Got this done a few weeks ago. Design by Jeremyville (more here), tattoo by Amanda Grace Leadman.
I also interviewed Amanda for Tattoos Down Under, hopefully we make it into their June issue.
Every Tuesday morning, my Mum and I go for a walk along my favourite beach in the world, Manly. Being chatterboxes, we usually end up discussing all kids of things, and last week we were talking about relationships and what makes them work. She’s been married to my Dad for 28 years, and I thought she had some interesting opinions on why they’re still together. Here are two pearls of wisdom that stuck with me:
- Treat your relationship like a Fabergé egg. An aptly luxurious comparison from a woman who appreciates the finer things in life. Mum explained that she sees her relationship as something precious, to be treasured and treated with care. During arguments it’s easy to say nasty things that can’t be unsaid - but every time you do, you damage it a little more. If you don’t treat your relationship with respect, you may break it beyond repair.
- It’s just as important to like your partner as it is to love them. Being in love is all about those crazy exciting hormones at first - discovering each other and the world around you together. A lot of people fantasise about growing old together, but cut to 28 years later and the reality is the majority of your time together has been spent doing everyday activities - grocery shopping, paying bills, raising children etc. Mum’s advice was to find someone you can share the mundane with, as well as the wonderful.
Obviously every relationship is different, and what works for some may not work for others. But I figured since she’s been making it work for almost three decades now, Mum might be onto something worth sharing.
- While I love clothes as a form of creative expression (and weather protection), I think they allow us to forget what we are. We get swept away by the nonexistant ‘meanings’ we ascribe to clothes that are cheap or expensive, fashionable or daggy etc. We are born nude, and we may try to separate ourselves from animals by wearing clothes but the fact is clothes are unnatural. Nudity is not.
- …and yet, public nudity is illegal. When Lena ran around in a completely see-through mesh top all night in Season 2 there was something delightfully rebellious about it, like a hippie-flavoured ‘fuck you’ to whoever decided that our natural state is so deeply offensive.
- Still going on the see-through mesh top…I know Girls is a work of fiction, but the notion that a woman could run around half-naked in public and not feel threatened or be harassed blew my mind.
- The first time I saw Hannah naked in Season 1 it shocked me to realise I may have never seen a nude body that wasn’t a size 10 or smaller onscreen*
- Considering the disheartening statistics about female directors and characters, I think the more women who take control of how our bodies are portrayed, the better.
- Watching nudity that isn’t sexualised is refreshing. My favourite nude scene is when Hannah plays table tennis topless in Season 2.
- Seeing Hannah’s ‘imperfections’ and finding her body beautiful nonetheless made me reflect on some of my own expectations of myself. Emphasising a healthy attitude over vanity is a message I wish more storytellers would consider.
- When I think about my young cousins, it always concerns me how derailed the media is. So many young, impressionable girls are growing up right now and being bombarded with expectations that basically equate to an eating disorder. Representing girls of different shapes, sizes and colours is the best way to combat this.
- Lena’s nudity has provoked a lot of great conversations with friends and strangers alike. If someone makes comments about how she’s ‘fat’ or ‘has small tits’, it’s a nice, quick way of flagging that you’re speaking with a narrow-minded asshole.
- Finally, it’s great to see an ordinary tattooed girl represented. Not all of us feel the need to wear an assload of makeup and dress like goths/dominatrixes/harajuku girls.
*excluding art house European films and porn.
On Friday night I hit Foley street with some gal pals for the opening of ‘We Are Here’, a huge mural covering the entire lane (commissioned for Art Month in Sydney) featuring local street artists . Our mate The Dirt had his talents on display, and as the laneway filled to bursting and we gazed up at the walls, tipsy and full of Mexican, I marvelled at all the many forms art can take.
But my favourite piece was this tattooed guy I found sitting in a gutter.
Softly spoken and covered in glittering jewels, he sat alone in the shadows puffing on a cigarette. He was perfection.
When my Dad asked where my brother and I were off to last weekend, I said “an art show”, because he doesn’t like tattoos and I don’t like lying. But once we arrived at the Sydney Tattoo and Body Art Expo I realised I’d been completely accurate. We were immersed in a pavilion full of talented artists and their beautiful creations, with a huge diversity of styles represented.
There were a bunch of people I was excited to see and none of them disappointed. A year ago I got some work from Liser Burlton of Germany. She’s been travelling and tattooing almost non stop since I last saw her (with her husband Steve Burlton, also a talented tattoo artist) and it’s amazing how much her style has progressed in that time. She’s known for her bugs and moths, but lately has started painting and tattooing gorgeous birds of prey, too.
Crab by Liser Burlton
The crew at Mimsy’s Trailer Trash Tattoo from Queensland were lots of fun. They set up a vintage pink trailer surrounded by colourful flowers and inflatable palm trees and pink flamingos. It was the perfect setting for the vibrant, raucous tattoos the team were turning out. Tilly Dee was a standout, her style is just so unique.
Poison by Tilly Dee
Also not afraid to use a little colour is Lauren Winzer, who was over with the crew from Hunter and Fox. They seem like one of the most progressive and exciting studios here in Sydney, and I’m looking forward to paying them a visit.
Bird by Lauren Winzer
I managed to save the best for last, however it wasn’t planned that way - I simply have no sense of direction. After looping the pavilion several times I found the guys from WA Ink tucked away near Corey Miller (of LA Ink - he had a huge booth but didn’t seem to be working..!).
Pari Corbitt at work.
I’ve been avidly keeping up with these Perth kids and just can’t believe the level they’re at. Pari Corbitt excels at moody, romantic black and grey work, and was kind enough to let me take a photo.
Aaron Ashworth, James McKenna and Capilli Tupou have similar styles that seem to draw influence from a broad palette (geometry, religion, traditional Scandinavian art, botany), with the end result being a style that’s cohesive, bizarre, fascinating and sophisticated.
Aaron Ashworth at work
Also from WA is Sandra Ovenden, her work is solid and in my opinion she’s another one to watch.
Rabbit by Sandra Ovenden
I felt very lucky to meet so many talented artists at once, many of whom I’ve admired from afar for a while now. It’s a privilege to see the tradition evolve as more and more talented tattooists keep pushing it forward.
Well-behaved women seldom make history.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich