Man Who Spent £20,000 On Tattoo, Over 80 Per cent of his Body covered in Ink. Now Struggling To Find A Job
He’s Britain’s most-tattooed man, with 80 per cent of his body covered in ink. But 33-year-old Mathew Whelan is now struggling to find work as a result of his devotion to body art.
After spending 300 hours in the tattooist’s chair and having paid more than £20,000 for designs, Mr Whelan is currently volunteering in the office of a Liberal Democrat MP.
He has also changed his name to King Body Art The Extreme Ink-ite or, alternatively, King of Inkland. Mr Whelan says body modification is a culture, a way of life and almost a religion.Body Art has expressed his wish to educate the world on his colourful beliefs. But he also volunteers at the office of Liberal Democrat MP John Hemmings in Yardley, in Birmingham. Mr Whelan, from Birmingham, said: ‘I’ve got so much respect for the history of body modification.
‘It’s an art and a culture and when a group of kids stare at me, I’ll talk to them an explain the history of it.‘Peoplewho do what I do treat their body like a temple. Like Christian’s have Jesus, we have our bodies.’ He says he has wanted tattoos since the age of nine after seeing his Dad’s and Uncle’s.
The enthusiast got his first one, a British Bulldog with a blank scroll, at the age of 16. Snakes, scorpions, eyeballs and vampires are among the illustrations that cover 80 percent of his body. He even has one of his eyeballs tattooed white. Mr Whelan said: ‘I’m fully aware of the risks involved. For my eyeball, I went to the opticians beforehand and got several opinions.’
He has set up his own non-profit organisation, called Modify, to help those with body modifications to work. He said: ‘For me it’s a lifestyle. I have a personal belief in skinology and bodistry which is my adaptation of skin and story of the body.
‘I don’t see why someone should be discriminated against just because of the way they look, so I want to help those people as much as I can to find employment.’ The ex-wrestler now works as a body modification model and volunteers for the Liberal Democrats.
He said: ‘When I die I want to leave my body to a museum or a member of my family. ‘There’s someone in Canada who has already asked if he can have my skull to use as a paint pot.’