Gorilla gets tattooed
Paignton Zoo’s Great Gorillas Project has brought together two unlikely partners - a top financial management company and a tattoo artist.
Cathedral Financial Management Ltd, of Exeter, has sponsored a Great Gorilla. Their chosen design is by Torbay tattoo artist Danny Kidd. Ironically, the design is called Not so Different.
Neil Gore, Director of Cathedral Financial Management, explained: “We wanted to get involved in The Great Gorillas Project to help support a local charity with a quirky but meaningful conservation project. We reviewed a number of designs and settled on this one purely based on our personal preferences. We like Danny’s style and think that it stands out from the crowd.”
The project is celebrating the 90th birthday of Paignton Zoo and raising funds for gorilla conservation. Life-size model gorillas are being sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Torbay and Exeter. For further information go to www.greatgorillas.org.uk.
Danny was born and still lives in Torquay. “I have always loved art - most of what I know has come from practice. I took GCSE art at Torquay Boys' Grammar school and got an A, but it wasn't until I decided that I wanted to be a tattoo artist that things really took off.
“I became an apprentice at Revolver Tattoo Rooms in Torquay, where people really put into perspective how far my art could progress.” He has been a tattoo artist for six and a half years and is now self-employed.
Danny, who volunteers with the Zoo, has done more than half a dozen tattoos for Paignton Zoo Head Keeper – and gorilla expert - Craig Gilchrist, and has worked on other members of Zoo staff. What are the differences between tattooing and painting this gorilla?
“I do a lot of freehand designs onto body parts, so in that respect drawing something on a three-dimensional object is what I am used to. The difference is, usually the customer moves around so I can get a better angle, whereas here I'll be the one moving! Tattooing is usually done over a much longer period. This design will flow over the whole gorilla, which is not something I can usually achieve.”
What’s the story behind his design? “It shows how we are 'not so different'. One of the earliest depictions in body painting and tattooing is the swirl, you see it in Celtic, Pictish, Polynesian and a lot of other tribal cultures. To have such a renowned symbol is almost to give an anthropomorphic feel to the gorilla.”