself living there.

Los Angeles – I spent three days at Wrestle Reunion 5, meeting the legends of wrestling. I attended my first US independent wrestling show, Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. I was introduced to wrestlers I had never heard of and fell in love with wrestling all over again.

Having the opportunity to attend Wrestle Reunion was an experience I will never forget. There I was surrounded by people brought together by a shared love of wrestling: from young to old wrestlers, fans and the promoters.

I’ve never been somewhere with such positive energy before. The love and passion exuding from the wrestlers really hit me emotionally. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Shane Douglas and Colt Cabana were stand outs for me. They all took so much time to engage with people, talking one-on-one, having proper conversations with fans.

Never mind being star struck, I got so much from this experience. I was at the recording of the first live Art of Wrestling podcast taping between Colt Cabana and Shane Helms.

I got to see the legendary band, INXS at a Day on the Green. While I would give anything to have seen the original INXS pre-1997 with Michael Hutchence, JD Fortune did justice to every single song. The support acts Train, Sean Kelley and the Baby Animals were perfect examples of talented live performers.


In August I changed jobs, transferring stores to work in a different department. Despite the drama involved in obtaining my transfer, it was the best decision I could have made. I now go to work with a smile on my face as the people I work with are all so friendly and accepting. While it’s not a job that I wish to make my career, it suits me for now.

• Bryan Adams – I was front row at the Melbourne leg of his Bare Bones Tour. It was just Bryan and his guitar and a pianist. All his greatest hits stripped back, he was perfection.

• Craigy Lee – I attended the 1st Annual Melbourne Tattoo & Body Art Expo where I got tattooed by Craigy Lee. We had sent ideas back and forth for several weeks until we finally settled on a design. Close to six hours of tattooing, and one swollen leg later, this was the result:

I was chosen as one of 30 Roving Reporters for the Victorian Government’s Youth Central website. If it wasn’t for my mum’s persistence I don’t think I would have applied. It was nice to see how proud she was of me, to achieve something outside of school, in the real world.

Seeing Stevie Nicks perform live is a moment I never want to forget. I spent the night struggling to hold back tears. Her unique voice and story-telling ability through song is what has always drawn me to her.
Check out my review of Stevie Nicks on the YouthCentral website.

2011 has been one of my busiest years. I may still have my old sarcastic/negative comments and mindset at times, but at the end of the day I can now smile. Rather than giving in to the pressure of being someone I am not, I am embracing my differences. It may be cliché, but life really is too short to waste time on such trivial matters.

I ended a friendship that had run its course. I may have not gone the right way about it, but for me it was the closure that I needed.

I have taken positive steps towards my education and developing new skills for my future career, whatever that may eventually be. I have a new found desire to learn and be able to apply what I have learnt to my various art projects.

After all the years of talking, I finally put in my application for the US Visa Diversity Lottery. There is only a small chance that I will be one of the lucky ones, but I’m focusing on staying positive. It has always been my dream to live and work in the US and I won’t give up until I achieve it.

I found inspiration. I found myself once again. Movies. Wrestling. Art. Writing. Reading. Photography. This is all I need to be happy.

2012 is shaping up to be another great 12 months. I already have so much to look forward to in the coming year.

• Seether
• Alter Bridge, Steel Panther
• Attending Melbourne Vixens netball games
• Interviewing NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce
• Getting tattooed by Arn Lyons at The Piercing Urge

Inked Artists – Issue One 2012 Review

Inked Australia/New Zealand magazine is once again expanding. Joining their flagship magazine and Inked Girls is Inked Artists.

Looking for an artist who specialises in a particular style? Then Inked Artists is for you. Issue One 2012 just hit the shelves and features styles from black and grey, to colour, to portraits, to abstract and traditional; this magazine has it all. Inked Artists magazine is your tattoo bible for the most talented tattoo artists from around the world. It is more than simply a photo book, but a collection of photos from the best of the best in the tattoo industry.

Tim Hendricks is widely known for his appearances on Miami Ink and New York Ink,, as is Corey Miller with LA Ink, but it is their way with a needle and ink which makes them two of the most sought after masters of black and grey tattooing. Forget about the cliché tattoo designs you may have seen them tattoo on television and take a close look at the photos in Inked Artists. Their ability to transfer any subject matter to skin and make it look like a work of art is why they are so widely respected.

Inked Artists also features the work of a further 30+ tattoo artists from Australia and around the world, like Steve Cross, Mick Squires, Sam Rulz, Kian Forreal, Rhys Gordon and Amanda Wachob. The website for each tattoo artist accompanies their photos, saving you the hassle of trying to track them down online. With magazines like Inked Australia and Inked Artists people are learning what amazing tattooing is and where they can get it from.

What makes Inked Artists different to Inked Australia is that there are no articles, it’s purely photos of each artists best work. Full page colour spreads, showing all the colour and detail, not miniscule photos that you may find in other tattoo magazines.

If you can’t find the magazine at your local newsagent, don’t hesitate in asking them to order it in for you. If all else fails, check out Inked Australia’s Facebook page for a detailed list of all stockists.

And don’t forget, Issue 11 of Inked Australia goes on sale December 28, to tide you over into the new year.

Stevie Nicks “In Your Dreams” Australian Tour 2011 – Review

On Saturday November 19, 2011 Stevie Nicks kicked off her Australian tour in Melbourne. The rainy weather failed to dampen the anticipation and excitement of those at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Brian McFadden was the opening act, performing acoustic versions of a number of his hit songs. He also threw Adele’s “Someone Like You” and NSYNC’s “This I Promise You” into the mix. Forget about what you think about Brian McFadden, he is a gifted musician despite his minor role in boy band Westlife.

Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics was Stevie’s support act, and also one of the people heavily involved in producing her new album. Other than his Eurythmic songs, I was unfamiliar with Dave as a solo performer, but after last night, I am a fan. A gifted guitarist, his band of colourful characters made for an entertaining precursor to the main event.

There was only a short wait for the crew to get the stage ready for Stevie. She came out all guns blazing, belting out “Stand Back” like only she could, followed by “Secret Love”, the first single off her new album. If only the haters could have heard Stevie perform “Secret Love” last night. Clearly the X-Factor production quality was not up to standard that night, as she and the band were near perfection.

Stevie made it clear that this was not a Greatest Hits tour, but a tour to promote the new album. While she threw in some Fleetwood Mac classics like “Rhiannon” and “Dreams” and several of her solo hits, it was the new songs which made this concert all the more special.

Along with every new song she performed, came a story of where she got the inspiration to write them. It was actually two years ago (almost to the day) that Stevie was in Melbourne, touring with Fleetwood Mac. She went to see one of the Twilight movies at the cinema, and oddly enough that was what prompted her to write “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)” and begin working on a new record.

“Soldier’s Angel”, a song from her new album, was an emotional moment of the night. Stevie told a story of how in 2005 she went to visit a military hospital to speak with the injured soldier’s. She arrived there a rock star without a care in the world, and left with a heavy heart after hearing all those stories. As she was leaving an emergency Medi-Vac arrived, there were doctors, nurses, stretchers everywhere. She wrote the song “Soldier’s Angel” as a tribute to those who have fought in the war in the Middle East.

The highlight of the night for me was being there in person to see Stevie perform “Edge of Seventeen.” The percussion, drum and guitar solos at the beginning of the song were beyond amazing.

Another special moment was Stevie and her voice coach performing “Leather and Lace.” It once was a song that was never included in her sets due to it being a duet. Their voices complimented each other nicely, and it made for a beautiful rendition of the Stevie Nicks and Don Henley original.

If you were not fortunate to attend her Melbourne shows, Stevie’s Live in Chicago DVD, filmed in 2008, is currently on sale at JB HiFi for $9.99; and while you’re at it, pick up a copy of her new album In Your Dreams. The DVD is a perfect reflection of the incredible live performer Stevie is, and the CD has some beautiful new songs from her.

Stevie Nicks is everything I wish I was: a singer, a performer, a poet, a writer, talented, successful and an inspiration. I can only hope that Stevie will make the trek back to Australia sometime soon. Seeing her live once is not enough.