Billy Gibby, a 32-year-old man from Anchorage, Alaska, sold ad space on his face, arms, legs, and torso in 2007.
He sold the tattoos for anywhere from $75 to $300 and actually became a minor local celebrity.
The Anchorage Press feature on Billy sheds some light into the sad reality of his life:
"Eventually, I had what's called rapid-cycling bipolar," Gibby said while strolling on a sidewalk in Downtown Anchorage. Gibby has been in therapy and on medication for the last 18 months or so. He is fuzzy on the timeline, and says his memory has been bad lately, perhaps due to the medication that has helped stabilize his life. He described the acceleration of his symptoms during the months before he sought help. Rather than feel depressed for no particular reason—a symptom Gibby had experienced for so long he believed it was normal—his moods began to shift faster and his depression became deeper. A monthly moodiness became weekly. Then it became a daily battle. It eventually accelerated into an hourly ordeal. Up one minute, down the next. "I'd be on the top of the world for an hour or so and then I would be at the bottom," he said. "And sometimes I would look in the mirror and get really depressed."
His tattoos have made him essentially unemployable and he's now hoping to raise enough money to get the facial tattoos, especially the ones for now-defunct pornsites, removed.
BuzzFeed covered the phenomenon of "skinvertising" in September of 2012:
As the economy changes, the working class that once powered the nation's manufacturing economy sees their options dissipating, and dotcoms and the tech industry at large, like many of the new ventures that drive the future economy, have little use for the less educated. What some of these companies could make of these humans, apparently, is objects — walking billboards for their brand. Still, the skinvertisers I managed to track down to have no regrets.
Gibby has met with tattoo removal specialists and needs about $4,000 dollars to remove them, which would be done in 18 different treatments, all of which would need to be spaced apart by two months.
He told the Huffington Post that now that he has a firm hand on his mental illness, he just wants his face back.
(h/t The Daily Dot)
Ryan Broderick is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Ryan Broderick at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.