Throughout 2016, Melbourne-based tattoo artist Whitney Develle was committed to tattooing people who really needed it.
Tattoos often represent new beginnings for their wearers, especially when created over old self-harm or medical scars. For the last year, this concept has been the focus of Whitney’s art her special endeavour… ‘The Scar Project‘.
This month, BBC Three released a video that documented her project’s journey.
This video and the message Whitney has sent out speaks for itself. Give it a watch below or on BBC Three’s YouTube.
She was inundated with requests but was able gave away over 50 free scar cover-ups. The artist has also continued to heavily discount her rates for those looking to move forward with their lives to positive new beginnings.
“I want you to be able to look down at the scars that bring you pain, embarrassment, shame, and be able to put those feelings behind you and instead feel proud of the body part that now contains art and offers a new beginning,” Whitney said on her Instagram.
2016, what a year we have had, it certainly has been filled with many ups and downs along the way, the most memorable moment being the start of The Scars Project. I have always believed in a more passionate world, a kinder world where people would help those in need if they were in a position to do so. In February this year I offered to tattoo 1 free tattoo a week only until the end of the year to help those who had suffered at the hands of domestic violence, trauma, severe surgeries, self harm and more. I wanted to raise an awareness for mental health in an already judgmental world and help to tackle the stigma behind self harm. My aim was to bring light back into the lives of the survivors and make them feel as beautiful on the outside as they already were on the inside. No one should ever feel like a public museum for people to ridicule. With my post going viral the response I received was incredible with over 1000 emails in the first few weeks, a number that only continued to grow, it was both humbling and heartbreaking. Due to the large response and the limited free sittings I wanted to do more, help more, so I decided to further discount my normal rates for all of those remaining that were still enquiring and wanted this to be a new chapter in their lives. From their I created an album on my Facebook page specifically for the before and after transformations where these incredible people shared with the world their journey of what led them to have their scarring. More importantly though they shared their advice, they let others know that they were not alone and that you are able to break free from that gripping darkness if only you seek help and believe in yourself. It has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least, both within the project and my own personal life. There were days where it was very hard to accept that I could not help everyone, and then when I had my own trials within my life it was hard to come to work and be strong for my clients, I think towards the end it was my clients that kept me going and gave me the strength to persist. I realised that it was okay to have low points (continue in the comment section)
If you, or someone around you, has been affected by self harm, the BBC webpage here may help.
Whitney is over on Instagram @whitneydevelle if you want to follow her work.
“We are only human, what matters is how we face our demons and how we choose to go through life after those initial break downs…” Whitney’s Instagram.
Words: Beccy Rimmer / Inkluded
Photos and video: Whitney Develle / BBC Three