Geoff's tattoos are a major draw

15th May 2009 at 01:00

Retired history teacher Geoff Ostling, 65, is about to make history himself. For the first time in a Western country, he says he will donate his skin covered in tattoos to the National Gallery of Australia, in Canberra.

Looking at his body covered in what he describes as "all the flowers in a Sydney garden" makes you wonder how he managed to pass the school dress code. Back in the UK, teachers have it tougher. Last year special needs teacher Adrian Swain, 56, was fired from St Paul's Way Community School in Bow, east London, for wearing tracksuit bottoms and trainers.

The all over artwork is a botanical encyclopedia of Australian flowers. There are grevilleas and callistemons, banksias and sturt desert peas, strelitzias and wild lilies. Ostling even has roses in his armpits. "It's so they will always smell of roses," he says.

Designed by artist and tattooist eX de Medici over 15 years, the flowers need moisturising every second day. The idea started in the 1970s when Ostling met a man with a body suit of tattoos based on Greek and Roman mythology.

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