"I've just had a nullification surgery, had a lot of bleeding but luckily no need for a blood transfusion."
Adam Curlykale got his first tattoo when he was 20-years-old. It was a small two-word, three-letter message on his arm: “I am.”
Curlykale, now 32, has undergone a major transformation. In the 12 years since that first tattoo, he’s tattooed almost his entire body (at least 90 percent of it) – including his face and eyeballs – with jet black ink. He has several body piercings as well.
But that still wasn’t enough to satisfy him. Feeling that they were interfering with the aesthetic of his look, Curlykale had his nipples, penis, and testicles surgically removed on July 14.
A resident of Kaliningrad, Russia, Curlykale traveled to Jardines Hospital in Guadalajara, Mexico to have the operation.
“I’ve just had a nullification surgery, had a lot of bleeding but luckily no need for a blood transfusion,” he wrote post surgery.
At 22 years old, Adam Curlykale was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was lucky to survive, but months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments severely weakened his immune system. As a result, he developed several skin conditions including albinism, whereby part of the skin’s pigmentation disappears.
That’s when he started tattooing his whole body. He saw the tattoos as a refuge from the deep depression he felt.
“I did not accept myself and others did not accept me,” Curlykale said, and he suffered from eating disorders and even attempted suicide.
“Tattoos allowed me to discover myself again, I became beautiful to myself,” he said.
He said that he’s always known he was different from the rest of society.
Curlykale identifies as a “nullo,” a term referring to a form of extreme body modification that includes having the genitals removed.
Curlykale shared photos of his recovery in the hospital following the nullification surgery with his more than 25,000 Instagram followers:
“People like me are not represented well in mass media,” Curlykale said in March 2018. “People are afraid to risk and promote body modifications.”
In one of his photos, he’s in a hospital bed surrounded by people. He wrote as the caption, “The best people, the best hospital, the best medical care. Big smile for us!”
Other photos taken with friends in the hospital have captions like, “Supporting one another” and “Transsexual & Nullo – we’re in this together.”
Adam Curlykale works as a tattoo artist, among other things. He’s even done some of the tattooings on his own body.
“My favorite color has always have been gray, in different tones, and that’s why my current skin color is graphite.”
While his work as a tattoo artist, cosmetologist, and alternative model seem like natural fits, some of his other endeavors may be less expected. Curlykale also practices as a family psychologist, barber, and singer.
And despite the bold decisions he’s made, Curlykale is acutely aware of the way he is perceived. “I am not treated seriously because how can you take seriously a person who looks like this?”
He never wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, or priest. Still, “sometimes I think my look is my enemy,” he said. “People very often refuse me the right to live, let alone offer me real employment.”
Though people looking at him differently can be deterring, it clearly hasn’t altered the way he makes choices. In fact, Adam Curlykale already has plans for the small portion of his body that’s not yet tattooed.
After he continues tattooing his armpits and buttocks black, Curlykale wants to finish off the project by tattooing mandalas (a traditional figure in Hinduism and Buddhism) on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet.