the art on journalists

Stereotypes are hard to shake, for both jury and accused. If you’re sympathetic to the one that implies tattoos are mostly worn by rough labourers and ‘tradies,’ criminal bikies and ‘death-metal-heads,’ but never the polite and well-educated, a revision could be the order of the court.

Tattooing – or Body-Art –  is a growing industry, evidenced by more proponents, publicity, marketing, media reporting, and more colourful and prominent bodily display.

In Australia there have been three recent studies that indicate an increase in the number of people with tattoos from 10% in 1998 to 14.5% in 2005. In the 2005 study, for ages 20-29 years, nearly 30% of women and 22% of men had tattoos (and 25% of men 30-39 years). The demographics of body art have changed:

“Tattooing appears to have moved into mainstream society, with roughly one in seven Australian adults reporting having been tattooed” (Heywood, 2011)

These journalism students might be three of those happy reporters:


Amy Starling was once an apprentice tattooist, but she’s now majoring in Journalism as part of the BCMS. She’s not new to the field, having already completed a TAFE diploma, and worked for the multi-media magazine MiNDFOOD, and later for a tourism organisation


Amy Starling: BCMS

Amy’s work is most inspired by the passion and independence of her father, Steve Starling, popular and well-regarded freelance fishing journalist. She says that she struggled to find her own niche, but with her love of writing, learning about politics and the world, is confident that journalism and media is the right fit.

The ’80s movie, The Dark Crystal, informs the style of Amy’s tattoos. Her legs and wrists were the first canvas for tattoos, from the age of 17: ‘I was the freak at school!…tattooed legs…blonde Kiama surfer…’

The tattoo in the photo is partly completed – one like it may total 25 hours in creation – and she’s been having a love:hate relationship with it. The artist altered the design and it may have to be reworked.

John Durrant grew up in Cronulla, and is in his final year at UOW, having almost completed a degree in Law and English Literature. He’s already working three days a week in a commercial law practice in Sydney. Journalism is an elective, and he’s enjoying the reduced stress level, compared to the Law studies.

The tiger tattoo on John’s left arm is linked to his mother and sister and he’s had it for two years. It was done by a friend, so there was trust and the opportunity to see the artist’s previous work. The latest tattoo is a less elaborate line drawing of a bird on his right arm. John says it was ‘spur of the moment’: talking to an artist at a tattoo expo, he liked the design, it was an immediate and quickly applied work and he’s very pleased.

There will be more.


John Durrant: Law and Literature



Teisha Cloos recently completed her HSC, but decided against a gap year teaching English in a UK primary school. Instead she’s enrolled in a gruelling double degree course: Journalism and International Studies. She’s happy with the busy programme: the Journalism major is just right, and the choice of International studies will focus her on issues that matter. She grew up in the Shoalhaven area, and has just moved into an apartment not far from UOW.

Teisha’s tattoos aren’t as large, colourful or obvious as those shown above. Her – ‘two or four, depending   on how you look at it’ – tattoos are an expression of family bonds.

There’s also a peace symbol on her calf, which ‘reflects my lifestyle.’


Teisha Cloos: Journalism and International Studies


Heywood, W, Patrick, K, Smith, AMA, Simpson, J, Pitts, M, Richters, Shelley, J, “Who Gets Tattoos? Demographic and Behavioral Correlates of Ever Being Tattooed in a Representative Sample of Men and Women”, research paper, 2011, Melbourne. Accessed at ABC Online, 20April’14,

From the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (W.H., K.P., A.M.A.S., M.K.P., J.M.S.); Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (J.M.S.); School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (J.R.); and School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia (J.M.S.).





  1. I enjoyed your unique set out for this post, however the images are a bit small and can be overpowered by the large amount of words surrounding them. Putting all the portraits in one post was very engaging however can be a lot to process in one post. Overall this was a very strong post.

  2. A very good common theme between all the portraits and the stories behind the tattoos was really interesting but perhaps breaking it up into small posts would of made it easier to read. Nice work

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