Reader Profile 212: Scottish Gerald

Published: 28 May, 2012 - Featured in Skin Deep 212, May, 2012

Scottish Gerald works in the accountancy department of his brother’s haulage business which transports goods around the UK. He is 54 and was born and raised in Dundee. Despite the obvious interest in tattoos, he also likes to spend his free-time windsurfing…

Some years ago, Gerald went to Greece and obtained his Royal Yacht Club Certificate by safely navigating his way around an island. Working six days a week though, it can be a real struggle for him to maintain his hobbies. “I enjoy nothing more than going out on my boat, but to be honest, when you’re working so much, the one free day you have left you’re having to do household chores. And I often like to take a nice long walk too.”

Over the years though, Gerald has found the time to have almost all of his body tattooed. Back in primary school he recalls seeing a picture of someone in the Sunday Post sporting an eagle tattoo, and vaguely remembers the article being about how the tattoo had apparently shrunk. It was an image that was to remain deeply implanted in his mind before at the age of 26, Gerald finally got his first tattoo. “I’d bought my first car and was heading back home from a weekend break and knew there was a tattoo artist in Gallowgate, Aberdeen. That’s all I knew though, I can’t even remember his name. But I went in there, hadn’t really planned for it, and got a small panther tattooed on my ass! I guess I wasn’t really bothered too much at the time because if it didn’t look great, at least it would be hidden from view.”

Later, Gerald found out about another artist in Dundee by the name of Graham Latto, and finally got to have the eagle done on his chest he’d always wanted. “He hadn’t been open for long, and didn’t have a very large range of eagle flash, but I found one anyway which wasn’t exactly what I’d initially had in mind, but I got it just the same. I liked it, but at that point I still didn’t have much knowledge of tattoos so didn’t really have much I could compare it to.” Soon after Gerald discovered the tattooing of Terry Wriggly in Glasgow; it was a whole new experience for him. Because of Terry’s popularity, Gerald found himself having to wait in long queues for the first time. When he got to get his tattoo done (a parrot), the outline was done by Terry, but the colouring-in was done by Terry’s son, Stuart, who was apprenticing with his father at the time. Stuart eventually opened his own shop, and Gerald continued to get work done by him. His first large piece he had done in Stuart’s new shop was the large tiger on his back.

Roughly ten years ago one of the drivers at the haulage company told Gerald about a new tattoo studio that had opened up in Perth, a place called Trev’s House of Tattoos. “I had kind of lost interest in being tattooed in Glasgow at that point, as there were always such long queues, and not always the guarantee of getting tattooed. So when I heard Trev had opened up a new shop I was down there immediately, and there and then started discussing new ideas. We came up with this great dragon design that started on my ribs and went down my leg. I was hooked on Trev’s Japanese style of tattooing, and eventually had two Geisha girls done, which then led to having a bonsai tree and a pathway travelling all the way up and wrapping around my legs. Then I had some koi carps done to counteract my dragon piece. I was just so in love with Trev’s passion for tattooing.” At this stage George had already had the experience of being tattooed in the Far East, having had two pieces done in Hong Kong, so his interest in far eastern tattooing styles had solid foundations.

“Then one day he called me up. He’d had this idea for a head tattoo. At that point I was almost covered, so I was quite happy to do so. He’d booked in to tattoo at the Derry Tattoo Show and asked if I’d like to go there with him and have the design done there and then and also to have it entered into the competition. I was delighted. Over the course of the show he’d finished my head tattoo and won three prizes in the process! Best Japanese, Best colour, and Craziest/Most Unusual.”
Gerald has roughly 95 percent of his skin covered in tattoos now, and he went onto explain to me how people generally react to him. “Everywhere I go I get stopped by strangers to ask me about my tattoos. And after all this time I’ve never had any negative feedback. But I’m not stupid, there could very well be some negative feedback out there, but I’ve just never heard it said to me. I’ve never sought out to force the way I look on other people, I’m not looking for attention, it’s always people that have come up to me to ask the questions. I’ve also taken on a role with a lot of the younger guys who aren’t tattooed, telling them how to properly think about it before taking that first step. I think that’s all really important to know, and I can truly speak from experience.”

A rather extreme step that Gerald himself has made was to get his genitals tattooed. “I don’t know, I guess I’d just decided that I’d come so far with my tattoos, and I’d seen Dave Fleet from Abracadabra do a dragon on someone’s genitals which flowed with the genital shape and looked really good. So I asked Trev to go ahead and finish me off… so to speak! Now there’s just my armpits and my face mask to go, then I’m all done. Completely covered.”


Text: Brisby & Tom Abbott