When you think of an elementary school teacher, we can guarantee that you are not thinking of the man picture above.
Sylvain is Paris-based elementary school substitute teacher and model and he’s covered from head to toe in intricate designs that hold a world of meaning to him.
“My tattoos have a deep significance, especially the Om on my face, as well as the different stages of the evolution of Buddha on my hands and feet,” he told Konbini.
Despite the odd looks and chatter from the public about his tattoos, Sylvain states that he never lets it bother him.
“When I walk in public spaces, people are intimidated. Their first reaction is to lower their eyes, they’re afraid to stare at me,” he explained.
Once people get to know Sylvain, their impression of him changes almost immediately.
Sylvain believes the open-mindedness of society has allowed people to be more accepting of his decision to tattoo his entire body.
“I wouldn’t have been accepted as I am 20 or 30 years ago. I am the genuine product of my time,” he said. “I don’t want to sound cliché, but if I would send a message to others, it would be something like ‘do what you want with your body, as long as it is in harmony with who you are.'”
“As a French civil servant, I’m allowed to do what I want. The people I mix with at work, children, their parents, my colleagues – they all got used to it,” Sylvain added.
“People are more open-minded than you would expect even if some of them badmouth behind your back… As for the children, they easily take me as I am,” he concluded.
In the beginning, Sylvain was self conscious about his tattoos, but he found inspiration in the many fully tattooed English civilians.
“I was inspired by all those covered Brits, comfortable with their own bodies. I have been a teacher for two years back then, and I got my sleeves, one of my legs and my chest done in local shops.”
Sylvain says now that he has his entire body covered in tattoos, photographers flock to him. Modeling has helped him overcome insecurities and boost his self esteem.
“I usually get roles of soldiers, villains, night clubbers, you know, underground guys. I don’t think I will get different requests anytime soon, but I don’t mind. It’s a niche for me. I’ve also been doing this for only a year, so wait and see…” he said.