Wild at Heart Tattoo

All posts in the Wild at Heart Tattoo category

Defining My Identity

Published October 21, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I’m a little high on adrenaline tonight.  I’ve had some more work done on my left half sleeve tattoo today, which always gives me an adrenaline rush afterwards, but it was just an intense day all up.  I have mentioned before that I am working on a project with Dr Lauren Gurrieri of Griffith University, which I cannot share much about yet (I promise I will as soon as I can) other than it involves my being photographed around the subject of my identity.  Of course, a major part of my identity is my tattooed body, so it was obvious that was one of the events we needed to document.  I’m really pleased and honoured that my fabulous tattoo artist, Victoria R Lundberg of Wild at Heart Tattoo was willing to be photographed (and filmed) during my appointment.  She’s a good sport and a talented artist, is Victoria.

Anyway, my eventful day really started when I was sitting waiting for the bus to head into town to meet Lauren and documentary photographer Isaac Brown and head to my tattoo appointment.  I was sitting at the bus stop in the shade, minding my own business, reading twitter on my phone when a white tradie van pulled up on the opposite side of the street, and the guy driving lifted his iPhone, took a photo of me and then drove off.  I know, I know, I should have said something or flipped him the bird, or took his photo… but when shit like that happens you’re just so stunned that you can do more than give them an indignant look.

It just goes to demonstrate just how much surveillance we fat women (and it is a mixture of fatness and womanhood that draws the surveillance) are subjected to in our culture.  It is both surveillance and the policing of our bodies.  If a fat woman is too visible, doesn’t hide herself away in shame, dress in black and minimise herself, she is scrutinised, photographed, judged and harassed for it.  But fuck hiding away.  Fuck letting other people police what I wear, how I do my hair, what I look like in public.  I think I look pretty fucking awesome:

Anyway, it got better when I was in town, I was walking through the Myer Centre when a young woman reached out and touched my elbow and exclaimed “Cool hair!”  I find that people who are complimenting me or being cool are happy to do so to my face, not by sneaking photos or whispering about me.

So it was particularly apt that today was the day I was a) adding to my half sleeve tattoo, which is a celebration of my identity and b) being photographed for Lauren’s project.

I have to say, it was pretty daunting.  I’m not used to just relaxing and letting someone photograph me as I go about my business.  I’m so used to having my appearance judged, and of that old mode of scrutinising every photograph of myself because of self consciousness.  I only saw two of the hundreds of photographs taken today, one each from Lauren and Isaac, so I have no idea how any of them look.  To be honest, that does make me feel nervous.  It’s all a learning and growing process – after all, it wasn’t that many years ago that I never let anyone photograph me EVER.  That vulnerability is very hard to let go of.  But I’m determined to let go of those old feelings of self consciousness because I want there to be a photographic record of my life.  I regret those years I didn’t allow people to photograph me.

As well as feeling vulnerable, it was an incredibly empowering experience for me.  I trust Lauren and Isaac to give me the space I need to feel comfortable with the process, and enough say in the process that if I’m not feeling comfortable or happy, I can say so and they will respect that.  Besides, from what I’ve seen of Isaac’s work, he’s a talented photographer and who wouldn’t love to work with someone with that much talent?

This whole process has been quite cathartic to me, it’s had me thinking about how I identify myself, and how through things like my bright clothing, bold hair and tattoos, I reclaim my right to determine my own identity.  Because that’s the thing about identity, it’s our own to determine.  I read this wonderful quote from Chris Graham in relation to right wing… media personality (I cannot call him a journalist) Andrew Bolt’s policing of Aboriginal identity, that I think is an excellent universal statement about identity:

No-one, no matter how hard they might stamp their feet, gets to tell you how you should identify.

Just to give you a teaser, here are a few photos that Lauren took on my little compact camera.

Victoria getting into the detail.

It doesn’t hurt that bad, really! (Lauren has a photo of me wincing in pain, so that’s not entirely true!)

Here you go.  The work after today’s session.

Victoria made the outlines bolder, touched up some of the colour in spots that were patchy, coloured the moon and the owl’s belly/eyes and added the words on the spines of the books.  All in all I’m very pleased with the progress.

Everything about today was about identity for me.  From choosing what to wear (which today, was 100% for myself, unlike on days I work or go to events for other people), being photographed without my consent, having a stranger compliment my hair, being tattooed, and indeed the subjects of my tattoos, and being photographed in the process.

I wish for all of you to be given the space and the opportunity to be able to define and own your identity.  It feels powerful and cleansing, particularly after having it denied of me for most of my life.

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Oh Let’s Just Have a Chat

Published August 17, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

Today is a public holiday in Brisbane (Royal Exhibition, or Ekka holiday).  I had all these grand plans to write all day, but it’s kind of overcast and cool, and I just don’t feel like it.

Besides, sometimes we all just get a bit fatigued with talking about the tough stuff.

So instead I’ll share some photos with you.

Take a look at what I’ve made in my Thermomix lately:

Mushroom Risotto

Cheesy Buckwheat Bread

Pineapple Sorbet

These are just a few of the delicious things I’ve whipped up in it.  I’m having a great time experimenting and re-discovering flavours and textures that I had long forgotten.

My friend Kylie (aka Toots) found me these AWESOME leopard print Chucks in the UK.  I love them to bits, but they don’t quite make up for how much I am missing Toots while she is off travelling.

Look at the little MiniMe shoe!

I tried to dye my hair pillar box red last weekend.  I’m not having much success with Manic Panic dyes, even though I buy the amplified range that are supposed to be bolder colours and longer lasting.  I bleached out what was there (a kind of grey-purple) and discovered this rather awesome minty colour under the bleach:

Minty Mop

Sadly it didn’t last, and went to a weird kind of muddy colour overnight.  So I used Manic Panic Amplified in Pillar Box Red, and got this:

Not really "pillar box" red is it?

It faded REALLY quickly.  By yesterday (Tuesday) it was bright orange.  Three days.

My friend Nadia and I and another friend of hers went and saw Dylan Moran live and had dinner at the Bamboo Basket at South Bank (their soup dumplings are so delicious I could cry!)

Soup Dumplings and Cleavage

 

Oh, and Nadia took an OOTD picture for me.

Dress and white denim jacket – Autograph Fashion
Tights – We Love Colors
Shoes – Big W
Earrings – Diva
Swallow Brooch – Thousand Island Dressing

Oh and of course, the big news for me lately is that I have had more work done on my left upper-arm tattoo!  We’ve added some more Rubens Cantuni pieces to my fat lady tattoo.  Look:

A little smudgy, a little bloody, a little swollen... but on it's way!

I’ve still got at least two more sessions on this one, and then we start on the one on the inside of the arm.  My artist is the incredible Victoria R. Lundberg at Wild at Heart Tattoo.

So, what’s news with all of you lately?  Done any yummy cooking?  Scored any bargains?  Been to any live gigs?  Any new ink?  What’s happening in your lives?

A Bad Day Get’s Better

Published January 28, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I woke up feeling pretty good.  I had my outfit picked out (something I could never wear to work – denim skirt, leggings and a leopard print camisole), and was excited to be going off to get my next tattoo today.  I showered and dressed, and realised I had a little bit of time up my sleeve, so I jumped online and went to my Facebook page.  Unfortunately, the first thing I saw was a post that was intended innocently by the friend who posted it, but was actually a big ole pile of fat hatred.  Even though it was posted in good spirit, it was painfully clear that the person who made the meme (one of those Demotivational posters) was being hateful and pushing more fat stereotypes (the junk food loving gluttonous fatty) and some of the comments were of very bad taste.

I was so hurt.  I plummeted into a spiral of self loathing and shame.  It took every ounce of my intestinal fortitude not to cancel my tattoo appointment and go back to bed.  Then it took every ounce of my willpower to not change my outfit and cover my body, to stay in the outfit that bares my fat arms and shoulders, that is visible.

But I did the old “fake it until you make it” and set out for the day.  I’m so glad I did.  Wanna see my outfit? (Click here for outfit details)  Here you go:

OOTD 28th January 2011

I’m fresh out of the tattooist chair, their apprentice took the photo for me.  There’s nothing like the adrenaline high after a tattoo to lift your mood.  I went from hating myself to feeling amazing in the time it took my tattoo artist, Victoria (from Wild at Heart Tattoo in Charlotte Street) to do the piece.

The piece is very significant too.  I know you want to see it.  But I’m going to tell you about it first, before I unleash it.  It’s a piece that Victoria and I designed, inspired by the art of Rubens Cantuni, a fabulous artist from Genova in Italy.  He does these pieces called Tokyo Candies that I fell deeply in love with a little while ago, after seeing some of his sexy fat lady artworks pop up on Tumblr.  (Rubens is on Twitter and Facebook if you’d like to follow him too.)  I saw this picture over a year ago and absolutely loved it, but it was seeing this one on Tumblr about a month ago that made me decide I absolutely HAD to have a tattoo piece inspired by his work.

I took a bunch of his work to Victoria and between us we came up with a design that was just perfect.  Not only is she beautifully fat positive, but it’s a celebration of the things I love about myself too.  I only have to look at her to be reminded of the things that I feel good about myself.

Yeah yeah, I know, you just want to see the damn tattoo.  Well here she is…

New Tattoo

See, I told you she was beautiful.