The GYPSY was born in Topeka, Kansas in 1956. He exhibited his artistic talent at 18 months old when he drew a picture of a cow on the inside cover of a coloring book. He never had another color book after that time. His Mother, recognizing his natural talent, kept him well supplied in crayons and newsprint paper. The GYPSY’S Grandmother also recognized his early artistic abilities and at 6 years of age enrolled him in art classes at Washburn University where he soon out surpassed the other students in his class. His instructors moved him quickly from beginner to intermediate classes and soon into an advanced adult class where he was discovered by famed portrait artist Harry Roth. Mr. Roth took The GYPSY under his wing and gave him private lessons for the next 3 years. In 1964 The GYPSY won a City wide art contest with a crayon and water color drawing of a space walk. This picture went on to win first place for his age group in State competition and later in National. It remained on display at the Smithsonian Institution from 1964 – 1965. It resides in the museum archives.
In 1974, while still in High School, The GYPSY started doing freelance art for the Nazarene publishing House in KCMO. That same year he started college courses for Forestry & Wildlife Management. The GYPSY graduated from High School at Mid-Term in 1976 and immediately was called for an interview from a major greeting card company (at the time he was taking college classes for Technical Illustration & Mechanical drafting). Turning down the contract that the company offered The GYPSY stopped by a tattoo studio on his way back home and he was hooked. He started his 18 month apprenticeship the next day and the rest is history.
The GYPSY had the first professional Tattoo Studio in St. Joseph, Missouri which opened in 1977. He has also had studios in San Angelo, Midland, El Paso and Abilene, Texas. All except El Paso being the first of their kind in those cities. The GYPSY has had several careers in his life including Army Enlistment, Psychiatric Nurse, Senior Zoo Keeper and Truck Driver all while still maintaining numerous studios all under the Skin Art Creations name. In 1990 The GYPSY opened the first tattoo studio in the 4 State region of Southeast Kansas, Southwest Missouri, Northeast Oklahoma & Northwest Arkansas. In 1992 The GYPSY received formal training for advanced piercing procedures and became the first professional piercer in the region.
In 1995 The GYPSY opened a second studio in Independence, Kansas which he closed a year later due to lack of competent help. The Baxter Springs Studio operated until Christmas Eve of 2002 when, due to lack of community support and the overly liberal tattoo and piercing laws in Joplin, Missouri ($50.00 and a blood test will get you a license), which has caused the market to become flooded, the Baxter Springs studio was closed. The GYPSY reopened the Independence, Kansas Studio in November of 2002 and now operates full time from there.
The GYPSY has won World wide recognition and numerous awards for his artwork as well as being involved in community affairs and civic organizations. The GYPSY is the first tattoo artist to ever run for a Political office campaigning for a City Council seat in Baxter Springs, Kansas and is now the Democratic Candidate for the District 12 Representative seat for the Kansas House.
In August 2010 The GYPSY briefly retired from the Body Art Industry. But you can’t keep a good Tattoo Artist down and in April 2014 The GYPSY opened a new studio in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas.
The GYPSY has 1 Daughter, 4 Sons and 2 Granddaughters. He Married Debbie George on July 4th, 1998 whom he met online in 1997.
Debra Peck George was born in Lancashire, England in 1957 and spent her early years in the Detroit, Michigan metro area. In 1977 Debbie joined the US Army and traveled overseas visiting Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Upon receiving her honorable discharge Debbie settled in the Dallas Metroplex area of Texas where she had family. Later moving to Norfolk, Virginia and then to Austin, Texas. In 1992 Debbie moved back to Dallas, Texas to be near family.
In November of 1997 Debbie found an online profile for The GYPSY and wrote to him. On New Years Eve of 1997 Debbie and The GYPSY met in person for the first time and two weeks later Debbie moved to Kansas where she took over Management of Skin Art Creations. July 4th, 1998 Debbie married The GYPSY at Eagles Landing outside of Coronado’s Camp, Texas. In October of 2001 Debbie and The GYPSY opened Spunky’s Tavern of Baxter Springs, named after her Dog of 14 years who had passed away the previous October.
Debbie continued to manage the Tavern, until it was forced to close due to the illegal actions of the City Government of Baxter Springs, Kansas aimed at the business and a Presbyterian Minister on a self righteous personal campaign to put the tavern out of business.
Soon after the Baxter Springs Studio was closed and all studio operations were moved to Independence, Kansas. Debbie remained very involved in all aspects of Skin Art Creations including the website development until the Independence studio closed in 2010.
Debbie currently works full time for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansasand keeps active with numerous other projects including her oil painting which is in high demand. She is still an instrumental part of Skin Art Creations Tattoo Emporium as the studio moves from public to exclusive status in Topeka, Kansas.
Debbie, along with her husband The GYPSY, now calls Topeka, Kansas home.