It's a fact that most people want to stand out from the crowd and look like individuals, whether that be through our haircut, our clothes, even the pores of our skin. Every choice we make about our appearance is a statement of our individualism, and some people's statements are a lot more bold than others.
Now that tattoos are no longer taboo, and more and more people are getting themselves inked, those people who want to stand out are being forced to resort to more and more extreme body modification; whether that means studs, piercings, or even surgery, to make yourself look alien and shocking.
Eli Ink, a 27-year-old tattoo artist from Brighton, England, is one such example of this phenomenon. This man believes that his own body is like an artist's canvas, and his isn't afraid to get abstract with it either.
Eli has spent the last decade gradually adjusting himself to look more and more unusual, and has tattooed almost all of his skin a dark, jet black pigment with several coats of ink. He's also dyed his eyes and implanted stretchers under his nose and bottom lip. Even more incredible is the fact that he claims he's only half finished.
But now, an Instagram picture has revealed what Eli used to look like before he was inspired to start changing himself, and suffice to say, he looks almost unrecognisable.
The image has already gone viral on social media, and a number of commenters have been totally amazed by Eli's transformation. Browsing through Eli's Instagram account, you can see that the change was very gradual, and that it look him a long time to achieve his current look.
In a recent interview with British newspaper The Daily Mail, Eli claimed that he was inspired to pursue body modification from a young age, after his uncle came back from Spain with a huge tribal tattoo.
"In my opinion, the only person who will only ever understand my transition properly is me. I don’t attempt to describe it to anyone," he said. "I’ve always been blown away by art itself. Picasso is a huge childhood inspiration to me, especially abstract art, but I do like all forms of art. Body art was just the next local step for me growing up."
He added: "I will never be finished. It will take me the rest of my life to finish my studies but I am dedicating the rest of my life to body modification and perfecting my work ... My work is not perfect, there is still room for improvement, everyone must start somewhere."
Eli also stated that although he often gets stick for his looks, he doesn't let negativity or abuse get him down. "The best is always nice compliments," he reveals. "That’s always nice to hear, either from tattoo collectors or just passers-by, the worst is always older generation looking down on you and making you feel worthless."
I have to say, that although I find Eli's appearance a little frightening myself, I do admire his bravery to be himself, whatever that ends up looking like. I suppose sometimes you have to give people credit for being themselves ... even if they look unrecognisible.