The Australian Tattoo Show is on a mission to preserve the nation’s unique tattoo culture

Get the latest from Beat


The Australian Tattoo Show is on a mission to preserve the nation’s unique tattoo culture

Words by Christine Tsimbis

For all the tattoo enthusiasts, music lovers and everyone in between, the Valhalla Bound Tattoo Krew are hosting the Australian Tattoo Show.

The show proudly celebrates the legacy of the tattoo industry, while also combining the music and biker cultures to create a party that will see everybody letting loose and having fun.

“[The Valhalla Bound Tattoo Krew] is a collective of old school rock’n’roll mindset folk who came up in the death rattle of the Australian Tattoo biker rock‘n’roll culture,” host and tattooist Kimmy says. “Due to the mass consumerism platform for tattooing, which has the social media mainstream vibe to it, we wanted to make sure that the legacy that’s been built with the tattoo industry is maintained.

“We came together, a few cool people, and we decided that we were going to throw parties, and we were going to keep the story and legacy running. We draw a lot from the Angry Anderson era; everybody comes together, throws a party, hits it real hard, takes home trophies and everybody has stories. You’ve got to live it for the culture to thrive.”

The essence of these shows is to preserve the unique Australian culture of tattooing, which is being lost in the over-commercialised society that we live in.

“We have social media and it’s a barrage of multiple different platforms coming together to create something, but a lot of it can become over-commercialised,” Kimmy explains. “Australia has a great legacy, it’s very authentic and very Australian, yet I feel that we’re losing our own stamp on everything.

“This is about making sure that the Australian tattoo culture stays on the map. We feel obliged in a sense to make sure that the younger generation of tattooists and artists and people that are coming through this legacy have the opportunity to find this information out, because surprisingly not a lot of people know Australia’s history with tattooing, even if they own studios in Australia.”

Kimmy enthusiastically discusses the magic of tattoo history, and how important it is to preserve it in this generation.

“It’s historically an honour, a right of passage that cultures all over the world took practice in and took very seriously. It’s not just on a physical level of getting art on your arm – it’s the stories behind it, the intention behind it, why people got those tattoos. The people that are doing that art – how do they approach it? Is it something that’s throwaway content for them or do they look at it like what it truly is?”

The Australian Tattoo Show will also showcase music acts such as the Southbound Snake Charmers, Piston Fist and others, along with Kimmy herself who is a hip hop artist known as ‘Valkyrie Odin’. She’s been shaking things up in the industry.

“I’ve been playing hip hop shows, as well as working with multiple hip hop artists and tying them into the tattoo show.” Kimmy says. “We do a show because it’s a party for the artists and for the committed clients that support the industry. It’s about giving back to them. For me, performing at these things is important. I just released my new album, which is called 1% of Nothin, and it really makes you have to listen to it to understand what I’m saying, especially in the culture I’m growing up around; bike culture and tattoo culture.

“We’ve got a real infusion of music to set a tone because the music is the magic that is connecting all the energy in that room. The most important part of this show is the vibe and happiness and wanting to come back again and again. It needs to feel like home when you walk in there, so the music is a very crucial part of the entire show.”

The Australian Tattoo Show goes down at The Tote on Sunday December 22. Grab your tickets via the venue’s Oztix.