By Aimee Braniff Cree

**EXCLUSIVE**

THIS DEFIANT ex- soldier who has over NINETY tattoos including his eyeballs and horn implants says people are too scared to make eye-contact with him but he is more comfortable than ever in his own skin.

Joao Victor Cavalcante da Nobrega (26) a tattoo artist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil grew up in poverty and he turned to body modification as a way to express himself.

Victor now has over 90 tattoos and five body modifications including a black and red eyeball tattoo, tongue bifurcation, subdermal implants, ear stretchers and a slice out of his left ear.

Victor grew up poor, scraping by with his grandmother after his mother left them to pursue her career in Italy.

He was raised in Baixada Santista on the coast of São Paulo and at the age of 18, Victor turned to the military for escape. He became a soldier and stayed in the army for eleven months and 27 days .

Unfortunately his career in the military was cut short in 2014, just four days after he joined the military he injured his knee on some uneven steps, he continued to execute maneuvers despite the injury and over time it got so bad he required surgery and had to be discharged.

Victor served in the military as a soldier for almost a year.

Once he left the structure of the army and returned to his home in Baixada Santista, civilian life Victor had a lot more freedom and he chose to express himself by wearing art on his body.

Victor got his first tattoo in 2013, just a diamond on his thigh but he always wanted more.

He had always loved tattoos and macabre art and he insists this is where he found his identity in the subculture of punk and emo.

However, Victor found that not everyone can accept his look, and many people can’t even look him in the eye after his transformation.

This does not bother Victor, people may call him “crazy”, but after his ninetieth tattoo, he declared he is finally happy in his own skin.

Victor is so in love with body modification that he trained and is earning a living professionally as a tattoo artist in Brazil.

“I was raised with my grandmother because my mother worked a lot and went to get a better opportunity in Italy when I was seven years old,” said Victor.

“I helped my grandmother by recycling aluminum cans to have an income and to have more things for us to be able to live.

“I’ve done a lot in childhood and adolescence, I’ve played ball and my biggest adventure was to jump from the bridge to the sea, I did it every day.

“I studied very little because I spent most of my time on the street playing or doing something stupid.

“I’ve always been fascinated by tattoos and the macabre style of art, when I was very young, I already had contact with the tattoo culture because my godmother’s son was a tattoo artist.

“Whenever people saw me on the streets people judged me a lot for having a different style of clothing, I wore rocker and punk clothes when I was younger.

“I grew up surrounded by the Favelas and I always had contact with the wrong side.

“But today I show myself for who I really am.”

Favelas is a slum in Brazil, globally known for the fact that the government has neglected the area.

Some people do not look Victor in the eye because of his black and red eyeball tattoos.

Before he began modifying his body four-years ago, Victor explained how he was not comfortable in his own skin.

“I always wanted to have black eyes and horns to look more raw,” said Victor.

“I really like the dark and dark side of the story that my tattoos tell to everyone, it’s more of a visual revolution to show what I really identify with.

“My eyes are my most polarising feature, many people speak well of them and like it, they even admire me having it done but at the same time they are in agony and cannot look at my face because they are afraid of the eyes.”

Before modifying his body Victor had a very different life serving in the military.

“I served in the army in 2014 and it was a very crazy and sad experience at the same time because I injured and compromised the health of my right knee,” said Victor.

“This affected what I like to do the most, which is skateboarding, I have been skating for eleven years and I continue to this day.”

Victor has not had to spend much on his modifications with most of them done for free by friends.

“Most of the modifications I got from modifiers and tattooists friends, the only one I paid for was the tongue fork, which was $800,” said Victor.

“I have been modifying my body for four years and have only had one negative experience when my left ear it broke open it was inflamed and almost ruptured the lobe.

“The most painful modification was my tongue fork.

“Everyone thinks I’m crazy for doing so many different things and being a complete person outside the standards they are used to seeing in everyday life, but I don’t care about people’s opinion.

“Even my family looked at me with repudiation at first for being something too radical in their view, but over time everyone understood that this is my life now and I live in the way I choose.”

Victor encourages others to express themselves through modifications and he even helps them achieve this as a tattoo artist himself.

“If you want to modify your body, do it and don’t worry about the opinion of others,” said Victor.

“Enjoy your life in the best way, by being yourself.”

ENDS