His face is inked with crosses and letters, his jawline is darkened and even the whites of his eyes are blacked out. It’s little wonder people fear Soren Lorenson.
The 28-year-old from Florida in the US has over 200 tattoos across his body. Soren, who is known as Neon Demon on social media, is a self-confessed ink addict. He got his first tattoo around his belly button just weeks after turning 18. Since then, his addiction has spiralled so much he’s lost count of how many tattoos he actually has.
He does have a favourite, though. “I’d have to say the cute lil’ kitty cat linework design I gave myself in college because I adore cats and have befriended many,” he says.
The most painful body art he’s had are those on his stomach, ribs and the blackwork he had done along his jawline, directly on the bone. Blackening the whites of his eyes, he says, was painless. “Any bony parts are a little more jarring due to the vibrating and intense sensation in comparison to other areas,” he says.
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Soren’s eye-catching look has come at a cost, though. His grandparents and extended family hate his tattoos and no longer speak to him.
“My parents love me and support me, but they have told me numerous times that I need to pray for God’s help and that they will never understand me,” he says.
“The whole family is very close and there has always been much talk about me regarding – in their opinion – the mistakes I have made with the tattoos and how much they’re all worried about me and how I’m going nowhere in life,” he continues.
But Soren pays no mind to the criticism. “I choose to not say anything to challenge anyone who disapproves of tattoos or modifications. I see no point in arguing or being angry for the way they feel about my own life or my own personal decisions I have made that affect no one but myself.”
He’s determined to live his life by his own rules. “I choose to be open and transparent about the way I feel and who I am as a person. You can’t please everyone,” he says.
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Soren, who works as an assistant manager at a pizza restaurant, says he’s experienced mixed reactions from the general public with people either curious to talk to him or eager to steer clear of him because of the way he looks.
“These days though I’m more desensitised to it. I usually don’t mind answering questions or having an intellectual conversation on the subject with a stranger as long as they treat me with respect.”
Over the years he’s become better at dealing with the hurtful comments directed at him but they do still hurt, he admits, because he’s not the monster people paint him to be.
“The worst feedback I get is on the internet where people’s true feelings are more apparent. I get villainised sometimes because inwardly they think, ‘Wow what would make him do that to himself? He must be crazy. He makes bad decisions. He looks scary.’ I think unconsciously people come to these conclusions and see me as someone quite different than who I really am.”
Looking back at old photos of himself he says he still feels a connection to the person he used to be but he’s now more comfortable in his skin. “I am happy with myself; who I am inside and out. Show love to others and love yourself,” he says.
Sources: thesun.co.uk, dailystar.co.uk, Instagram.com