19-year-old Aoife Lovett has struggled with mental health issues for many years and even though she is better, her scars are sad reminders of her past. She started looking around to try and find a way to hide these horrible reminders from her own self-harm.
She decided a good way to cover her scars would be through tattoos but all the artists she came in contact with said they wouldn’t work with scarred tissue. That’s everyone except one!
When all looked bleak, her mother came across Ryan Kelly’s project called “Scars Behind Beauty” which helps people trying to leave their self-harm behind them.
Ryan said that he understands how very difficult it is for people who have been clean for a few years but every day they are reminded of what they did to themselves.
Aoife told the press that it’s really hard to have these memories constantly surfacing through the scars. She went on to say that it reminds you how you felt about yourself back then and how painful the shame and guilt are, especially around your family.
Ryan launched his project when he was confronted by another young woman who went through the same thing. She just showed up at his shop looking for a tattoo to cover her scars.
She started telling him her story and when they had spoken for a while, he did not feel right charging her for his service. He believed the tattoo meant a great deal more to her than the cost to him.
Aoife said it’s like putting something beautiful over something ugly. She said she feels a great freedom and she’s gotten a lot of her confidence back. She said before then, it was really difficult to get a job or ever wear certain clothes such as t-shirts. People would look at her and the questions were endless.
Ryan does not set himself up as a judge but it is more difficult, to a degree, to place a great piece of work on rugged skin vs smooth skin.
He said it does take more time to do but it means so much more when you realize you are helping someone out at a very difficult time.
When all was done, Ryan was able to take something really beautiful and place it over ugly!