By Giacomo Brunelli @giacomobrunelli
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Videographer / director: Kadeh Ferreira
Producer: Giacomo Brunelli / James Thorne
Editor: Sonia Estal / Ruby Coote
Tattoo artist, Marcelo ‘B-boy’ De Souza Ribeiro, claims to be one of the most tattooed and modified people in the world.
The father-of-two, from Rio de Janeiro, is also a fan of body modifications and has subdermal implants, a split tongue and fanged teeth. Despite Marcelo’s somewhat intimidating look, the 36-year-old says he doesn’t let the criticism affect his positive outlook on life.
Marcelo told Barcroft TV: "I have become an exhibition of my own body as art.
“There are many people who ask, ‘aren’t your children scared of you at all?’ I say n’o, because they have already grown up with me in the way in the way that I am.’”
At 36, Marcelo is the father of a six-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter – and grandfather to her eight-month-old son.
Marcelo’s first tattoo, which features the words ‘hip hop’, was done at the tender age of 15, stemming from his long-standing passion for hip hop and street dance, which he now teaches part-time.
Marcelo estimates he now has over 1,000 tattoos, the majority of which are self-inked.
His own skin serving as his canvas, Marcelo even self-injected his eyeball tattoos.
He explained: “One day I was at home, I went into the bathroom and headed to the mirror, took a syringe and took the ink, and managed to make a perforation – I then injected a bit of ink. At 7 o’clock when night arrived the ink had taken hold of the whole eye socket.”
At the time eyeball tattoos were still uncommon, with little information on the risky procedure.
Marcelo Said: “I didn’t find anything on the subject, there were no videos showing it, I could only find a single image of the eyeball tattoo being done.
“Even though I tattooed my own eyes – despite it all – my eyes are in normal condition.”
His most recent body modification procedures include subdermal silicone implants in his arms and permanent fanged teeth.
He says the fanged teeth can get in the way of eating but don’t affect kissing.
Girlfriend Liliana says she supports all of her partner’s choices: “I believe humans don’t have limitations, whatever he wants to do is fine with me”
Liliana does however disagree with one procedure that Marcelo is planning on doing, which would involve cutting his cheek to extend his mouth opening, then adding a zip so that he can open and close it at will.
Looks aside, Liliana stresses that Marcelo is a man with a big heart and caring personality.
“The only thing that I know for sure is that he is a marvellous human being. His friends say the same and family members as well. They all say what a good human being he is. […] Nothing to do with the preconceptions that people have about him”
Marcelo’s parents have always been very supportive of his choices, but he says no-one thought he would end up becoming so extreme.
He smiles as he recalls: “One time when we were all watching TV, and a tattooed man appeared on the show –at the time he was the most tattooed in the world – and my mother turned to me and said, imagine if you turn out like that one day.”
Marcelo’s various skull tattoos are usually perceived as a symbol of death and danger, however, to him, skulls symbolise equality.
“In my view skeletons symbolize equality, because it doesn’t matter whether one is rich or poor, or if you are black or white, or if you are a man or a woman – at the end of the day we are all skulls”
Marcelo doesn’t regret anything at all and isn’t even bothered by those who criticise him.
“Certain people come up to me, they go on saying that I am committing sins and that when I die, I won’t be going to heaven, that I look like a devil. But for me it is all good and well, I don’t get upset with much of anything, I am fine with it.”