Matt Gone, Freakshow guest in Episode 203, discusses why he decided to cover 99% of his body with tattoos and which one he considers his favorite.
Q: What was your first tattoo and where did you get it?
A: My first tattoo was at fourteen. It’s on my arm — I had a bat put there. But my mother couldn’t stand it so a few weeks after, I had it professionally covered up.
Q: In Episode 203, it’s mentioned that you began getting tattoos because of a birth defect. Can you elaborate on that?
A: Yes, [I have a lot of] surgical scars and I’m also missing muscles, missing a bicep, missing internal organs. I have seven major birth defects from something called Poland Syndrome and the torso tattooing hides the chest deformity and stomach surgeries. I try and hide all of my birth defects with the tattoos.
Q: Do you think you have an extreme tolerance for pain?
A: Compared to surgical pain, tattooing is nothing. It’s nothing compared to the day to day pain I have for my medical conditions. I’m in more pain without the tattoos.
Q: Why are the bottoms of your hands and feet the only areas that aren’t tattooed?
A: Well, we’ve tried four times but it didn’t stay. [The bottoms of my feet and palms have] such thick skin and it’s the way the body handles it. Very few artists are able to get anything on the palm, and even when you try, it’s very painful and you have to get it all the way in, and even then, it might not even stay. It’s a gamble. Technically, I’ve been tattooed 100% all over my body; the stuff just fell out of my palms and the bottom of my feet.
Q: Do you have piercings or implants?
A: Oh yes! My nipples are pierced, I used to have dental piercings…my ears are pierced and stretched. I used to have tongue piercings, but those are bad for the teeth.
Q: How much do you think you’ve spent on your tattoos overall?
A: About $150,000 in today’s dollars, if not more. I’ve tattooed myself extensively but I’ve been tattooed by 98 people now…or a 100. I’ve lost count but somewhere around 100. I have five central people do my tattoos and then I also get a lot of souvenirs.
Q: What area of your body was most painful to tattoo?
A: Actually, right under the nose. It’s just right above your lip and above your teeth and it’s just painful. The nose is one of the most painful parts on the body. I have full genital work obviously…but for the genitals, though, you’re expecting it. You know it’s gonna be painful. Under the nose, you don’t know what to think.
Q: Now that you don’t have any more space on your body for more tattoos, what’s next?
A: I’ve been filling in between the checkers with flags from the countries I visit — I’ll fill in the blank checker with the country’s flag. I have nine flags, and by the time I finish filling in most of the countries I’ve been to, most of my leg will be solid. I just got Hungary, Romania, Switzerland and Italy.
Q: Do you have any favorite tattoos?
A: Um, the tongue. I did it with hypodermic injection and for technical reasons it was best to use blue. I also like my eyes — they shock people. I really like how they are multicolored now — I recently added magenta. But the blue on my tongue is always my favorite because I can hide it and then stick out my tongue and shock people.
Q: Any regrets on your decision to cover your body?
A: Oh no, none at all. I had a couple of bad tattoos I had to cover. A lot of people have bad tattoos, but I’m glad I did the project.Read More