Music Review: Future of the Left, ‘The Peace and Truce of Future of the Left’

Hobbyist reviewer Harry Casey-Woodward reviews the new album by Welsh alternative post-punk rockers Future of the Left

Future of the Left, The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left, 2016, Prescriptions Records, 3/5 

Sebastian-Nevols-_-Future-of-the-Left-1In the early 2000s, under the flood of emo and floppy indie bands, a little Welsh band named mclusky were roaring deranged but hilarious lyrics over furious but exhilarating riffs. When they disbanded, singer and guitarist Andrew Falkous put together another band, Future of the Left, who are just as loud but with a bit more thought to song structure. Despite never hitting the mainstream, Falco and co are still charging on and have just released a new album this April.

Despite being called Peace & Truce, these themes sound like the last things on the band’s minds when recording the album. Each song is typical of the band’s sound: stabbing vocals and guitar over thunderous, almost funky bass and drums. Falco screeches more surreal lyrics referencing various aspects of culture, which don’t make much sense but are somehow catchy and entertaining. One song, for example, is called ‘White Privelege Blues’.


I was excited about this new album, especially after the band’s last record in 2013, How to Stop your Brain in an Accident. Falco’s brand of punk has always been louder and more creative than the efforts of other bands, and this creativity was taken to almost epic heights on the last album. So I was excited enough to contribute to the band’s Pledge campaign and get a copy of the new album in return, plus a mini-album of excess songs.

I’m ashamed to say, however, that I didn’t think much of the album on the first few listens. To be fair, the album doesn’t quite have the same spark as previous work. While the last LP was an entertaining blend of aggression, pop and bizarre experimentation, the songs of Peace & Love are all straight forward post-punk rockers clocking under three minutes. This makes an intense but not a massively interesting album.


At least, that’s what I thought at first. But like the band’s other albums, the nonsense verses and booming riffs have a habit of creeping into your head and you suddenly find yourself singing such lines as ‘the gammon on the bed was fine Danny’ at every waking moment.

The band’s genius ability to make unsettling but catchy punk rock for the 21st century is still very present. The songs, which at first meshed together, do deliver a mild range. There are cool punky bites like ‘Grass Parade’ and ‘Proper Music’ in between nightmarish funky epics like ‘Miner’s Gruel’, a darkly funny narrative of parents persuading their daughter to leave home. Think Public Image meet an amped-up Pixies.

So the new album may not have the invention and reckless energy of previous work. But these weak points are swallowed by Jack Egglestone’s pounding drums and Julia Ruzicka‘s throbbing bass. Tearing over the top are the smart, savage riffs and wit of Mr. Falco. Prepare for a solid, dry slab of noise rock ready to squash you flat.

Images from DIY, depthoffield and liveatleeds.

Maia Flore Photography

French photographer Maia Flore creates beautiful surreal art that exists in a realm between reality and her imagination, her works are complete fabrications that focus on the sense of touch. In the collection Sleep Elevations (2010-2013) Flore presents girls who are entering into a new boundless surrounding, their contorted bodies portray their limitless imagination contrasted against their physical limitations…






You, Me & Bones

27-year-old Waan Pivasiri is a candle maker and creator of You, Me & Bones in Melbourne, Australia. We chatted to Waan about what inspires her creepy and cute candles… 


How long have you been making candles? You, Me & Bones’ third birthday will be at the end of April!

How did you start? What did you do before? It started as a hobby; I wanted to gift my friends one off hand-made products rather than things that are mass produced in a factory. I was a front end web developer at the time and after a year or so, I went part time so I can focus more on candle making. Then a year after that I went full time on You, Me & Bones!

Do you have a background in art? Not really, however, I’d like to think I’m pretty creative. I used to draw, paint, sketch and all that but I don’t think I was ever really good at it. I like all things crafty and I like making’things, I’ve been dabbling a little in cross stitching and well as pottery and I’m loving it!

What is the process behind each one? How do you make them? I brainstorm ideas of what I’d like to make then my sculptor Dan create a master for me and we go ahead and create molds off the cast. Sometimes we have to remake the cast if, say the candle won’t burn down nicely, etc, but most of the time it’s perfect. I then make candles out of the mold! The best bit is the first time you unmold your new design. I get super excited!


What inspires you? Everything I create or want to create are the things and people I am fascinated with and would like to have in my own home. I find dolls so creepy but I just can’t pull away from them. I have a small collection of random doll parts but I have them tucked away so I don’t see them because sometimes they just weird me out so much. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but things that don’t make sense inspires me.

 Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Apart from my shoulder tattoo (which is also my favourite – done by Lee Stain from Inktricate), all my other tattoos are kind of hidden. They are mostly on my the front and sides of my thighs – I feel like they would hurt the least so I get tattooed there. My sculptor Dan Danckert is also a tattoo artist at Killer Bees Tattoos and he did a beautiful Victorian doll head candle on my thigh. I also have a lot of candle and cat tattoos on me!

Where can people buy them and do you do commissions? You can find my products on my webshop. You can also check out my Instagram for updates and the like. Unfortunately I normally don’t have time for commissions but it never hurt to send me a nice email to ask about it!


Henrik Uldalen Solo Exhibition “Rapture” @ Last Rites Gallery

14 May – 3 July 2016
Opening Night Reception: 14 May 2016 @ 7pm
Last Rites Gallery
325 West 38th Street
New York, NY 10018 USA

Last Rites Gallery is pleased to announce Rapture, a solo exhibition of works by Henrik Uldalen, on view at 325 W 38th Street from May 14 – July 3, 2016. The opening reception will take place Saturday, May 14th at 7pm. The Norwegian figurative painter’s darkly rendered subjects are cloaked in a dense cloud of charged emotion. Uldalen’s people are often portrayed in frozen, near death-like moments of numbing pain. Yet, his exquisite paintings are ethereal and other worldly.

Henrik Uldalen’s subjects are meticulously produced. His brushstrokes are both expressionistic and invisible to the eye, and his palette of cold ice blues and beiges, ochres and light pinks, is a study in the aesthetics of extreme solitude and suffering. The psychological states Uldalen chases feature subjects who appear to be drifting away from consciousness. Indeed, Uldalen is painting the subtly shifting winds of the human storm – coming to terms with one’s own daimon, the emotional shadow that plays just off to the wings throughout our lives.

“Rapture” is the artist’s painful, but liberating metamorphosis from a set of classical influences he’s grown up with. These newest works, Uldalen says, prevail over the sensation of what he terms a “nihilistic void” that has always accompanied his intensely detailed and emotionally disorienting figurative oil paintings. This series works out a handful of seemingly personal but universal conflicts – from the navel gazing of Narcissus, hypnotized by his own reflection, to the struggles of mythological creatures such as the Minotaur – each indicative of a peculiar state of mind. Uldalen set himself the task of exploring the life-long endeavors of those who recognize they are trapped in the maze of their own ineluctable fates. Uldalen cathartically exorcized these emotionally torn humans with a powerful and clear poetry, a dirge-like refrain perceived in the stoic facial expressions of his male characters as well as the gracious yet dramatic eyes of his female figures. “My art has evolved quite a bit, since I started out painting. I was heavily influenced by classical representational art and Norwegian fairy tales. As a result, the paintings I made back then might be classified as “anachronistic.” While I’m still fascinated by classical art, I have moved away from neo-classical figuration – perfectionism – although what has not changed is the emotional impact my paintings are meant to have on viewers,” says the artist.

Uldalen begins each work with a photo shoot using models, then he experiments with a range of colors that seem to fit the skin tone and unendurable emotion he’s looking to explore. With the last series, Henrik abandoned a previous analytical and structural approach to painting in favor of one more fluid and less mapped out. His portraits are an attempt, he says, to be truer to himself – a looser, more open view towards humanity – but without any dilution of the craft and the expressive technique he’s mastered in the handling of paint.

Henrik Uldalen (b. 1986, Asker, Norway) is a figurative painter based in London, U.K. He has been featured in many publications, including HiFructose and American Art Collector. His work has been showcased across Europe, America and Australia. Uldalen has had group and solo exhibitions at Galleri Ramfjord, Olso, Norway; Thinkspace, Los Angeles, CA; Jonathan Levine Gallery, NYC; Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco, CA; Copro Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; BeinArt Gallery, Melbourne, AU; Last Rites Gallery, NYC and Spoke Art, San Francisco, CA.

Henrik Uldalen is also the creator of “Paintguide,” a wildly popular Instagram feed focused on contemporary painting. In 2015 Uldalen curated “Unit’s London Paintguide: the World’s First Instagram Show” for the Unit Gallery in London, UK.

Further info about the exhibition or the gallery, email or call Casey Gleghorn (Gallery Director & Curator) at 570-447-5778.

Art Macabre: Becoming Art for a Night

Our editor Alice Snape was asked to pose for an Art Macabre lifedrawing session at Museum of London, which was part of the Tattoo London exhibition. As a first-time naked model, here’s how she felt about the experience and seeing her body as art…

img_5701.jpg“Me? A model? That I am definitely not. I hate having my photo taken, and I am very critical of my appearance, which probably comes from years of self-conscious anxiety and a childhood spent in a chubby awkward body that I was never quite comfortable in – I think I am yet to grown into my nose! But when I was asked by Nikki, who runs Art Macabre, to be a lifedrawing model for the evening, I had to say yes. It felt like one of those experiences that should be on your bucket list, and as a 32-year-old woman who has worked really hard on overcoming that teenage insecurity and becoming comfortable in her own skin, there didn’t seem like a better time to do it.

“Before the evening, I asked Nikki to give me some advice, as a first-timer. She told me to: Breathe and relax into poses and, on a practical note, bring a dressing gown to wear in-between poses and during the break. All day before the event, I was a bag of nerves, running different scenarios though my mind – a constant reel of what ifs! But, the moment I took step onto that platform and got into the first pose (five minutes to warm up), I felt incredible, empowered, strong and beautiful.

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“I fixed my eyes on the twinkling lights that surrounded the space and they lulled me into a mediative state. I listened to the sound of pencils and quiet concentration, eyes looking up at me and back down to the blank canvas, pictures of my body and tattoos slowly forming on the pages. I thought about how my body might look through the eyes of everyone in front of me, during one pose I focused on a determined looking woman who seemed lost in the movements of her pencil. A few brief moments of self-doubt flitted through my mind – what if I am not interesting enough to draw? – but they soon dissipated when I realised everyone surrounding me was creating their own interpretation of me.

“The evening consisted of a few short standing postures and some longer (25 minutes) seated poses. As the night drew to a close, each of the artists lay their work onto the floor to share it with each other and the models… Looking at each work of art, I realised I have grown very fond of my body as it has become more covered with tattoos. I have taken ownership of my body by choosing where each tattoo goes, and I love my colourful skin. Over the past couple of years, I have also started exercising regularly and even ran a marathon! I love the fact that my body is fit and healthy, and that has boosted my confidence hugely. My thighs, for example, have always been a part of my body I have hated. I always think they are chunky, they have bumps and cellulite that no matter how much I exercise will not disappear. But they are mine, they are strong and that means they are beautiful.

“I saw that each person had drawn my body slightly differently, my curves slightly more or less rounded, in some I looked bigger and in some small. Everyone sees an object through their own eyes, putting on that object their own preferences. It was enlightening and uplifting to see that subjectivity about the form of my own body – no one is ever going to be as critical of it as myself.

“I walked away from the evening with renewed self confidence and a want to relive the experience. It felt like a true celebration of my naked self and at last a goodbye to any anxiety I had!”

Here’s some works of art created on the night:







A chat with David Corden at the 2016 Venice Tattoo Gathering

Guest writer Sarah Armstrong takes us through an inspiring weekend at the Venetian Tattoo Gathering that took place on Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May 2016.

The Venetian Tattoo Gathering saw a private gathering of artists meet under the frescoed ceilings of the Palazzo Ca’Zenobio – a gilded 1690s Venetian Palace hidden away in the labyrinth of Venice’s canals. The Venetian Tattoo Gathering focused on learning, drawing, painting and tattooing, emphasising education for all artists within the tattoo industry and, unlike usual conventions, was not open to the general public.


Paul Booth, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter and Steve Butcher were among many of the artists present, and I spoke to realism artist and owner of Edinburgh’s Semper studio, David Corden, on why the educational structure of this gathering was so important to him and other artists.

jeff gogueJeff Gogue working on Juliet Preston’s sleeve

david sam and back

 David Corden stood with Sam Ford and the back piece she worked on this weekend.

David believed that the gathering was able to work like this because everyone involved was taking part because it’s their passion. Unlike a ‘normal’ job, it’s not like a business sending its employees to learn the latest things and sit through seminars they don’t want to be in. David and the other artists put themselves here deliberately because they want to learn more about their craft.

painting hallThe painting hall was filled with fine artists

colin DaleJPG  Hand poke artist Colin Dale embraced by client

Sam FordRealism artist Sam Ford tattoos a neck

David, along with many other artists, gave seminars as well tattooing over the weekend.  BJ Betts held lettering workshops and there were live collaborations from the likes of Fantasy Artists Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Paul Booth and Stefano Alcantara.  Panelled critiques of submitted work were also held in front of an audience.

colaborationLive collaboration from Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Paul Booth and Stefano Alcantara

critiqueDavid Corden panels with other artists on the submitted critique

“We pay our own money to sit through a seminar from people we admire,” David told me, “and sometimes it’s just for a bit of affirmation that we are on the right track or that we are using products that are correct or techniques we have got – it may simply be that we need more experience or practice doing things.”

panelOne of the many panelled discussions tackling the biggest questions in tattooing today

David explained that an artist’s ego can be an incredibly fragile thing… so if they are good on paper it frustrates them that they are not as good on skin or as quick as they would like to be. To hear from someone else that it does take a while and they are on the right track can be very valuable.

madonna like a virgin“Posing in the same place Madonna filmed Like a Virgin, because… I’m Madonna”

The Venetian Tattoo Gathering was the perfect location for this kind of inspirational event, (if it was good enough for Madonna’s Like a Virgin video) and as David mentioned, the outcome of this kind of event was supposed to help you do better work as an artist and return back in to the studio revitalised and refreshed.

The humble nature of all the artists present and willingness to learn from each other this weekend was overwhelming. David noted that by the end of the weekend “if you are lucky, you have managed to talk to some of your heroes – and thats the thing, everyone who comes here is star struck over somebody, even the most famous people have heroes here – it was just absolutely incredible and that’s the pull of things like this, they got involved because of the way it is run and the reason it takes place. ”

Writer Sarah can be contacted via her email at:

An interview with PMU technician, Rachel Pitman

Here is the second part of T&I resident make-up artist Keely’s write-up on permanent make-up technician Rachel Pitman. Rachel answers some of the most common questions associated with PMU. (read part one here)

What is permanent makeup?
It derives from tattooing, but the rotary machine I use is extremely lightweight and the application is quite different…it works very slowly and very gently, and I apply a topical anesthetic to alleviate any pain.

What’s the difference between PMU and traditional tattooing?
The pigments I use are produced specifically to mimic make-up and I don’t deposit the ink quite as deep into the dermis, which helps it to gradually fade over time. I’m doing a tattoo apprenticeship and I’m discovering that so many of the techniques and processes are completely different! The face is much more delicate and this really dictates the process. You have a lot more leeway with tattoos to get creative.


How long have you been working with PMU?
I  trained with Nouveau Contour almost eight years ago and before that I studied Fine Art for five years, so it was a very different direction for me. But I really wanted to do something that utilised my creativity and my perfectionist tendencies!

What made you want to get into the industry?
I’ve always been obsessed with eyebrows – I had mine tattooed with permanent make-up back when I was at uni. But the technician made a real mess of it, I figured I could do a much better job myself.


What is the thing that people request most regarding permanent make-up?
Eyebrows! I remedy over plucked, lost, or weak brows on men and women. I often treat people with decent hair growth who want to perfect what they’ve got. But emulating hair strokes on clients who’ve lost their brows from chemotherapy or alopecia is really rewarding. It makes such a difference to their confidence to regain something they’ve lost like that.


What have you had done yourself?
Apart from my brows, I’ve got a beauty spot and I’ve tattooed the contour of my upper lip line – just along the cupid’s bow. It gives my lips extra volume and definition. Discreet and well planned permanent make-up is extremely effective!

How do you see the industry evolving?
I think it will evolve as the demand does. Brows are at the forefront right now, so a lot of focus has shifted to creating authentic hair-strokes. Maybe in a few years eyeliner will take precedence and everyone will be obsessed with creating super elegant, feline eyes.

Is there trends with permanent make-up like there are with the make-up industry?
I’m mindful not to overstep the boundaries… for example I’ll create a really thick brow if 1. It genuinely suits my customer and 2. They have a lot of existing hair to ensure it looks natural. But generally, discretion is the aim, and most beauty trends aren’t in keeping with that… so it’s not too much of an issue.

Do you find that you are fixing a lot of botched jobs?
Yes! I correct a lot of work from “cowboy” technicians. These techs are charging low prices cbeause they’re poorly trained, using cheap equipment, and quite possibly unlicensed. Like tattooing, the industry is unregulated, and people need to thoroughly research their practitioner.

Rachel can be contacted via her website: or via Facebook and her Instagram @permanent_makeup_london.  Her tattoo apprentice page is @p_i_t_m_a_n

Interview with Arianna Settembrino

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to Arianna Settembrino, who works out of her personal studio Skinwear Tattoo in Rimini about what inspires her and how she sees today’s tattoo culture…


You were one of the first women to stand out in the tattoo world, not just here in Italy but in the world. How did you get to where you are now? I’m very proud of what I have become. My path, somehow, has always been characterized by great commitment and great sacrifice.
I am very self-critical, but very determined. When I was young, I can remember, being given the chance to work in a studio as an assistant/apprentice, and how I devoted all of myself to this job, making the most of everything I was required to do by my mentor.

If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be doing now? Another great passion of mine is education. I would definitely like to work in the school environment, with particular attention to adolescents. I strongly believe in the value of rehabilitation and recovery- I would have probably worked on a project of rehabilitation and reintegration of young people when they leave juvenile detention centres.


Do you believe that every tattoo artists chooses their tattooing style based on the characteristics of their own personality? It is absolutely true! The style of a tattoo artist and the characteristics of their work are an external representation of their character and of their essence. I would say that on one side we choose the style, and on the other one, the style chooses you.

Who and what inspires you? Is there any recurring themes in your art?
My sources of inspiration have always been tied to classical iconography of traditional tattoos, with bits of Victorian style and religion thrown in. I’ve definitely found my identity and style, and my own self-discipline and awareness have helped me to do this. I love anything form of art that is very graphic, futurist and Gothic or the brilliant works by Bosch- these intrigue and enchant me, even the music.


What has changed since you started tattooing? What would you like to change and what would you never want to change? It has changed a lot. The tattoo world reflects significantly the society in which we live in and nothing is as it was then.

Tattooing has evolved so much, especially where technology and equipment are concerned. Social media has elevated tattoos to new heights, and more and more people are getting tattooed because of it. But on the other hand tattoos being so available has generated the false belief that a tattoo is easy- people think they’re cool and simple to create. It takes respect and awareness to be a good tattooer, nowadays no one respects the art or their customers. There are so many ‘famous’ tattooers that do not always know the meaning of ethics and professional conduct, and tattoo their face and hands with a carelessness that leaves me astounded. It is an already saturated environment, and in a way it is so widespread that it has lost value. This job is not for everyone, you have to earn it!


Do you have a personal mantra that you live by?
My personal mantra is “I am present”. I use it every day, not just at work as I need to keep in touch with myself and stay centred.

What do you think of people who call themselves tattoo collectors? What I think of today’s tattoo collectors is that many of them are hurrying to fill up every little blank space, getting tattooed only by those branded and trendy tattooists. Their collection is not a true representation of a story, it hasn’t grown over time, with no life experiences instead it is a mere status symbol- a pre-packaged design. A visual impact that really makes me sick.


 If we think of the first tattooed people, years and years ago, we understand that tattoo was seen as something wild, forbidden but fascinating. Considering this, how do you see the future of tattoo culture? If once tattooed people were seen as freaks and people paid a ticket to the circus to see them up close, well, today I would say that we have gone the other way. Today is just the non tattooed person to be something exceptional. It is both good and bad, nowadays many people are getting tattooed because everyone else has one! I hope the future of tattoo art will be positive and that it will flourish, I hope that quality will win against quantity.

Brighton Tattoo Convention Street Spotter

Last bank holiday weekend, we had an absolutely blast at the 9th annual Brighton Tattoo Convention. The sun was shining and everyone was looking amazing, we couldn’t resist snapping a few of our favourite outfit/tattoo combos while we were there…

Amanda / Honey Pop
29, Blogger, Glasgow



Amanda’s bee by Rebecca Vincent

Tessa Metcalfe
27, jeweller, London



Tessa’s swan by Brian Wilson, jewels by David Corden


Tessa’s rose tattoo by Clare Frances

21, hairdresser, Brighton



Sophie’s back by Dotwork Damian

Lucy, 27, marketing, London (left)
Lauren, 30, trainee tattooist, Eastbourne



Lucy’s tattoo by Jaid Roberts


Lauren’s tattoo by Kiley

Tiggen / thetigerstyle
19, blogger/works in coffee shop, Herts



Tiggen’s tattoo by  Ricky Williams

Did you attend Brighton Tattoo Convention? Are you planning on going to any more tattoo conventions this year? Keep us posted @thingsandink 

Photos by James Gilyead 

Nicole Leth: Sex and Ice Cream

23-year-old Nicole Leth is an artist and designer based in Kansas City, Missouri. We chatted to Nicole about her self love journey and her new store which will celebrate the work of hard-working female creatives… 

How would you describe your style? My style is Katy Perry meets Marilyn Monroe meets Jeremy Scott meets Yayoi Kusama meets tween girl in America all wrapped up in a Miami in the 1970’s colour palate.

What inspires you? I am inspired by day to day life and everything that goes along with it. When I first started designing I pulled a lot of inspiration from past relationships and break ups and now I like to view my work as an autobiography or visual diary where I can talk about things I’m experiencing and going through as a 23 year old woman in the world today. I like to translate these ideas and emotions through traditional textile processes, imagery from my diaries, and colour play. I guess to sum it all up: I’m inspired by the notion that everyone has a valid and important story to tell regardless of their age or gender.

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When will your new shop open? How have you made this happen? Do you have a background in retail?  Ah! My shop is opening on May 6th! ( Eeeee! I’M SO EXCITED!) I’ve been working my way up in retail jobs for the past four years and just recently quit all my other jobs to do Sex + Ice Cream full time. How did I make this happen? Hard work. No bull shitting. I don’t take days off — when I was working my other jobs I would work there for eight hours and then come home at night and work on my own stuff for eight more hours, fall sleep on a pile of sewing supplies, wake up and do it all over again.  I think that sometimes people underestimate what it means to be an artist, let alone have your own business, and make it work. I think its super important to set goals for yourself and be your own support system.

What can people expect to see in it? I’ll be selling my pieces that I’ve designed over the years. Everything that is for sale on my online store you’ll also be able to buy in my shop! I’ll also be selling one of a kind items that I’ve hand sewn and hand painted the fabric of. Also, I’ve brought in a lot of work from some of my favourite brands and artists from around the world! Lots of ceramic pieces, zines, handmade panties, patches, pins, and all that jazz. I like to think of it as a badass collective of work made and designed by extremely talented female makers.

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Are there any artists that you’ll be collaborating with? I think collaborating is one of the most important and stimulating parts about being a practising artist. I’m working on a million different projects: doing surface design on clay pieces from ceramic artists, creating handmade candles in candle holders with a candle girl, working with photographers and video graphers to produce digital work, and with writers on zines!

On your website you say that your garments are your personal diary, what do you mean by this? I mean it in both a very literal and theoretical way. A lot of my pieces have imagery or doodles that have been scanned directly from my diary pages and printed on the fabric. Other pieces I literally treat as my diary and hand draw, write, or paint on the fabric to record what’s going on in my life, what is exciting me or making me sad. Designing garments is a way for me to express my words in a visual way.

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Do you see yourself as a feminist? Yes.

How do you hope to empower and inspire other women? I chose to start designing and creating clothing because I had gone through a bad break up and wanted to do something to empower myself and reclaim the person I knew I was. That was a pivotal, breakthrough moment for me and led me to discover something I was truly passionate about and a future that I wanted for myself. Most importantly, it made me realise how I strong I could be on my own, for myself. I think every women should feel that way — like they are capable of attaining anything in the whole goddamn world. I think the thing that a lot of women connect to in my work is the way I tell stories openly, without shame.
Recently, I’ve also been doing a lot of community work with young women’s organisations. I’ve done a few empowerment workshops where I tell my story, talk about relationships and ambitions, and create shirts with the girls.

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Is self love and body positivity important to you? Is it something you want to share? Yes. Its one of the driving forces behind my work and the stories I tell.

Can you tell us about your own self love journey? My self love journey has been a long one with lots of ups and downs. My childhood was filled with endless crash diets and gym memberships. At my thinnest I’ve weighed 120 pounds and at my heaviest I was over 200. I’ve been in relationships that were so tormenting I lost 50 pounds and I’ve been put on medicines that made me gain it all back. It was hard to have a healthy and accurate relationship with my body because it felt like something that was always changing and that I had no control over.

It took years and years and years but over the past two years especially I have developed an intense love and acceptance for my body. It feels really good to finally be content. I think its important to realize and understand that your body is something that cannot be labelled. That your health and self love is not something that can be determined by someone else. That your body is the one thing that has been with you since the beginning and helped you get through every hardship you’ve endured. That your body is beautiful and perfect as it is at this very moment in time.

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Can you tell us about your tattoos? Which was your first, do you still love it? My first tattoo is a big feather that turns into birds on my lower back. My father passed away when I was 17 so it was something I got for him. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of tattoos — all of which have personal meaning to me. My tattoos act a lot like a diary as well — I get them to record exact moments in time, experiences, feelings that I never want to forget. I have a portrait of my cat Sprinkle on my forearm (she was the first pet I ever adopted on my own, she’s handicapped and the most loving cat I’ve ever had). I have a few matching tattoos with people who I love. I have a diamond tattooed on my ring finger (my love for myself will always be the most important, I will always belong to myself). I have tally marks on my hand counting how many people I’ve truly been in love with in my life (right now there are two, I hope to add more to it someday).