split image of the enigma most puzzle piece tattoos

Artist, actor and sideshow performer The Enigma (aka Paul Lawrence, USA) has his body covered in a tapestry of unique artwork.

His arms, legs, back, torso, neck and entire head are covered in jigsaw puzzle piece tattoos.

On 13 Apr 2011, it was confirmed that he had set the record for the most jigsaw-puzzle pieces tattooed on the body with a staggering 2,123 tattoos. 

It took three hours for all the puzzle pieces to be counted, and only those with all borders clearly tattooed were included in the count; faded ones were not. 

Almost all of them are filled in with blue ink, giving his skin a cerulean hue. His eyes however are jet black. 

The Enigma showing off his tattooed eyes

This is because he had a risky procedure that tattooed the white of his eyeballs, filling them with black ink. Other body mod record holders have undergone a similar procedure, including Rolf Buchholz (most body modifications) and Matt Gone (most squares tattooed on the body). 

In addition to his numerous tattoos, the performer has also had body modifications, including:

  • Five flesh tunnels around his mouth
  • Two subdermal, horn-shaped implants in his head
  • Heavily modified ears that now resemble the edge of a puzzle piece
The Enigma's modified ear

The Enigma was raised in Seattle and grew up playing music, beginning to study it when he was just six years old.

In 1991, he was a founding member of the Jim Rose Circus, a touring sideshow event, which he remained a part of until 1998. His body modification journey began while in the Jim Rose Circus, in January 1993. 

He had made the decision to tattoo his entire body with puzzle pieces in late 1992, and in the New Year he was sitting down to a mammoth inking session spread over a month. 

"It was a hard month. There were a lot of intense feelings," he said in an interview with tattoos.com.

The Enigma in the '90s before being tattooed

His tattoo artist was "Katzen the Tiger Lady", who herself is covered in tattoos that resemble a tiger’s stripes. He received his subdermal implants later, in 1996. Now, The Enigma has been inked by more than 200 artists.

After leaving the Jim Rose Circus, he toured with Katzen with the show "Human Marvels", were they played music and did sideshow performances. They were later married, but have since divorced.

Over the years he has performed at various events and shows, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the US leg of rock band Nine Inch Nails' Self Destruct Tour in 1994.

The Enigma’s performances include playing instruments and various tricks with fire, swords, power tools and blades. One of his tricks includes holding an apple in his mouth while someone bites it from the other side, both blindfolded, while they cut it with chainsaw. 

The Enigma's forearm

He performed this dangerous stunt on the set of Lo Show dei Record in Milan, Italy back in 2011. 

There he was presented with his official Guinness World Records certificate and spoke with presenter Gerry Scotti and the world’s shortest teenager, now the world’s shortest female living (mobile), Jyoti Amge

"This [referring to his tattooed skin] is the backside of the puzzle. What is outside, is also inside. The art is on the inside," he shared. 

When is comes to tattooing, he believes there is no limitation to what a person can do - including having brightly coloured skin.

"You can be every colour you want to be. Just pick one and go for it."

close up of the enigma jigsaw pieces tattooed on the body