It finally happened! I have been waiting for someone to ask me this for the better part of 3 years and as of late yesterday arvo, thanks to Tumblr, someone asked me the question! I have been thinking a lot about why I do what I do and while there are a number of reasons, I don’t think I have ever written them down. Most of these things have been my driving force in one way or another for as long as I can remember. So sit back, grab a tea and get ready for a long, long list of things that inspire me to create.
I think I’ll get the obvious ones out of the way first and say my family. This is going to sound a little bit like an award speech but rest assured if it weren’t for this handful of people, I would never feel like I had the capacity to make anything.
My mum is an amazing lady. She raised me on her own and not the ‘Disney on her own’ where there’s a kind villager that took care of me while she went to work. I mean properly on her own. My dad left when I was young and both his and mum’s side of the family did little to help. Couple that with me being a little shit as a kid, constantly having problems at school and after school care, I didn’t exactly make it easy for her. In the last 9 or so years I have watched her take us from a crappy one bedroom apartment to a five bedroom house with ocean views, complete with my dream pets (a chocolate Labrador and Burmese cat) and the biggest room I think anyone has had, ever – it’s relatively separated from the rest of the house and has an en suite and it’s own entrance. She did all this by herself, started a business from nothing as soon as I was able to take care of myself and proved to me that anything is possible if you work your ass off. I never would have imagined going from sharing McDonald’s Happy Meals with her to having all that I have now, but it’s definitely played a huge part in my goals and ambitions, in turn anything I create.
My girlfriend. This girl inspires me like crazy. Every day of the last three years I have spent with her I have been inspired to do cool stuff and I am always itching to work on new projects with her. We share a lot of common interests in the form of video games, anime, manga, music, TV shows and a whole bunch of other stuff. This has lead us to make a few YouTube videos which we are planning to expand in the next few months. She is also helping and contributing a lot to my magazine, Strange Collection, which she also helped name. I love the heck out of this girl and I can’t wait til’ she is a huge YouTube star!
My animals. I don’t want to call them pets because that makes it seem like I own them. Technically I do but I don’t really see it that way. Rouby and Coco are part of my rag-tag squad which most people call family. Rouby, the chocolate pooch, is just full of love. Coco is a little harder to get affection out of but when she does it’s non stop and she purrs like a V8. I am constantly inspired to take photos of these animals because I think they are both downright beautiful. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have seen many artsy-fartsy photos of both of them.
Marcus Bandy/Wheelbase Magazine. This dude, what can I say. Back when I was running my skate business I would check out the website often. Only a short few months ago Wheelbase went from online only to print. To me, that’s huge. I recently decided I wanted to start a magazine of my own and I had no idea how challenging it is. Watching Marcus skate and make Wheelbase into what is today has been nothing short of amazing and he constantly inspires me to skate better and write better. I have yet to meet him but the day that I do will be a great day. Skater, writer, photographer and all around rad dude. Captain Wheelbro is without a doubt a huge inspiration to all the skate stuff I have been doing lately and definitely played a part in my decision to start manufacturing my own skateboards (you heard it hear first folks!) so stay tuned. I had all but given up skating for good until I was roped back in one fateful afternoon when I was sent the first printed issue of Wheelbase mag with a handwritten note from Marcus himself. Without knowing it, he reignited my love to shred planks of wood and I felt like I was given a huge part of myself back because of that. Totally selfless act. Totally rad. Marcus, if you’re reading this, please come to Australia so I can skate with you.
Justin Fox/Zen Garage. I’m not even sure how to describe this dude and what he’s done, not just for me but in general. Back when I was a spotty 19ish year old I was obsessed with his Nissan Skyline R32 GTR. I would stare at pictures of it all the time, pretty sure it was my background at some point. I credit that car equally as much as I credit Paul Walker for my love of cars and in particular Skylines. I have owned two R33’s as of writing this article and I am planning on getting a 32 soon. I can’t remember exactly when but eventually I started wondering who owned the car, crazy right? I hadn’t even considered that there was actually a person behind the beast, someone actually building the GTR into the monster that is is today. I started looking into who he was and I was impressed. Designer, blogger, photographer, community cultivator and overall just a really interesting guy. After several attempts to reach out to him via social media, eventually he was kind enough to let me come on board as a contributor for Zen Garage and thus began my “automotive journalism” career. The article I wrote after spending a week there is my most popular article to date. I also managed to come in at no. 9 in Zen’s 2014 top 10 most viewed list with an article I wrote about what I thought we should be taught during license tests. I’m not a cool kid but it’s easy to forget that when I’m writing for Zen and Justin. Last year when I decided to study graphic design he invited me around to his place to chat to me about his many years as a designer. Man has that guy lived. After many hours of talking I left feeling totally inspired to start design, now just about everything I see him doing inspires me to work harder and create cool stuff. Whether he’s shooting girls or blogging, I am amazed at all that he does and as I have said to him, if I accomplish 5% of what he has I will consider myself a success. 100% support from day one, coupled with the positive vibes from Zen make it hard not to be inspired. Justin, if you’re reading this, thank you for giving me a chance when no one else would and putting up with my insecurities and laziness as a writer.
Rou Reynolds/Enter Shikari. This band is a huge part of my life. I knew I wanted to name my dog after the lead singer Rou but when I got to the puppy place I really liked the girl dog that was there. Seeing as I was set on the name I decided to call her Rou-by (pronounced “Rooby” even though Rou pronounces his name “Raow” so I guess technically she’s “Raow-by”). I don’t think he knows how much of an effect he has had on me, my views on the world and my life in general. I have written a bunch of short stories and poems which are inspired by an Enter Shikari song and I am planning on turning them into a graphic novel when I have some free time. Their music means a lot to me and I don’t know what I would do without it. Seeing them live was such an amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget.
AJ Perdomo/The Dangerous Summer. This guy. AJ is my spirit animal. His lyrics have made more sense as I have gotten older and it seemed like some of the songs that I didn’t really understand at first became clear as I experienced the things he was singing about for myself. I met him in a little bar once in Sydney after a show and he was very drunk and told my mum that he loved her, then hugged me. His music and lyrics have gotten me through a lot, especially some deep bouts of depression when I was younger. I often listen to TDS while writing at 2am like I am right now. To have someone across the other side of the world sing about stuff that perfectly relates to things you’re dealing with, that’s a special kind of comfort. He has one of the best voices I have ever heard and it means the world to me that I got to see him live and meet him before The Dangerous Summer broke up. AJ, if you’re reading this, thank you for making amazing music. I have a feeling that we both experience disarray in the same way and I don’t think you will ever understand what your words mean to me. I seriously can’t wait to see what you come up with in your future endeavors.
Cars. Cars man. Shit, cars are the one thing I could 100% blindly devote my entire life to. I don’t know, there’s just something about them. They way they work, the way they sound. The way I feel when I am controlling one. Ever since I first saw Paul Walker driving the R34 in 2 Fast 2 Furious I have been completely invested in cars. I have always known that cars would play a huge part in my life. I was fortunate enough to be given a Toyota 86 for a week at the end of 2013 and when it was delivered to my door I had to sign a piece of paper that had my name under the words “name of journalist/media representative” and after I saw that I instantly knew where my life was headed and what I wanted to do. I am planning on doing a track project and getting more involved in car culture in coming months and I am stupidly excited for that. Any time I am driving I am inspired to write. Not always about driving either, just about whatever. A lot of my ideas are born from the clarity that only driving on a long and twisty road can bring.
Skateboards. Man, skateboards have been such a constant throughout my whole life. I remember when I was 6 my parents told me I could either go to the Easter Show or get a skateboard from Kmart, I don’t think they were expecting me to take the skateboard but I was instantly obsessed as soon as I got my hands on it. From downhill skateboarding to dancing on longboards to street skating, I have pretty much always been on a board. In 2012 after running a successful blog I decided to start my own online skate shop. It worked. It was a dream come true. It worked so well that the biggest skate shop in Australia at the time decided to go behind my back to the supplier and threatened a bunch of people in order to cut off my supply. At first everyone laughed it off and handled it like adults but then the death threats started rolling in to my personal Facebook page and eventually the supplier caved too and I was unable to get product. That was the only time I spent off my skateboard. I couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore. Any time I would skate I would just feel bitter and angry, not to mention that any products I wanted had to come from that supplier which irked me. After a year long hiatus Mr. Bandy sent me that fateful magazine and my faith in the industry was restored. Now I only get stock from one shop (Boarders Inc who had my back through the whole ordeal) or I order from overseas. When I started skating again a few months ago, I was basically starting from scratch. I wasn’t as good or as confident as I used to be and there was something humbling about that. I think I needed the time off to hit the reset button. Now I only have positive feelings towards skateboarding and I am loving it and getting better than I ever was. I am constantly inspired while riding my board. From video ideas to articles to photos I am always switched on but in a calm way. It’s a freeing feeling like no other and I don’t think I will give it up until I absolutely have to.
Type 1 Diabetes. This is a weird one, I know. I have this disease and it sucks sometimes. Sometimes I can’t deal with the sheer scope of it all. The amount of stuff I have to manage is overwhelming but it could be worse and I try to remind myself of that. This disease is relentless. I once heard it described as walking a tight rope in the rain with a blindfold while juggling and people are throwing rocks at you. Accurate. I have only had this disease for just over a year and man is it a learning curve. I have some days where I just can’t function because my blood sugar is high or low. It affects me a lot. It affects me working, having fun and just existing. It’s not all bad though. Since my diagnosis I have been inspired to be the healthiest me I can be and it’s paying off. I spent most of my teen years being the fat kid but the last few months I have been getting a lot of compliments on how healthy I look. I feel great, better than I ever have and I am fitter than I’ve ever been as well. I’m eating some of the most amazing and healthy food that I may never have tried if I didn’t have this disease. I am planning on adding a Diabetic Logbook section to the blog soon. Even though I can’t stand talking about the disease I think I need to start talking about it more. I am also inspired by this disease because everything I do, I do it as a diabetic which is impressive to me and maybe some other people too. There is a unique perspective that has come from getting this disease. I think about death a lot more now, but not in a grim way. I think about it more like, what can I achieve before I die and how can I get there? It keeps away all the little things that normal people worry about and allows me to focus on what is really important to me.
And that’s about it! Obviously I am inspired by lots of little things throughout my day to day life but these are the things that are most frequent. Honourable mentions have to go to video games, particularly Zelda and Pokemon, as well as my shower and most aquatic life because I get lost when I look at turtles/fish. Thank you to the anon Tumblrererererrr for asking me this, I can’t wait to read it again in a few years and see what has changed!
What inspires you to create? Let me know in the comments below!