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Britain's most tattooed man says he was 'hidden from managers' at work

Britain’s most tattooed man who has 90% of his body covered in ink says he was ‘hidden from managers’ at work because of his appearance – but that he likes being a ‘living work of art’

  • Matthew Whelan is known as Britain’s most tattooed man due to his extensive ink
  • The 42-year-old from Birmingham says he likes being a ‘living work of art’
  • But he says his extensive body modifications have led to unfair treatment
  • In one job, he would be ‘hidden from managers’ when they were touring office 

Britain’s most tattooed man has spoken out about how his extensive collection of body modifications has resulted in unfair treatment in the workplace.

Matthew Whelan, from Birmingham, who is also known as King Body Art,  kingofinkland79 or B-art, has tattooed over some 90 per cent of his body, spending more than £40,000 on the extensive inkings.

And while he says he likes being a ‘living work of art’, his unique appearance has brought unwelcome attention over the years.

As well as struggling to find employment at times, the tattoo fan says he has been treated differently to his colleagues while in employment.

In a recent interview with the Daily Star, King Body Art revealed that while working in a call centre, when managers were coming to look around the office floor, he was ‘shuffled around from one office to another’.

Matthew Whelan (pictured) who is also known as King Body Art, kingofinkland79 or B-art, has tattooed over some 90 per cent of his body – and says having an unusual appearance

The body modifications fan (seen here in a recent Instagram video) says he has suffered from multiple problems as a result of his unique look, struggling to find work, and even being a victim of violence

He explained: ‘The managers were coming up so they decided to have a move around in the office.

‘The person they got to move was me. I got shifted from one end of the office down to the bottom when the managers come up.’

In the past, he has also spoken about the difficulties in finding work, saying in 2015 that it was something he had struggled with.  

‘I personally find it really difficult to get my head around it because there are companies out there that employ people on merit,’ he said.

‘There are [body] modified friendly companies. But the majority are like: “Look at these people! You look different from everyone in our office. You’re different. You don’t fit our criteria. We’re not employing you.” That’s frustrating.’ 

However King Body Art’s experiences in the workplace do not represent the most extreme reactions he has faced as a result of how he looks.

Speaking to the Independent in 2017, he revealed he was stabbed in Birmingham in 2009. 

He said: ‘The reactions can go from amazement to hate crime. [The stabbing] showed me that every day is a bonus and humans are only here for a limited period of time.’ 


Now and then: King Body Art (pictured left now and right before his body transformation) got his first tattoo at 16

According to his interview with the Daily Star, the body modifications fan has since found employment as a model and actor. 

However, he says his appearance can lead to typecasting, and he is often picked for prisoner-type roles.

During an appearance on long running BBC series Doctors, he was cast as a prisoner.

As King Body Art quipped, he is unlikely to appear on period programmes like Downton Abbey unless one of the characters is ‘tripping out’.

Among his body modifications, King Body Art has dyed both of his eye whites black.

He has also removed his nipples so tattoo artists to have a smoother canvas to work on and has a crown-shaped implant embedded under the skin on his right hand. 

The 42-year-old has plans for further modifications, and recently shared photos on Instagram of a small black tattoo, telling followers he will be covering other tattoos in the dark ink (in a process known as ‘blacking out’) in the future. 

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