J.A. George AKA; 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 as the Democratic Candidate for the District 12 Representative seat for the Kansas House in 2006. He has served on the Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Board as Chair of the Joint Beautification, Historical and Tourism Committee. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Kansas Tourism Region. He is currently the Representative for the Body Art Industry on the Kansas State Board of Cosmetology.
The GYPSY has 1 Daughter, 4 Sons and 2 Granddaughters. He Married Debbie George on July 4th, 1998 whom he met online in 1997.