Reformed Gangster Gets Every Inch Of His Body Tattooed – Including His Eyeballs

Ex-gangster, drug dealer, addict and thief John Kenney has tattoos on every part of his body, including his eyeballs, tongue and up his nose. According to his psychologist, it’s a sign of self-loathing, but the 60-year-old who’s trying to better himself loves his colorful skin.


Melbourne gangster John Kenney is tattooed over every inch of his body, as a reminder of a tumultuous life that started when he was just a young boy.


When he was just seven, Kenney ran away from a violent home. He survived by emptying milk bottles on doorsteps to collect recycling money, but this petty crime soon opened the door to bigger, more terrible things.


By age 12, the juvenile delinquent was tempted by every type of drug, “except for that thing they use now, they ice,” he explains. This is when the break-ins began.


At one point in his life, Kenney cut off his own finger with a meat cleaver during a part-time job to collect compensation money. The $9,000 he claimed lasted just two weeks. It was spent on drugs to fund his addiction.


After he left prison, Kenney decided to take control of his life. “I regret half my life,” he says. “From the day I was born until I straightened myself out. I think about the victims I left behind I feel sorry, especially for the house break ins.”


The ex-gangster’s fascination with tattoos began at the young age of 18, but rushing into things and getting tattooed by a dirty needle resulted in Hepatitis C.


However, that didn’t stop him from getting more. “I have them on every part of my body, my psychologist thinks it is self-loathing but I just love it, have them up my nose, my tongue, eyeballs, maybe I’ve gone a bit too far, it is starting to look like I am inflicting pain on purpose,” Kenney says.


Now it seems like the days of homelessness, self-harm and suicide attempts are long behind the 60-year-old.


He now has a permanent home with Wintringham Housing Aged Care and goes to schools to speak to students about the perils of drug use and the dangers of tattoos.

He admits that sometimes his life sounds somewhat paradoxical. “I have trouble making friends or keeping friends, but I’ve made friends and got an identity now that I tattooed my face. Everyone is curious.”


“I eat just once a week, I don’t feel hungry but have given up drinking and smoking. I have no emotions at all, haven’t got the right tools for life,” Kenney says.


The tattoos don’t spell specific stories of specific times in his life, but they are a constant reminder to keep bettering himself.