Scarred for Life: Every Scar Tells a Story

April, 2018 – June, 2018

Ted Meyer

For more than 20 years, artist Ted Meyer has been making “scar art” to chronicle the trauma and courage of people who have lived through accidents, wounds, and other health crises. What started as an art project to make something beautiful from scars and trauma has over time turned into a full-fledged documentation project incorporating photographs, stories, prints, and videos of more than 100 people scarred in a variety of ways and under different circumstances.

To create each work, Meyer applies printer’s ink to the subject’s scars and makes a direct impression of the scar on paper. The print is embellished and highlighted with artistic flourishes and sometimes whimsical detail, suggested by both the scar and the story told of it by its owner. The finished work conveys the physical trauma in a stark, visible manner that viewers can observe up close, while each print is paired with an oral history collected from the subject, letting the survivor share his or her personal story and feelings.

The works here include persons from all walks of life and with all manner of scars—from repair of congenital defects, to mitigation of invasive disease, to accidents, self-inflicted wounds, and the wounds of war. “For a long time I didn’t want to do scars of veterans,” Meyer said. “Then my nephew came home from three tours in Iraq and committed suicide. His mother asked me to start this series (the Veterans Project) as a way to start a conversation about post-traumatic stress disorder and sacrifice. These people walked the walk, and came home scarred and damaged.”

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