Sammy Nickalls
March 01, 2016 10:05 am

Artist Brian Finn has been in the tattoo industry for almost 17 years, so it’s no surprise that he’s talented. But it’s not just his talent that’s touching the hearts of the Internet—it’s the way he’s putting those talents to use.

Finn, who’s located in Toledo, Ohio, spends his day off creating and inking tattoos specifically for people who have scars from trauma, such as self-harm, domestic violence, or human trafficking. “Otherwise, you know, they wouldn’t be able to get that done. Maybe they don’t have the money for it,” Finn told NPR. “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.”

Finn started with this amazing project back in October. “It’s just something I can do that won’t take much time that can make a big impact on other people,” Finn told Huffington Post. “A tattoo can help disguise the scars, so … it’s like a new chapter.”

He’s changed the lives of many—including 20-year-old Maddie Keating, who saw an ad for his services in the paper. Keating had dealt with depression ever since she was young. “I started cutting when I was about 12,” Keating says. “I entered into a really deep depression, so for about six or seven years, I was pretty heavily self-harming.”

Her left forearm had considerable scarring. “[I didn’t] want it quite that visible all the time,” she told NPR. “[They’re a reminder] of a really dark, hard time.”

Thinking there must be some sort of catch, she emailed Finn. . . only to find that there were no strings attached. Several weeks later, she stepped out of Finn’s parlor with a beautiful black-and-white rose over top of her scars. “It’s gorgeous,” Keating told NPR. “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.”

The tattoo didn’t only serve to hide Keating’s scars, but remind her of how she persevered during even the darkest of times.

“It felt almost like coming full circle,” she told NPR. “Out of emotional pain, I brought myself physical pain. And now, I took a little bit of physical pain for something really beautiful. And it’s really nice to think that anybody that I meet will see something so beautiful and be able to appreciate it with me.”

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