Gary Wiedenhof - Inkredible Kreations

Published: 08 April, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 123, July, 2005

I met Gary, must be well over two years now. I popped into Trev’s House of Tattoos in Princess St, Perth just to have a nose at the Studio. There was ‘big G’ tucking into his usual morning breakfast consisting of bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding and beans. He is a big bloke but nice to go with it. I had a look through his photo album and what delighted me was the fact that most of the images in there were none that I’d ever seen before. More than that, it was art on skin. I kept up with ‘big G’ and watched his album fill up with more fabulous art and his work was just so cool! He worked the Granite City Show of May this year and swept away with a load of Trophies with the most important win of his collection being best all round Artist.

Where are your routes and how did you end up in sunny old Scotland?

"The surname is originally German but most of my family are Dutch, my Dad was born in Indonesia which was a Dutch colony and I kind of ended up returning to live there for a period of time, When I was about 17years old, I decided to re-join my family on the spur of the moment so I jacked in my job in and was out there two days later. 

I lived most of my life in Leith in Edinburgh where I went to School (on and off). Found my passion, which was covering walls around the area in colourful graffiti. I was pretty good at the old Techy drawing at School, which helped me map out my designs for graffiti using 3D creating great depth. Also got into DJ’ing for around 10 yrs covering all styles of music, which is still a big part of me."

Your work has just kind of exploded onto the scene, when did it all begin? 

"1997 in Amsterdam. I was living and working in Amsterdam and met my girlfriend who was a Body Piercer in Rob Admiral’s Tattoo Studio, naturally I was introduced and we got quite friendly. I had one Tattoo at the time which wasn’t that bad on my upper arm, an Artist started expanding it out a bit but didn’t do too well. Rob had an idea of doing some Tattoo work around my arm and covering it with Japanese black and grey, we went over to his flat and ate and drank while we both planned out the design and believe it or not we both had exactly the same idea. My work was cool at the time as I worked in a Hotel and finished at 1pm every day, leaving the afternoon to go and watch Rob at work. Amsterdam at this point and probably still is, one of the best places in the world to go and get your 1st Tattoo, as in an article in a Tattoo magazine which resulted from a survey and I wouldn’t disagree. There are so many good Artists over there, Tattoo Peters, which is probably one of the oldest shops in Europe is not far from Rob’s and Philip Leu was a guest there for a while. So to be able to see that kind of Artistry is something else."

So tell me about your introduction into becoming a Tattoo artist.

"I probably did what most tattooists do because you don’t just walk into an apprenticeship, I watched and learned from Rob Admiral, asked him hundreds of questions over and over along with other artists I knew at the time and took things from there. I applied that information from my tattoo machine onto my first subjects, which were pieces of fruit. After several attempts I quickly realized that I was never going to get the same result as tattooing skin. Luckily I had friends who had old tattoos who agreed to let me touch those up.  One of my mates who let me re-work an old tattoo decided he wanted a few new ones and let me go ahead. My 1st Tattoo was a decent size heart with a scroll through the middle of it on each side of his chest. It came out surprisingly well, lines weren’t too bad, colour was quite solid and to this day people don’t believe it was my first attempt on bare skin. I believe my success was simply by applying everything I’d listened to and doing exactly as I had learned trying to replicate it onto skin and it worked! 

I did this for two years, drawing my own designs and tattooing them and then I went to work with Davey Thompson R.I.P. for about 3 years in Dalry Road and left just not long before he tragically died riding his Motorcycle. Davey taught me far more on the technical side, he showed me how to build machines. 

He literally gave me all the machines in the shop and got me to strip them down and rebuild them again just for the shear hell of it. It was great experience and he explained that wherever you are if you have a problem with a machine, the last thing you want is to be stuck not knowing how to fix or repair it. Davey was probably responsible for my mental attitude towards tattooing in stipulating that I had the skill and the only way I wouldn’t succeed would be getting it into my head that I couldn’t do it, which was right enough."

So where did you go from there?

"From there I came up to Perth to Trev’s who I’d met through a friend of Davey’s. Trev had opened up a Studio in Princess St and I started working in there. After a while people were coming in asking for the kind of work I wanted to do and so I just progressed with my Custom pieces and I’ve been working in Trev’s now for the past three years and everything is going great. Both of us are different and we have worked together passing ideas around and it’s been great to see each other’s work progress in the way it has."

To be honest Gary, Your albums are full of artistic Tattoos, ideas that I’d never imagined, where do they come from?

"Ha, Well Perth is quite a small City and a lot of the people who come into the Shop I meet in the pubs at night when I go out for a beer and a lot of them have become good friends. We speak about their ideas and I tattoo them, they liked my ideas more and now most of them just let me do my own thing which is brilliant, being as creative and as mad as you want, how cool and fun is that! Some of the guys have got so much into their tattoos now that they are coming to me with big adventurous ideas after going to various conventions. 

I have some very nice back pieces planned soon, incorporating and fusing different styles and a nice bit of graffiti, which I love, animal portraits, which I never thought I’d be doing. When I was young I would never have imagined doing portraits and faces and now I ‘m more comfortable doing them on skin than on paper. So at the moment I’m experimenting with all kinds of styles."

Will you be eventually moving on and opening up your own Studio Inkredible Kreations?

"Yes, as much as I enjoy working here at Trev’s it is a business, it has to be profitable and so you have to work away and give customers what they want. I think eventually when I do move on and open my own place it’ll be at my pace and obviously more my style of work. I have an awful lot of pieces and styles that I have in mind that are time consuming and so I’m going to need my own place in the near future to spend that time necessary to pursue those goals. It’s been a long time coming but it’s getting to the point now where I’ll move on. After the success at the Aberdeen Convention my name is starting to spread, therefore I feel that opening Inkredible Kreations is the way forward. Up until now I send people to: to let them see Gary Wiedenhof. And with all my experience gained by learning from other artists, I like to feel I have expressed all these influences in the way I Tattoo. Inkredible Kreations is about to begin…"


Text: Bribs; Photography: Gary Wiedenhof


Skin Deep 123 1 July 2005 123