By Giacomo Brunelli @GiacomoBrunelli
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Videographer / director: Michael Catron
Producer: Giacomo Brunelli, Ruby Coote
Editor: Tom Buckman
Keith Edwards, from Atlanta, Georgia estimates he has between six and seven hundred tattoos and has spent over $10,000 on them.
From turning his eyeballs black, to having his whole skull inked, the 30-year-old told Barcroft TV: “looking normal was like a disease I’m now cured of.”
When asked about his eyeball tattoo Keith explained: “The most uncomfortable thing was holding the eyelids open but the most painful part of my body was getting the tattoo on my skull – it was ridiculously, excruciating.”
Having been brought up in a religious household, Keith’s first tattoo at the age of 17, was one of Jesus: “My mom lost her mind over it, she said no more tattoos.“
Keith never stopped though and being able to express himself has led him to have a difficult relationship with his mother’s side of the family.
“They are against the tattoos and I wish it wasn't that way, I wish they were more caring and more supportive,” he said.
Although he is a devoted father, Keith has to deal with prejudice and judgement for his tattoos on a daily basis.
He said: “The most common misconception that people have towards me is that they automatically assume that I’m a drug dealer or came from prison, or I’m a rapper.”
But Keith is neither a drug dealer, rapper or ex-con. In fact, Keith is a baker.
Keith said: “I pretty much took a chance into baking, got into it, learnt and made it into one of my many passions.”
He gets into work at 4 A.M. each morning to start baking before the store opens.
He enjoys the early starts as that means he gets to spend more time with his children in the afternoon.
According to Keith, being constantly judged both in public and online is the hardest part of having tattoos: “It happens pretty much everywhere surprisingly.
“My tattoos are the topic of discussion every conversation I come across and I can feel the prejudice, I can feel the tension, for example walking into a restaurant and everyone is staring – they have questions, but they don’t want to come forward with them.”
Even his oldest son Dakota, 13, knows that all eyes are on his dad.
Dakota said: “It makes me feel uncomfortable that people stare at us.
“I don’t think I’ll ever follow in his footsteps and get tattoos.”
Keith’s partner and mother of his three children, Leslie, always supported him getting tattoos.
She said: “My main concern was just making sure he got stuff that actually fit his look, I don’t think there’s anything I want to hold him back from.”
But one thing that really bothers Leslie is how some people think that being heavily tattooed affects the ability to be able to provide for a family.
She said: “I highly disagree, Keith is a phenomenal dad”.
Leslie has recently started getting tattoos herself and is now planning to even get facial tattoos.
Keith claims that most people are conditioned to believe certain things because they live a ‘corporate’ life: “I feel like people are conditioned and rubbed and polished to believe a certain way, and to live a normal life which is get up go to work, the corporate life – that’s not the way to me.”
Living with no regrets, Keith sends out an important message to those who judge him: “Get to know me before you judge, I’m a nice guy so just come up to me and I’ll be more than happy to educate you on a sense of self.”