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Tattoo Artist Turns Self-Harm And Domestic Violence Scars Into Art

A tattoo artist from Toledo, Ohio offers free tattoo cover-ups for scars from self-harming, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

Xavier in Stories

We've heard countless stories of people reclaiming their bodies and covering with tattoos the scars that remind them of unfortunate events at some point in their lives. These memories aren't meant to be erased. Rather, it's about replacing a reminder as ugly as scars with something beautiful as body art.

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Toledo-based tattoo artist Brian Finn BrianFinn tattooartist
Toledo-based tattoo artist Brian Finn #BrianFinn #tattooartist

Toledo-based tattoo artist Brian Finn knows this all too well which is why in his spare time, he offers free tattoos to victims of domestic abuse and sufferers of psychological disorders that cause the sufferer to harm themselves.


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    Finn has been tattooing for the past twenty years and these days, he's been doing more of it through his free service for victims and survivors bearing the scars of their traumatic pasts—all his to transform.

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    The Infinite Art resident tattoo artist explains that the reason why he gives these cover-up tattoos out for free is because these people might not be able to afford the tattoos so he's giving them the opportunity to get them for free.

    ‘Otherwise, you know, they wouldn't be able to get that done. Maybe they don't have the money for it,’ Finn told NPR.

    Finn also shared that the service does not usually cost him much except that it takes up his time—time he's willing to give. ‘The cost of equipment isn't that much. It just takes up my time, so if I can make somebody's day better—or life better—just covering up a scar from a bad experience, I sleep a little better.’

    NPR caught up with Finn during one of these free tattoo sessions and got to meet his latest client, a 20-year-old with self-inflicted scars on her arms who started cutting herself when she was 12. ‘And to think that I used to look at my arm and think, “Wow, that's so sad that I was so sad,” and now I get to have this beautiful rose that Brian drew for me,’ she said.

    ‘It felt almost like coming full circle. Out of emotional pain, I brought myself physical pain. And now, I took a little bit of physical pain for something really beautiful,’ she added.

    See the rest of Brian's works here.



    When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife


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