Of the thousands of people he’s tattooed over the course of his career, Kenneth Shaw estimates that around 100 friends and clients have sought out his work for one specific reason — to cover up self-harm scars.
Kenneth owns Next Wave Tattoos in Mesa, Arizona. He recently spoke to ABC15 about his “Free Scar Cover Up Project,” an initiative he created to help people who have struggled with self harm.
The tattoo artist explains that he’s been personally affected by this issue. Kenneth lost a childhood best friend to suicide, and that has stuck with him throughout his life.
The idea to give away his services for free to those left with scars from self-harming came from an Australian tattoo artist. Kenneth believes that covering up visible scarring can help self-harm sufferers get a fresh start, free from noticeable reminders of their past — and he’s seen it work firsthand.
“They’re a completely different person,” he explains. “They’re able to be more confident and have more self-esteem.
On his website Kenneth goes on:
“I have covered many self-harm scars and have seen how it changes a person’s life. This is not a contest. This opportunity will only be open to those with physical scarring from self-harm. I only wish to assist someone with healing. Tattoos can be therapeutic, but also expensive. Sometimes the ones who need it the most simply can’t afford it.
“Make the commitment to leave the past behind. You should only use it as motivation to push you forward.
“Your past doesn’t define your future. What you do now defines you!”
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Thumbnaill Photo: Pixabay / Mbragion
Footage provided by KNXV Phoenix
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