Although I'm terrified of needles, I regularly come across tattoos that leave me in awe. Most of the time its for the mastery in the artwork, but on rare occasions it's out of pure shock.
An example in the latter is the body of Sylvain, a Paris-based elementary school substitute teacher and model. He's covered from head to toe in intricate designs that hold a world of meaning to him.
"My tattoos have a deep significance, especially the Om on my face, as well as the different stages of the evolution of Buddha on my hands and feet," he told Konbini.
Sylvain admitted that while he frequently receives the same reaction from the public for his huge collection of body art, he doesn't let it bother him.
"When I walk in public spaces, people are intimidated. Their first reaction is to lower their eyes, they're afraid to stare at me," he explained.
Fortunately, Sylvain said people's opinions drastically change once they get to know him.
The tattoo enthusiast said society has become more open-minded than it has been in the past, leading him to find acceptance among his peers.
"I wouldn’t have been accepted as I am 20 or 30 years ago. I am the genuine product of my time," he said. "I don’t want to sound cliché, but if I would send a message to others, it would be something like 'do what you want with your body, as long as it is in harmony with who you are.'"
"As a French civil servant, I’m allowed to do what I want. The people I mix with at work, children, their parents, my colleagues – they all got used to it," Sylvain added.
"People are more open-minded than you would expect even if some of them badmouth behind your back… As for the children, they easily take me as I am," he concluded.
While the model was originally self-conscious of his body art, he was inspired by fully tattooed English citizens to become comfortable with who he is.
"I was inspired by all those covered Brits, comfortable with their own bodies. I have been a teacher for two years back then, and I got my sleeves, one of my legs and my chest done in local shops."
Sylvain said since he's completely covered in tattoos, photographers often flock to photograph him. While he said modeling has helped boost his self-esteem, he's limited to the parts he plays.
"I usually get roles of soldiers, villains, night clubbers, you know, underground guys. I don’t think I will get different requests anytime soon, but I don't mind. It's a niche for me. I've also been doing this for only a year, so wait and see..." he said.
Do you think a person can have too many tattoos?