He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers as a liuetenant in Ireland and Germany. He soon realized that the military was not what he was looking for and attended Saint Martin's School of Art in London.
At the beginning of the 1960s, while still at Saint Martin's, Laing was introduced to artists in New York City. After art school he moved there, and with his connections, his art career began to take off.
Laing's career took him from the avant-garde world of 1960s pop art, through minimalist sculpture, followed by representational sculpture and then back full circle to his pop art roots.
Laing did a series of anti-war paintings, based primarily on photographs from the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. These paintings were the beginning of his return to pop art. They were followed in 2004 by a series of Amy Winehouse paintings, as well as a painting of Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss.
Notable works include:
- Brigitte Bardot (1962) painting and subsequent screen prints including dragsters and the Baby Baby Wild Things series (late 1960s)
- Callanish (1974) abstract steel sculpture for the campus of Strathclyde University to mimic the Callanish Stones
- The Galina series including An American Girl (1977)
- Sherlock Holmes (1991), Picardi Place, Edinburgh
- Axis Mundi (1995), Tanfield House, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Twickenham Rugby Players (1995), London, England
- Bank Station Dragons (1995), Bank tube station, London
- Falcon Square (2001), Inverness, Scotland
- New Paintings for Modern Times (2004–2009): a series of work drawn from the Gulf war and modern media
- "BBC News - Pop artist and sculptor Gerald Laing dies aged 75". bbc.co.uk. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
- "Gerald Laing". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2011-11-25.
- "Gerald Laing". Globe. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Interview: Gerald Laing, artist". The Scotsman. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Exhibition Archive 1993". Fruitmarket. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Gerald Laing sculpture stolen from Kelvingrove Museum". http://www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 February 2012.