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Fun Reader Survey, I Want To Know YOU!

May 5, 2015

Hello my lovely readers!

The Dame International Reader Survey

This year I am working hard to make this blog, TDI, the best blog I can. I’ve been brainstorming behind the scenes and making plans on how I can bring more value, inspiration and unconventional living to you, my audience. Continue Reading…


Interview: Joseph Hunter

October 21, 2013

I had the pleasure of meeting Joseph Hunter while walking around at the London Tattoo Convention last month. At first his awesome t shirt caught my eye and then his dashing good looks on his 6’5 frame. I stopped him and asked him if he wouldn’t mind me taking a photo of him for this blog and he obliged and we stayed in touch. The photo I shot of him proved extremely popular on tumblr so I asked him if he would like to do an interview with me. Joe models t shirts by Tattoo Fest Brand also known as TFB Clothing who are a tattoo art collective putting the artwork of mainly European tattooist on t-shirts.

Joseph Hunter for TFB Clothing Continue Reading…


Doing It For Themselves: Gerard Watts – Ekta Skateboards

April 26, 2012

It’s been too long since I featured someone who works for themselves doing what they love so today I bring you a good friend of mine, namely Gerard Watts who owns and runs Ekta Skateboards out of his home in Cornwall, UK.

How did you come about developing your own skate company? Was it something that you always wanted to do? Or did it just grow organically out of your love for skating?

I used to ride for FSU skateboards and Wheels back in 2003 – 2006 which was great, but the quality of the boards they were producing started to lack in quality and then some times, you wouldn’t receive any for such a long period of time.
I ended up quitting and was kind of in limbo, for a while, trying to work out what the hell to do.

One of my mates tried to do his own brand, but never really pushed it and I was thinking about doing a wheel company at the same time. Due to knowing people in the UK industry, I started to get some info about where to get samples from etc and slowly started to see if it was possible. To do a company how I thought it should be run, by not making the same mistakes FSU did with poor quality products.

So it kind of grew from there, but it isn’t something you can just do lightly, even getting samples is a nightmare and they ain’t free. Then everything spiraled out of control to where it is now. But it’s taken a lot of time and effort over the past 4 years.
And I’ve not even started yet.

Where did it all start?
I’ve always had a skateboard, weather it be a crappy thing that was useless back in my childhood and then kinda getting into it and begging my parents to get me a better one, as the years went by; as more and more of my friends started skating.
But back then, we didn’t know what we were doing. It was on and off for years growing up, as we used to do what all kids did and play football, going fishing etc and then finally got into it. All thanks to Jimmy Boyce and Ziggy, from hooking me up with boards to showing me 411vm.

You film your team skating and have done film studies at college, how do these skills help your company to grow / get a foot in the market?
I try not to film anymore, I’m more happier editing, but I will film when required.
No idea, to be honest, skateboarding is one weird industry as shit changes all the time, with what’s good and what’s bad trick wise and production wise.
I have a certain stance when it comes to how I want things to look, so my editing style has possibly shaped things more in that sense.

What do you think sets you apart in the current market?
We don’t have a set image, so we’re pretty much free to do what ever we want, with graphics and general direction, so that’s one thing. With the brand being around now for a few years, is always a good point and helps to keep us different.
But we try to do what everyone else isn’t doing.

How has the company grown since you started it?
The team has gotten bigger and we’re now in more stores across the entire UK and the website is getting checked out from all over Europe, but this is all down to getting shit out on the WWW and advertising in magazines. It’s grown in other ways, that it’s now actually official, we have a real bank account and an accountant to make sure that the tax man is happy.

Where do you want the company to go from here?
Just to continue in expanding year on year, I’m doing this slowly but surely as if you try and rush something, it’ll usually blow up in your face. But realistically to continue on the path it’s on now, as it’s getting more and more recognition and that’s great.
To keep on building up the distribution is one thing that I’ll be working on for the next few years.

Do you ever wish you had a 9-5?
I do, the UK scene isn’t in a strong enough condition to allow me to do this full time, so having a job is a deadcert way to be able to bail things out when shit hits the fan.
Hopefully once this supposed recession is over, everything will go back to normality.

What do you love about being your own boss?
That if anything goes wrong, I’m the one to blame and it’s no one else’s fault.
But it also means, I can just get on with it without worrying about someone not doing their job.

What would you say are the key things you need to be able to have/do to go it alone?
Caffeine and nicotine and being used to long days and nights working away, and to understand that this isn’t something that’ll work over night, in some instances it can but then, you have to be prepared for the flop, if you’re used to the good times; this shit takes years. But truthfully a damn good work ethic and to be prepared to take risks that may not pull off, and be ready to deal with the aftermaths!

What are you grateful for?
All the support from the stores and everyone who’s ever supported the company.

What would you like more of in your life?
More days in the week and better weather to be able to go out and skate, and a holiday.

Like Ekta Skateboards on Facebook.


Unconventional People, Unusual Lives: Follow2Square

March 31, 2011

Artists, designers, hair dressers, models, usually you would find these in a group of people, but Follow2Square are just two guys with a vision.  Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, I met Justin Valee at a Torture Garden event in London back in February.  This writhing, tattooed, feather haired, exotic looking guy, somehow stood out from a crowd of freaks and fetishists in their latex and prosthetic costumes.  It was his spirit of abandon that captured me and his willingness to connect when I approached him won me as an immediate fan.  Whats kept me a fan is the work he and his friend, Jeremiah Taylor do, flowing easily from one medium to another, wherever they find themselves.

You see, theyre unconventional people who have chosen their own path in life instead of submitting to the status quo.  They think for themselves and live for their hearts desires, expressing all of this through various mediums attracting and educating people to open their own minds to the possibilities of following their own hearts.

I am all about designing your life as you want it, not as society tells me I should live it. Follow2Square do just that.


What happened in your lives that made you decide to go your own way?  Was it an event or did it creep up on you in time?

it’s strange ive always worked hard but i never felt like i was truly living up to my potential. it used to bother me i felt like i was wasting my potential. i was married before and after we split i had a huge amount of debt and bills to take care of. i can see how the world is changing and allowing me access to a new life and new possibilities. i am almost free completely and it feels great. i can tell that i am starting to fulfil my purpose.

i started to search for the depth in my life, and i started realizing i was not where i wanted to be spiritually. i was working on the exterior but neglecting the interior. after that realization, my life style really started to bother me. i just started becoming honest and started living a life with discipline. i started travelling and selling the things i’ve gained, so i could go on more travels. little by little and travel by travel i own the least i have in 10 years, and im now the happiest, and the most creative ive ever been.

What do you think people can do to design a life they love?

sometimes i think the answer can just be sitting there staring you in the face. but other times i think its a little trickier. the first thing i would say is surround yourself with positive people or people that want to see you succeed. bad energy and people can weigh you down and make you second guess yourself. i think if you know what you want you should see it in your head and slowly or quickly work towards it, basically manifest it into your life. the laws of attraction. you can bring what you want into your life within reason.

you’ve got to break free of the ideas of your current reality, and the reality of how others perceive what you should be doing. get to a place where you are honest with yourself and think and pray upon it. if it doesnt come quickly dont force it. be patient it has to come. I always say just be honest. honesty will free you. then you cant help not to do what you love. i wish i could give you more of an astounding answer but to me it’s this simple. it has worked for me.


What do you think is the best thing about being your own boss, free to come and go as you please and follow your heart?

being your own boss is a double edged sword. sure you are your own boss but you have to answer to yourself. so ultimately depending on what it is you are doing or what you are trying to achieve you have to decide what you want. how hard are you willing to work for your goals? how bad do you want them? some people are self employed and have the easiest job and some have the hardest it depends how you approach it and at what level you are comfortable staying at. ive always been my own boss and ive always worked hard. it is something not everyone can do. some people need to be told what to do and some people can’t be told what to do. if youre the latter and you have your shit together you may want to try running your own show. but once you make a decision it is made and you are the one held accountable.

Justin is my boss!! haha, but really. he beats me. HELP!
im trying not to look at it as a job. so if there isnt a job then there isnt a boss. it’s just about finding your own way to succeed. success to me is measured in stories, friendships and scars. to me i’m already successful.

What makes it hard to live this unconventional lifestyle?

first i will say if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. being your own person is hard for most people. we are raised in a society that want you to blend in and get in line, pay your tax’s, buy christmas presents, fit in, contribute. people are scared to stand out from a young age – act a little weird and everybody fucks with you. everyone has to find their own balance.

the world is conventional and most of its inhabitants are conventional. there is always a resistance when a revolution is breaking out. this has been the past, this is my reality and how i perceive it.

Where have you been and where are you going in terms of your lives?

ive been a son, im a business man, ive been a husband, an illegal alien till i was 25. a home owner, a blue collar worker, a student, a prisoner to my own reality, an artist in many forms. i’m a dreamer, a lover, a fighter, ive been unhappy and happy ive walked to the border and lived on both sides of the fence. ive seen a small portion of the world but i want to see it all. thats what im trying to accomplish… ive been the mold, ive been in the box. i thought i was stuck in a job i hated that took a long time to get away from.

wow. ive been so many things. some im proud of and some things im not so proud of. but im here, im right now, thats where I want to stay, is in the present, and if i can do that mentally and make good honest decisions it will take me where i need to be in life. i’m confident about that.

What would you say was your ultimate message to people attracted by your art in all its forms?

ask me on a different day and i could say something different. every painting, every poem, graffiti, everything, it all has different messages. it depends on my mood and when i put it down. but my overall message as a human? i would have to say is follow your dreams, if you have a calling, an urge, something that pushes you… go with it, it’s either your gut or your intuition. if you feel like you are capable of more, you are probably right. there is a reason you feel that way. if you are content then by all means be content, some people are, i just never was. thats why im here now.

honesty. a sense of rawness, struggle. passion. insanity, comedy, tragedy, love, pure emotion and feelings. this is what comes out so i would say these are my messages.

What are you grateful for?

right now as far as material possessions i really have nothing. ive sold, given up or given away almost everything at this point. but i feel like i have the most ive ever had. i feel almost free and im so grateful for this feeling. im meeting my potential – maybe exceeding it and that feels amazing. my art is starting to be seen. we’ve made so many great friends from our travels. im finally doing something that feels right. its not about the money its about the experience and growth.

the people around me, God, Love. Im most grateful for love.

What would you like more of in your life?

right now im almost content. i feel like the glass ceiling is about to break. i would like more time to travel. the time to create. more time with my friends. time. we all want more time. i feel its urgency always, it makes me work harder and faster.


Follow2Square are currently on tour and as with anything in life, need money to keep the ball rolling, if you love what Justin and Jeremiah are doing and support their lifestyle, please consider a donation, after all, you get back what you put out there! (And they are offering nice gifts to go with your donation.)


The Dame