Billy Gibby, the Anchorage boxer also known as Billy the Billboard, tells the Anchorage Press he now regrets having sold his skin to the highest bidder for tattooed business logos and advertisements. He says bipolar disorder led him to extreme behavior, and he'll need at least a dozen expensive tattoo-removal treatments to restore just his face to some level of normality.
Billy the Billboard has become a minor local celebrity and a global oddity exploited on the worldwide web. His public personae has taken several forms over the last decade. He was a philanthropist, who worked low-paying jobs but gave away his kidney to a stranger, knowing he was fit enough to do it. He was a fast-punching boxer who made shrewd capitalistic moves outside the ring—selling ads on a body lean and fit enough to turn heads. He also became the freak who kept selling tattoos until he had vandalized his face by selling it all off to pornographic websites.
Gibby’s private life is just as complex. For most of his adult life he has been susceptible to false ambitions. He performed frantic work and, alternately, suffered life-stalling, job-stalling, depression. He’s polite and outgoing, but acts somewhat shy as well. He often shades his face with a baseball cap and keeps his chin down while in public places. He worries strangers who encounter him might think he is a murderer. And he is sometimes scared.
Read more at the Anchorage Press: Branding Billy: How mental illness drove a man to sell his own face