Interview with Lucrezia

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to tattooist Lucrezia about her beautiful tattoos and recognisable style… 

Lucrezia is a Sardinian girl with a colourful heart and sea waves in her hair. Her Sarditional style is getting more and more renowned and here she explains the perfect mix for a tattoo made with love. Among coricheddos (little heart shaped sweets), delicate feminine figures and amulets, she is bewitching the web! You can find her in Milan, at Toy Tattoo Parlour.

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You are a complete artist- a graphic designer, illustrator and tattoo artist! Can you tell us a little bit about your artistic career? It was a quite natural process, you know, I grew up with colors in my hands and I used to leave my marks on every surface. My path as an illustrator and tattoo artist were parallel to each other, they reflected a way more rebellious and emotional side of my studies in architecture and graphic design. My degree surely gave me the basics useful to search the composition and balance in each drawing I make.

What is your first memory connected to tattoos? My first memory is a feeling, I see the tattoo as a very important gesture that helps to fix an emotion and one that is on your skin for you to wear forever. As a tattoo artist,I find that the tattoo is a rite, that binds deeply the tattooer and tattooed during the creation of the piece.

The transformation of a story into a picture and the subsequent transposition of the skin, the pain, the amount of tension and excitement, and an indelible bond that is created with all my clients. These are the things I love the most about this work and I’d never imagined they could become so essential and vital for me.

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How would you define your Sardinian style? Is it a declaration of love for your homeland and the coricheddos (typical Sardinian sweets mostly made of almond and honey)? The sarditional was originally born as a hashtag game on Instagram. Initially, before I started tattooing, I filled my illustrations with little women tattooed with Sardinian buttons and motifs derived from the Sardinian tradition. Beginning my career as tattoo artist, they became my main subjects, executed using the technique of traditional style. The designs were simplified, with thick lines and black shadows, from there I put that Sar-ditional touch. Now it has become a real characteristic of my style, which is to bring to the world the Sardinian tradition, from ‘pavoncelle’, kokkoi, to buttons and coricheddos. And all those jewels that the Sardinian tradition considers to be protective amulets and charms. That’s how the design of a sarditional becomes a real ritual to put on the skin: for Sardinians and beyond!

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What are your daily inspirations, both personally and professionally speaking? Every day, the inspirations are the most varied, most of the time I get influenced by my moods, from the weather and especially by music. This last is crucial because it helps me to channel myself in mental states that may not belong to me and, for example, when I prepare a drawing for a client I can get closer and better identify himself using music.

From Alghero to Milan: how are you living this experience and what are your expectations? Milan is basically adopting and taking very good care of me, I am very good and I also managed to do a lot of experience, getting to know many people and growing especially from the professional point of view. Alghero will forever remain the seat of my roots and going home to do some guest spots is a must for my creativity. Sardinia is a land that offers so much inspiration, and especially its silence and its mystery stimulate creativity in me.

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Corals, beads, women faces filled with love. What are the subjects you prefer to tattoo? My favourite subjects are without doubt the little women, I find them super expressive and I am able to communicate anything through their eyes and hands.
I try to draw every little woman to resemble as closely as possible the client who will wear them forever.  In fact, I generally choose the colours together with the client, also to see what kind of colours and feelings that person sends me, and most of the time I guess right!

Who have you been tattooed by and who is on your wishlist? I have two beautiful surreal pieces made by the great Gabri Pais. Others by my boss Amanda Toy, who has spoiled my skin with bright colours. A piece signed with perfect lines by Paul Colli. A wonderful little woman by Viola Ceina. Another woman who remembers the old pieces of George Burchett, masterfully executed by Marco Sergiampietri. And a super old school tattoo by Alessio Errante.
In my wishlist you will find; Chiara Pina, Nicholas Rinaldi, Giampiero Cavaliere, Carlotta Cawa, Luca Font and internationally Bouits, Danielle Rose, Kirk Jones, Emily Rose and many others!

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Do you have any side projects you would like to tell us about?
I carry on various projects and collaborations, where I leave my mark with my illustrations. I have a newborn project this year, where my illustrations are combined with stories of “Appunti sparsi di una trentenne a Milano”; I often work approaching the magnificent letters of Gabriele Cecere. I always carry forward my graffiti under the name of La*tete, it was all born one evening, many moons ago, out of curiosity and in Milan, thanks to my good friend Nacho. When I have some time left, I also collaborate with the great artist and friend La fille Bertha.

Do you have any future guest spots and conventions planned?
My future guest spot will be in August for Cagliari Tattoo Convention. And then I will be in Rome and Florence within the year. The next dates and locations will be surely posted on my Instagram!

Film Review: The Revenant

Writer and hobbyist reviewer Harry Casey-Woodward reviews The Revenant, the Academy-award winning survival/revenge epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Revenant, 2016, cert 15, dir Alejandro G. Inarritu, 4/5 

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I tend to avoid Leonardo DiCaprio films. Not because I don’t think he’s a good actor, but there’s something about him that puts me off; either his golden Hollywood looks or I just wasn’t interested in the films he picked. His firery role in Django Unchained, however, as the charming but unhinged villain Monsieur Candy surprised and entertained me. So when I heard he was taking the lead in another western-style film he certainly had my attention.

In The Revenant, he plays real life, big-bearded American frontiersman Hugh Glass. He and his half-Pawnee son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) have joined a band of trappers on a pelt-gathering expedition in some remote forests. After a savage attack by the natives, the survivors hike through the woods back to base camp. On the way, however, Glass is brutally mauled by a bear.

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When the men realise they can’t haul Glass’s paralysed body back to camp, Hawk, another boy named Bridger (Will Poulter) and a man named Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) agree to stay behind and take care of him in the woods. Fitzgerald, who has already proven himself to be a bit of a cad, stabs Hawk and persuades Bridger to leave Glass for dead; just so he can get back quickly and get paid. Glass, however, refuses to die and drags his mangled body across the frozen wastes thirsting for revenge.

The film may follow a traditional revenge western formula but the way it’s shot makes it a unique experience. I haven’t seen any of the director’s films, like Birdmanso I had no expectations of his style. The gritty violence of the film and its characters is contrasted with its beautiful shots and scenery. I don’t know how they managed it but most of the action was filmed in long, smooth tracking shots, often with a fisheye lens. Such striking filming gets over-used but it never fails to portray the sweeping majesty of the epic plot and scenery.

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The film never loses sight of its brutal realism though. The hunky Tom Hardy has been transformed into a selfish hillbilly rat who isn’t afraid to lie and kill for survival or money. DiCaprio obviously deserved his Oscar for his challenging performance, although I’m not sure if performance is the right word. Does putting yourself through hell for a film count as good acting or just dedication? When he’s not eating raw bison liver, he is good at being haunted and intense. But you could argue this film is two and a half hours of DiCaprio being cold, starving and suffering in general and of course being very serious about it. As gripping as this is, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

If I’m honest, though, I can’t think of any valid faults for this film. It’s an historical epic unlike any you’ve seen, a thrilling blend of old fashioned storytelling and striking filmmaking. It offers a bleak view of humanity, but somehow I didn’t feel greatly depressed by the end. This might have been due to a combination of awe-inspiring natural scenery and DiCaprio’s sheer bloody will to survive.

Images from foxmovies.com.

Gig Review: Future of the Left

Hobbyist writer Harry Casey-Woodward recently saw Cardiff post-hardcore rockers Future of the Left, as they promoted their latest album at the Electric Ballroom in Camden…

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If you haven’t heard of Future of the Left, you should have. They are very entertaining and sometimes scary to listen to. I reviewed their latest album already on this blog, The Peace and Truce of Future of the Left, released in April this year. To celebrate, they held a gig on the 21st of that month at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, because they like it there apparently.

I still think the new songs miss some of the spark of the older stuff, but I’ve seen the band live before and it was such a thundering sweaty experience I gladly bought tickets again. As the band’s singer/guitarist Andrew Falkous said, they want their gigs to be ‘bludgeoning‘ assaults. They are certainly worth seeing for their outrageous levels of noise, attitude and energy alone.

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I wish I could say what the support bands (Right Hand Left Hand and The St. Pierre Snake Invasion) were like. Unfortunately me and my companions failed to drag ourselves away from Camden’s Black Heart in time. When we arrived at the venue for Future’s slot, my first impressions of the Electric Ballroom were very big and purple. It felt like being at an ant party inside a hollowed out grape.

Apparently it was the band’s biggest headline gig yet and they didn’t disappoint, despite being reduced to a three-man lineup recently after extra guitarist Jimmy Watkins left. I was intrigued however to see a new unknown guitarist accompanying Falco, his bass-playing wife Julia Ruzicka and drummer Jack Egglestone throughout the set. They were even joined by two other strangers for one new song ‘In a Former Life’, who provided backing chants for the chorus.

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I was delighted when the band opened with ‘Kept by Bees’ a drum-fuelled slow burning non-single off their first album Curses, which was a rarity for their current sets. They then slipped into the storming powerhouse of ‘Arming Eritrea’, the opener of their second album Travels with Myself and Another, which got the crowd pumping. It was nice to see their new songs get just as good reactions as synth-heavy favourites ‘Manchasm’ and ‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You’. I was underwhelmed by the new songs on first listen, but they were thrilling and powerful live and I roared along to the lyrics with everyone else. To add further excitement, the set was peppered with songs from Falco’s last band mclusky, including the joyous non-single ‘Gareth Brown Says’ which was also a rare treat.

Falco was his usual top form as a performer, switching from mid-song stand up to screaming himself hoarse. He also enjoyed the immense positivity from the audience, thanking everyone for giving a bigger turnout than Leeds. He also declared if anyone didn’t like the new album they could f*** off, and that attitude sums up the band for me. They haven’t enjoyed the successes of other lesser bands, but they’re still stubbornly producing their exhilarating, defiantly distinctive music after nine years and thank Christ for that.

Images from pollythomas.co.uk.

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions – The Complete Guide

You’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money on your new tattoo and you want to make sure it looks as good as it does now for a long time, right? Don’t forget that proper tattoo aftercare is crucial to the healing process and will ensure that your tattoo looks fresh for years to come. Follow these surefire steps from Monster Steel to properly take care of your tattoo, then sit back and enjoy your new art…

 

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Izabella Dawid Wolf and her creepy etchings

Tattoo artist Izabella Dawid Wolf, who hails from Poland, was over in London recently guesting at the-soon-to-be-closed Into You.  We caught up with her to find out about where she draws inspiration for her creepy yet cute tattoos and her love for sludge metal and all things dark…

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How long have you been tattooing and what made you want to become a tattoo artist?
I’ve been tattooing for two years and beforehand I was apprenticing for two years. It’s a funny story that made me want to become an artist… about eight, years ago when I was living in London, a friend of mine, who actually doesn’t have any tattoos, wanted to get a tattoo. I had this design I used to carry round me and I really wanted to get it done by someone and she introduced me to this guy, Liam Sparkes at a party… he probably doesn’t even realise how important he is to me! So we went outside and I was asking stupid questions like, “what do you do?” then I showed him my tarot card etching and I told him I didn’t know who could do it, and he was like, “I will do it!” My mind was blown that this etching could be turned into a tattoo! So then I got my first machine… a shitty Chinese machine and I used to tattoo fruit in my bedroom. My flatmate thought I was constantly masturbating with a vibrator!

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Where do you draw your influences from?
Music! Lyrics and the atmosphere of the music. The only word that puts it together is dark. The music I like is anything from sludge metal to weird dark techno, so I think I have an eclectic taste. But sometimes I listen to the lyrics and hear a beautiful sentence which inspires me. I love everything though, especially photographer and film makers like Helmut Newton and Gregg Araki. I have so many mood boards in my house and someone once said to me: “you are the effort of everyone you know”.  I still have my portfolio from university and I was looking through it recently and I still have the same themes in my work that I am interpreting now in tattoos. But its always been the same freaks and some sexy ladies.

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If you could tattoo anyone dead or alive who it would be and why?
There would be so many people I would love to tattoo! I think it would have to be John Balance from Coil. I’d love to do something weird because I love the music so much.  It’s so important and inspiring for me. I actually don’t know what I’d like to do on him… maybe something simple and symbolic. I’d probably die from a heart attack from having this opportunity. Maybe something fetish-y… a mask or a gag or something creepy!

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If you had to have a different career, what would you do?
I would be a vet… I love animals, anything to do with animals.

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What would you love to tattoo that you haven’t done yet?
There are a few designs I would still like to tattoo that I haven’t yet… some more creepy girls and animals, which is something to do with wanting to be a vet maybe! More big pieces and I’m starting to learn more about composition on the body, so maybe a full leg or chest piece. I’m always open to ideas as long as someone gets my style.

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Is there anything that you would never tattoo?
More a certain style I wouldn’t tattoo and it’s not about being an arrogant dickhead, it’s just I would rather recommend someone to go to someone who specialises in a certain style. I would never do a realistic portrait of a baby, for example! It’s so scary, and then you grow and the skin changes!

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How do you see your style adapting in the future?
Its so hard to call what I draw a style, the only aim is to never stop. I’m still learning every day. Each day is a challenge with a person’s different skin or a different part of the body. I want to get better and more conscious about getting better. I still feel too immature to say what my style is! It’s so hard to say and define. I think the most important thing is to  never to sit down and feel satisfied. You can never say that one artwork is finished.

 

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More of Izabella’s work can be seen via her Instagram and blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

not another salon: Interview with Sophia Hilton

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Introducing the colourful Sophia Hilton, owner of the amazing Not Another Salon… here she tells us about salon life, her quirky style and how to achieve perfect blonde hair

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up owning your own salon…
“A year and a half ago, I sat on the sofa with my husband, throwing around the idea of a salon. We discussed that ‘If I was to do it, then it couldn’t just be yet ‘ANOTHER SALON’.’ I told him that I want to move the industry in some way, if the gateway to this is opening a successful salon, then screw it, that’s what I’ll have to do. I was fired up, so next day I got up at 6am to start working on it for a few hours before my ‘real’ work began. From that day on, I got up at 6am every morning for the next year. I didn’t take days off, I got frighteningly skinny and I don’t mind saying I worked harder than I have ever worked in my life. I was just 27, with no money. I had to put my flat up as security, my mum’s only life savings at risk and got loaned up to the hills. It was terrifying.”

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What is it that makes ‘Not Another Salon’ stand out from other salons?
“It’s our ‘no- judgment’ (anti-cool) concept. Everyone is included – nice people, having fun.”

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What is your favourite hair treatment/colour/technique?
“If a client wants a specific colour (usually white or grey) and we feel the hair is not in good enough condition to have it done we will recommend a series of three Innoluxe treatments (one a week) until we feel the hair is rebuilt enough to colour. Treatments are so often used after the service, but we use it before!”
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What advice would you give to those with dark hair who think they can’t go blonde?
“They can, but for the hair to be healthy you shouldn’t rush the process. We use Innoluxe and look after the hair every step of the way. Pureolagy shampoo and conditioner is a personal fave. if it’s healthy… I don’t care what colour it is!”

 

Where do you see your brand evolving in the future?
“It’s such an anything goes company  that it could be anything, I think we will do a range of colours eventually and god knows what else! But I don’t really want to run the world, I just want a lovely little salon where everyone smiles and no one is too concerned with being rich or cool or beautiful or anything else that makes us feel insecure. Just a safe heaven for my clients and staff where they can be themselves.”

Where do you buy your amazing outfits and how would you describe your style?
“I like charity shop shopping when I’m in the states visiting my mum. I go to Beyond Retro for my 70s numbers and Dolls Kill for my 90s spice girl vibe. My inspiration is just everything I like without much thought for what other people think. There is truly no greater feeling than being yourself. It took me years to believe in myself in that way. I really enjoy ageing and becoming less concerned with other people. It makes you so much happier.”

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Follow Sophia on Instagram for more life and style inspiration @hiltonsophia

Theatre Review: American Idiot

Check out what happened when we sent our guest music blogger Verity Vincent to watch American Idiot the musical at Northcott Theatre in Exeter…

I took a seat at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, and the set was truly intriguing consisting of a large fuzzy TV screen hung above the stage. When the lights dimmed, footage of George W Bush and the aftermath of 9-11 looped before launching into the title track American Idiot.

The musical, created by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Mayer and Racky Plews, follows the story of three dead beat friends. Doing nothing with their days but smoking weed, playing video games and cracking jokes about doing each other’s moms and wanking. Central character Johnny, played by Newton Faulkner, wants to embark on a new adventure, leaving the suburbs for a big city lifestyle. As one friend Will (played by Steve Rushton) has a knocked up girlfriend and the other; Tunny (played by Alexis Gerred) answers Uncle Sam’s call and joins the army, with disastrous consequences. Johnny departs alone and falls into a spiral of drink and drugs, creating some dark and convincing scenes.

Another familiar face in the cast is singer Amelia Lily who starred on The X Factor in 2011 and went on to release her debut album in 2013. Taking on the illusive role of Whastername, we see her emerge in the ‘city’ and after catching the eye of Johnny, they embark on a destructive and drug-induced relationship. It’s at this time we also meet St Jimmy, played by Lucas Rush. The Mohican-haired punk is a boulder of energy throughout the show, serving as a bad influence and heroin buddy to Johnny.

The musical talent displayed goes above and beyond your average twee musical. With two guitarists and a drummer positioned at the top of the set, the music you get is raw, real and emotional. Even if you’re not a die-hard Green Day fan, the music is undeniably epic. A real highlight from the first half was acoustic number ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’. Lead by Faulkner, you hear every word he sings in his most beautiful tone. The audience is completely drawn in and silent.

Moving into the second half, we get to experience Amelia Lily’s talents more and more. Her focus never falters and that huge voice is finally released when we hear her sing ’21 Guns’ and ‘Letterbomb’.

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The storyline you follow is simple enough, but powerful in its messages and as we see the gang of three friends come back together after experiencing lost love, fatherhood and military stints,
the uplifting closing track ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ sees the entire cast pick up their guitars for a company rendition. What you witness is a group of musicians, as well as talented actors and performers and it’s not something you often get from musicals.

You couldn’t praise Newton Faulkner enough for his portrayal. As a complex character it’s a tough role to get right and he totally nailed it. Throwing his voice out song after song, he is the perfect embodiment of what a Johnny should be.

The American Idiot tour concludes at Belfast’s Grand Opera House on July 2nd

Book a ticket. You’ll have the time of your life!

Images from: www.americanidiotthemusical.co.uk

Interview with Dr. Faisal Rehman

45-year-old Dr. Faisal Rehman is a nephrologist (kidney specialist) and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. He also takes care of patients with kidney disease and contributes heavily to the education of hundreds of medical students, residents, and subspecialty fellows.

Here, Dr. Faisal Rehman tells us about his inspirational weight-loss journey inspired by his love for his family as well as his boxing, charity work and of course tattoos… 

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Photo taken by April-Lea Hutchinson

Growing up, I was a very skinny kid and I remained thin in my early 20s.  When I started medical school I began eating more and exercising less. I didn’t start to pile on the pounds until I graduated from medical school and got married. I  started neglecting my health, working long hours and eating fast food.  Pretty soon, I became supersized! In 2002, while completing my training in Nephrology, I had ballooned up to 242 pounds.

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Around the time, this picture was taken, I bought a new home for my young family that I couldn’t afford. I wanted to protect them if anything should happen to me, and I applied for life insurance. Unfortunately, my life insurance application was turned down because it was clear that I had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This was  embarrassing for me, that as a physician I had allowed my own health to deteriorate. Almost immediately after the results,  I started eating properly, cut out all of the fast food and began eating sensible meals. I also started exercising, lifting weights and running and within six months I transformed myself into the picture below.

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I lost 70 pounds in eight months. My blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol normalised and I was approved for life insurance.  It was at this point, I started to participate in boxing classes.

Life was great until 2006 when my second daughter Nadiyah was diagnosed with Leukaemia at three years old. This was one of the most heartbreaking times in my life. I put all my focus on her recovery and treatment, my training stopped. I lost more weight because of stress and fear for my daughter’s health. Her chemotherapy treatments lasted for three years, at the end of 2008, she was in remission and doing great. This experience changed my perception of what was important in life.

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In 2009, I took charge of raising money for the Kidney Clinical Research Unit at our hospital. I organised a black tie night featuring a boxing tournament between amateur athletes from the USA and Canada.  I decided to fight on the night, in the hope that we would raise more money. So at the age of 38 I began training for my first fight. In sparring over the next several months I suffered a broken nose, hand injuries and concussions, but I got myself in top shape and was one of the featured fights at our charity night event called “Showdown in the Downtown”. Although I lost my first fight, it was an amazing night of fights and we raised $107,000 for charity.

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In 2011, when I turned 40, I decided that instead of painting on tattoos for my charity fights, I was going to get real tattoos. I wanted the tattoos to symbolise my warrior spirit. Inspired by the fighting spirit of boxer Miguel Cotto, who had amazing tribal tattoos, I started getting inked. Rich Lambe, owner of Stay True Tattoo in St. Thomas, Ontario tattooed my tribal and the wings on my back that symbolise speed and agility.

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Photo taken by April-Lea Hutchinson

While organising charity events and working, I ventured into the world of kick boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) as I wanted to challenge myself. I absolutely love it!

Through my work with my charity Showdown in the Downtown, we have now held a number of professional combat sport events as well as music concerts with acts like Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo and Jann Arden. Our last four events raised over $250,000. Over the last seven years we have raised over $1.4 million for kidney disease research, solid organ transplant research, cancer research and to combat poverty and homelessness.

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This year, I turn 45. I have never been in better shape and I am now proud of my body and  tattoos. I had some pictures taken of myself showing off my tattoos and my fit physique, mainly for my own memories and also to remind myself that it is never too late to embrace your body and to embrace the art you have placed on your body, as it is a reflection of your spirit. I am not sure if it was my own health scare or the scare I had with my daughter’s health that motivated me to change myself, but I suspect both of these events changed my outlook on life for the better. I am grateful that I have been able to help myself, my family and others through combat sport and through my charitable work. I am blessed.