To anyone who has acquired scars from a certain traumatic event, the permanent mark is always going to be a reminder of the turbulence they stumbled upon at some point in their life. While some choose to live with it, others have their own way of healing the scars past the ones left on skin in their own ways.
A survivor herself, Vancouver-based tattoo artist Auberon Wolf found a therapeutic way for herself to deal with the self-inflicted wounds inside and outside. She decided to share it with others. The 29-year-old now actively works with clients who were victims of domestic violence, mental health disorders, and other physical injuries trusting tattoos to turn their scars into something else. Many of them heard from word of mouth about what Wolf does and decided to see for themselves if it's just what they needed as well.
“One of the aspects of empowerment and healing held in that piece is around the strength of being a survivor,” said Wolf, who refers to themselves as a queer femme and uses the pronoun ‘they’ and ‘them’. They've been tattooing for two and a half years, after getting her scars tattooed over and being inspired by the cause.
Now, the 29-year-old works full-time as a tattoo artist and dotes on becoming a part of her clients' journeys in this analeptic-like means she found in tattoos.
“You just can't help but think, what can you put there to help the person feel more comfortable in their own skin,” said Wolf. “What can I bring to that with love and care, that's more than just art?”
Treating tattooing over trauma scars as a therapeutic experience isn't very uncommon as hundreds of women who've had mastectomy surgery have been turning to tattoos in order to reclaim the sense of femininity they felt as if the affliction took away from them. A Brazilian tattoo artist also made waves with her offer to tattoo over domestic violence survivors' trauma scars for free.
Wolf shared how moved she was by other people's experiences and the ounce of courage they muster to open up a painful chapter in their lives, in order to write a better ending.
“There's something inherently radical about people carrying trauma investing in themselves, even if it's going to take them to a painful or triggering place,” said Wolf. “We can rewrite that moment.”