The 4 most tattooed people in the world
Who are these people who decided to be a living work of art?
29 March 2022
The 4 most tattooed people in the world, with their captivating and different reasons to turn their entire body into an organic canvas covered with hundreds of designs.
The tattoo culture is more than two millennia old, they date from the Neolithic in hunters and mummies. It was adopted by countless cultures that created their own techniques and styles.
This art has gone through several stages over time. At the beginning of this century, they had a bad reputation in society, but, little by little, they have been accepted and adopted by a large part of the world's population. Nowadays, people decide to get tattooed for different reasons: for aesthetic reasons, for fashion, for personal reasons, for honour, as a tribute and many more reasons.
The love for this practice grows in such a way that there were people who went too far. We could even call it an addiction. But that is an extensive and interesting topic that you can find in the following link (link to the note Are tattoos addictive?). For now, we will refer to saying that for these tattoo lovers, the works of art aren’t just something static and immovable, like those that are exhibited in a museum, they are living artistic pieces.
Today, we will tell you the incredible stories of the 4 most tattooed people in the world.
Lucky Diamond Rich
Gregory Paul McLaren, better known as Lucky Diamond Rich, was born in 1971 in New Zealand. He is a tattoo artist and excellent artist, who was invited to participate in audiovisuals such as movies and television series, as well as being part of different festivals and conventions.
Lucky has the honour of being able to show off his record as "the most tattooed person in the world" named by Guinness World Records, where they claim that he has 200% of his body tattooed. This crazy figure is due to the fact that, on top of the designs that were previously drawn on his skin in the Blackwork style, he has redesigned them again in colour inks.
136 artists from different countries and around 1000 hours in tattoo studios were needed to make this person become a living work of art. Throughout this journey, unusual areas that almost no one would tattoo were tattooed: the eyelids, the mouth, the ears, the soles of his feet and... Even the gums and foreskin!
The artist joined a circus when he was 16 years old, where he developed exotic skills, such as sword swallowing and chainsaw juggling. At that same time, during a trip to Australia together with the circus group, he decided to capture the first tattoo on his skin. The design was a juggling stick, and he decided to place on his hip to be able to hide it from his mother more easily. When he was 28 years old, he had already achieved his first full body design! Guess how he hid that from his mother!
Tom Leppard, also known as "the leopard man" or unknown by his real name Tom Wooldridge, was a man with a very interesting history. Born in the UK on October 14, 1935, he decided to join the British Army for almost 30 years. After more than 30 years in the military, he took a 180º degree turn, and he decided to move to a remote island called the “Isle of Skye”, Scotland.
Since then and for two decades, he adopted the peculiar and natural customs of living without electricity, without a telephone, drinking and getting himself cleaned up in the water of a nearby river. His only contact with society was when he kayaked once a week in search of food.
You are probably wondering how he financed his long stay on the island, and this is precisely when he goes from being simply Tom Wooldridge to becoming the famous and mysterious leopard man. The hermit man made the decision to cover his entire body with tattoos, becoming the most tattooed person in the world, with the aim of standing out from the crowd and earning money to make a living. He chose decided to get tattooed the skin of a feline, specifically that of a leopard, because it was the easiest for the tattoo artist. When this work was finished, the only parts that had not been tattooed were the inside of his ears and the skin between his toes.
Leppard achieved his goal, becoming an attraction and earning money for his incredible appearance. Years later, he decided to move to Broadford, a small town in Australia, where he had more comfort than he had in his previous home. After a while, at 80, he settled in a nursing home, where he passed away on June 12, 2016.
Tom preceded Lucky Diamond Rich with the title of the most tattooed person in the world and in his later years, he was awarded a distinction as the "most tattooed male retiree". Incredible story, right?
Julia Gnuse, baptized as "the illustrated lady", was born in 1955 in the city of Flint, Michigan. The reason why this woman decided to cover her entire body with tattoos is really brave and inspiring.
She led a normal life, but at 30, she was diagnosed with porphyria, a skin disease that caused blisters over her body whenever she exposed it to sunlight. This condition caused many scars that affected her self-esteem.
This could be devastating for anyone, but our protagonist decided to face this terrible adversity with a great fighting attitude, and she managed to make her scars not embarrass her.
Through the recommendation of a friend, who provided her with information on an innovative tattoo technique that matched the texture of her skin, Julia had a new world of possibilities that encouraged her to get in the world of tattooing. Although the advised practice was unsuccessful, she opted to try regular tattoos, and they turned out wonderfully!
She began with her first design in 1991 until she covered 95% of her body with 400 illustrations of different kinds, such as characters from Disney movies, different drawings and portraits of singers, among others.
Julia managed to turn her misfortune into an example of strength, and she became more confident. She embraced and loved all the images of her body and that they made her happy.
Apart from all these excellent repercussions that art had on his skin, she received the Guinness World Records certificate as the most tattooed woman in the world. She was also invited to participate in a well-known Aerosmith’s video clip. The tattoos really changed her life!
Unfortunately, the illustrated lady passed away at the age of 61, but, of course, she left behind an incredible story of self-improvement.
Zombie Boy: Rick Genest
Zombie boy, whose real name is Rick Stephan Genest, was a Canadian actor and model born on August 7, 1985.
In his adolescence, unfortunately, he was detected with a brain tumour, which had a very bad diagnosis that would result in leaving him disfigured or death. Miraculously, the operation to remove his cancer was successful, but this circumstance that he had to live through changed his paradigm, making him feel that life was too short not to tattoo everything he had always dreamed of.
At the age of 16, Rick got his first design and at 21 he visited Frank Lewis's studio for the first time, who was in charge of tattooing a large percentage of his skin. From that moment on, he did not stop until he had 90% of his body tattooed, thus obtaining the Guiness Record for having 139 human bones and 176 insects tattooed on his skin, hence his nickname "zombie boy".
In 2011, his figure, full of anatomical illustrations that simulated a skeleton with various viscera exposed, became a rage and a fan page was registered in his honour and had 1,526,292 followers. For this reason, Lady Gaga's art director, Nicola Formichetti, saw his potential as a model. Then on, he started a successful career and appeared in different advertising campaigns. He even collaborated with the famous singer Lady Gaga, appearing in her video clip “Born this way”.
The Canadian model, unfortunately, passed away on August 1, 2018, at the age of 32. According to forensic reports revealed in October 2019, after an extensive suspicion of suicide, they confirm that his death occurred accidentally, after falling from the balcony of the property where he lived.
Do you know any other stories as incredible as the ones you just read? You may even want to tell your story! We’ll be happy to read you below.