Body Mods in Main Street, Upwey – Extended from The FOOTHILLS Ed:14


Don’t judge a book by its cover (art) some would say. Well in the case of Upwey’s Main St.  and their body modification people, this is certainly the case. I went behind the cover to find out about the people and the inner workings at the two places in town. The people of Upwey, located in the foothills of Mt Dandenong, east of Melbourne, Victoria, are no stranger to artists and the fact that there are some exceptional artists, writers, and craft people in the region is highlighted by the standard as see at the tattoo studio Last Frontier.

Tattoos have come a long way from the days of bikers and booze where all you needed was to tell someone you were ‘old enough’ before they’d lay a tattoo on your skin that was there for life. More commonly now you will find that artists in the body modification industry have used other styles of art to help them develop their skills. Jamin at Last Frontier has been drawing since he was a teenager and sculpting clay models for twenty-five years. Cherry at Cherry Core loves the urban street art style and has studied make up as an art form. Here is a little bit more about our two body art studios in Upwey.

Front Window

Front Window


About five years ago, Jamin Swaneveld set up Last Frontier Tattoo Studio at the top end of Main Street in Upwey. Walking through the door you feel like you are stepping back in time to the Wild West and the days of apothecary’s and quack medicine. He sits behind a beautifully crafted desk wearing his starched white shirt, vest and tie, complete with tie pin. Jamin is also a sculptor and his clay models adorn the shelves and hang from the ceilings in amongst the other antiques and curios he has collected over many years. A number of years ago, he attracted the attention of the producers of “Harvey Crump” with his sculpting skills. Unfortunately they didn’t foresee at the time how ‘big’ wizards were going to become when only two years later Harry Potter hit the market.

Jamin @ Last Frontier

Jamin @ Last Frontier

I asked him ‘Why Main St. Upwey’?  For him it was the ‘last frontier’ for a high quality tattooist, the type that he wanted to be. Ten years ago he moved to the south east but originally he grew up with a country mentality. He is not associated with any bike clubs; he does ethical, professional custom work. In many ways he has the persona of a gentleman from the 1800’s down pat, and you can see that it’s not an act. He is an artist who loves his crafts.

He started out life as a builder but always had a yearning toward the artistic. He began drawing tattoo-sheets at a young age and sold them to tattooist in his local area.  Since his days as a young bull in the building industry were numbered, it was his wife of sixteen-years that pushed him to realise his lifelong dream of owning a tattoo parlor, his way! Five years after building his “bubble of reality”, though fitting out the shop the way he saw it in his artistic mind, he is now booked up nearly a year in advance for his services and has also built an amazing reputation in Upwey as an honorable shop-keep. Jamin is family orientated, with pictures of his two kids behind him as we spoke, and his brother beside him in the business, it is a far cry from the tattoo parlor of old. The Mac computer (feeling a little out of place) pumps out the old west music as I listen to Jamin tell me about his influences.

His philosophy was to “learn the hardest thing first, because anything under that is easy” he says. He might make mistakes, but he’d always learn from them. Each tattoo artist has to learn their craft and Jamin was no different. He feels a moral responsibility to his ‘canvases’ i.e. people who wanted a free tattoo (which gave him the opportunity to practice his craft) to be able to do the work and look back on it in a few years time and say, ‘oh, it just needs a touch up here/there… come and sit down’. Also the placement of these ‘practice’ tattoos on the body it is imperative to him to have them in a place that they (the wearer) would still be proud of them.

Front of house

Front of house

Jeff Gogue, Bob Tyrrell and Emily Rose are some people who he has named as artist who inspire him. In the tattoo industry there are only seven true tattoos. “Be resourceful.” is a motto he learned from his biggest influence, his father. All tattoo-artist look at a piece of work and take some it that, then add something to ‘make it their own’ but the reality is if you look at the tattoo you can see they come under the basic categories of Asian or Nautical or whatever – but then they put their own spin on it – they work in with the ‘wearer’ to create something that they are happy with.

People have asked me, do you regret your tattoos, so I posed this question to Jamin too, and his answer had me nodding in agreement. “The journal of my life is inked out on my skin,” He said, and that, folks, is what it’s all about.

Team at Cherry Core

Team at Cherry Core


Cherry Sutherland started the Cherry Core Piercing and Education Centre fourteen months ago. As she grew up in Upwey and knew the locals were open-minded, she felt she would be welcomed. Her family and the local kids have been overwhelmingly supportive of her.

She has worked extensively in many salons learning her craft from many people over the past ten years. Starting out as a hairdresser she realized that piercing was her passion. The name Cherry Core came from the local kids that urged her to start up; it was her style… ‘Cherry-core’. Her partner, Matt helps her run the business and is also a piercer, and rounding out the team is AJ, a piercer and Tattooist with 15 years experience.

Cherry @ Cherry Core

Cherry @ Cherry Core

She also provides aftercare, to her clients in a way that they feel comfortable; offering a service that means that she is available after hours via IM on Facebook, and text. The clientele that she attracts often don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone and won’t pick up the phone if something is wrong; she feels this is an integral part of the process.

Cherry Core continues to grow and change and is now offering, along with the piercing training, a full time tattooist.


About authorkljoy

Author of Erotica published through La Bouche Books dot com
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11 Responses to Body Mods in Main Street, Upwey – Extended from The FOOTHILLS Ed:14

  1. HatingOnYou says:

    Cherrycore deserves a fuckload more then the miniscule (not to mention CRAPPY) amount you have written up today.
    You have an obviously biased opinion on the shops, and as such have given this amazing woman a lot less credit then what she deserves! Somewhere amongst your crude writing should have stated that her business is not “14 months” old. It is not a child. It did however move to Upwey 14 months ago.
    Also, hairdressing didn’t help her realise “her passion”. How do those two even link?! Piercing helped her realise piercing was her passion, nothing else, and she is STILL a hairdresser on the side.
    Oh, and as a side note, great job plugging the lame-ass tattoo shop up the road from Cherrycore.
    Everyone, go there if you want shit tattoos for extreme prices!! >.>
    I could go through and correct every tiny bit of your incorrect grammar, spelling and information, though I think everyone can see how terrible it is without my input.
    You did an amazing job being a terrible writer, now go back to being a porn writer you uneducated bitch 😀

    • authorkljoy says:

      Thank you for your opinion, and for sending my first ever Hate-mail! I am always open to discussion on my work.

      I can only write what a person I’m interviewing gives me. I need facts to go on. The FACT is – Cherry was not as forthcoming with information about herself and her business or her experience. Both people were asked the same questions, and were interviewed for the same amount of time- I had NO bias going into the interview.

      I don’t see the need to denigrate anyone, I just didn’t have anymore to write about Cherry, as the facts weren’t there.

      If you so good at grammar checking, perhaps you could offer your services to your good friend Cherry who is in dire need of assistance if her recent FB posts are anything to go by. I don’t see you commenting on those?!

      I do think that what she has achieved is amazing, and that was why I wanted to interview her.

      • mrszoomby says:

        Holy crap! What an idiot!

      • HatingOnYou says:

        Your job as the interviewer is to get the person you are interviewing to give you as much information as possible for your article.
        I see you can’t do that then?
        The same amount of time and same questions doesn’t designate the RIGHT questions, not to mention the twisted answers you have written.
        In fact, if you’ve got that much from the same amount of time, perhaps it is you who wasn’t listening.
        If that’s really your explanation for this shit article, then perhaps it’s a testimony to how shit your really are at what you do?
        Facts are there. They were sitting right in front of you, wrapped in a ball called Cherry.
        Also, nice stab at the person you’d interviewed! Didn’t you just insult her grammar, then call her amazing?
        It’s pretty sad that you have to have a go at someone whose job is not to spell or have correct grammar.
        Yours is. Therefore I’ll correct you, and not her.

    • Jenny says:

      WTF would you know about ‘the tattoo shop up the road’ you 12 yeal old twat! If you believe everything Cherry tells you, your just a piece of Dumbass trash like her! Stick your head back up your ass and worry about your own shit!

      • authorkljoy says:

        Thank you for you supportive comments but please, can we keep it polite in here? If there are other people who want to flame, I’ll remove the posters comments.

      • HatingOnYou says:

        Obviously you are from this shop? I would know. And actually (just for your information) I’m older then 12 😉
        I see I touched a nerve. Thanks for your feedback!
        As for believing everything Cherry says, I just stick to the facts, and the fact is, Cherrycore is an amazing shop. AJ is an amazing tattoo artist. Matt is an amazing piercer, and Cherry is the only person I would ever go to for a piercing or body modification.
        Don’t ever call her trash, when she is a lot better then you will ever be.

  2. authorkljoy says:

    Ok I asked for you all to be nice and any flaming posts would be removed. “HatingOnYou” I think we get it, You like Cherry, and you are mates, and you get your work done there. Everyone is entitled to their OWN opinion. My Blog… MY Opinion!

    You want to question my skills, that’s fine. I’m not a great interviewer… but at least I’m TRYING to get the info. When the answers all come back with “well, I trained at one place, then worked at another, and then did more training at another… ” What am I to make of that!! ?? I’m sorry,. but the question were not the problem the interviewee was unfortnately not able to express herself. Or. more likely, UNWILLING to express herself!

  3. Jenny says:

    Well said authorkljoy!!
    Its hard to soar like an eagle when your surrounded by (12 year old) Turkeys who think they know everything but obviously have no idea what they are talking about! I think your article was great! You really nailed it! I actually thought you made Cherrycore look good, thats a difficult task in itself 🙂

  4. Cherry says:

    This is Cherry.
    I’ve just been shown this whole thing and i have to say i am extremely hurt by all of this. i have never said anything bad about the work from the tattoo shop up the rd from me in fact i think some of the work that comes out of there is amazing. this industry is about art and clients not about politics between studios if some one feels comfortable going to an artist they should stick with them. every one is after a personalised experience and its about creating the most for each person and giving your best. While i think its amazing some one felt the need to comment and stick up for me, i tried to just brush the article off it was my first and i was very excited to be doing it and felt i learnt a lot from being part in it. im hurt for the attack as i felt very warmed by kljoy and that she was lovely to be interviewed by, although i may have been shocked at the articale and felt i should have proof read it, that is my own fault i didn’t do so because maybe then i could have fix the issue of contents it held; but thats all ok i’ve been in this industry for over 10yrs now and im working on myself to be the best i can at what i do. interviews are not what i do and writing is not what i do, therefore its nothing for me to worry about, what i worry about is the negative feel from all of this. creation is about exploring more than what is and what this is is a knife to the back. i just want to say my 2 bobs and more away from. all i can say is i had fun being interviewed. the shop up the rd is beautiful and the work deserves its created just the same as my shop does aj is an amazing tattooist of over 15yrs, im reaching new leaves in body mod like implants, flesh removal, tongue splitting and so on. we are all at different points of our journeys, there is really no need to attack me for something i have not done or have no idea of or part of.

  5. Pingback: Pain and Pleasure | authorkljoy

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