Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Lucky Diamond Rich


In my early work in community arts as part of Street Arts Community Theatre Company we ran some workshops at the East Brisbane State School (1983) as a part of a Community Circus Festival Project. There we encountered a young fella, Greg, who was a gifted but troubled boy. He was able to ride a unicycle within 10 minutes of getting his hands on that notoriously difficult monster and could juggle 3 balls proficiently in the same short time. I was amazed. Sadly his background indicated that he was headed for a troubled future.
Thirty years later Greg is still alive and earns his living performing his circus tricks throughout the world. He has two special talents - 1. He can swallow a metre long sword on command (no tricks) and 2. He has become obsessed with tattoos, officially becoming the 'most tattooed man on the planet'. He's gone from a young white boy to a green tinged … well see for yourself   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Diamond_Rich    
He has chosen a weird path but occasionally I have contact with him and he attributes his survival and career path to those circus workshops he did with us as a 12 year old.
He has even entered the mainstream. A portrait of him was one of the finalists in this years Archibald Portraiture prize.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-19/leslie-rice-entry-in-the-2012-archibald-prize/3899412

Ironically Greg has become so completely tattooed that he has now begun to re-tattoo himself with white ink - gradually reappearing from the murky dark and reclaiming that young white boy I knew in the 1980s.

I was reminded of Greg today when I received an invitation to the 10 year anniversary celebration of Brisbane's Visible Ink Youth Space in the Valley; a place which thousands of young people have visited over the years to explore their creativity and seek a direction in life and in some cases been changed forever. I wondered if there was a Greg among them?

Archibald Prize entry by Leslie Rice

2 comments:

Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

So its YOUR fault!

Nah. great story Steve. Thank goodness for the eccentrics of the world I say.

jane.healy said...

I am one of those people who find tattoos rather aggressive, excessive tattooing (in my opinion) is plain bonkers ... a man who boards my bus each day is also covered in them - all over his face and neck, every visible part of his body; he is also bonkers (in that he talks loudly to himself and shakes all the way).
The circus tricks I can admire though.