Connecting through Trust, Vulnerability, and Tattoos

The Adobe Max 2020 Conference was completely free and virtual this year (thanks COVID!) and I watched a session yesterday that featured different artists and graphic designers. I was amazed at how talented and creative people can be – each person featured was awesome in their own way.

One artist in particular stood out to me: a tattoo artist, *Scott Campbell. His bio mentioned that he’s world-renowned in the field – you can read more about him with a quick Google search if interested.

The session highlighted a project he had done called “Whole Glory” – it’s an event where there is a wall or fence set up with a hole in it. Scott is on one side of the wall, while a person on the other side sticks their arm through the hole and gets a free tattoo. The catch is, they have no say in the tattoo whatsoever, and they don’t get to see it at all until it’s completely finished.

I’m sure many of you are thinking right now, “Yikes! No way! I would NEVER do that!” But there are quite a few people who have been willing to do it. In the Adobe session, Scott talked about how each person that he tattooed ended up loving their tattoo. They would come up to Scott at the end of the event and tell him how their tattoo was perfect, and how they secretly thought theirs was the best out of all he had done that day.

I found this to be so interesting (from a psychological perspective), and also just really beautiful. There’s something really cool about connecting and being that vulnerable with another person, a stranger in fact, and sharing a meaningful experience together.

For the artist, he gets the freedom of being able to tattoo anything he likes (whereas he states that normally “the canvas has an opinion”) – and for the person receiving the tattoo, they are able to find and make meaning out of the art created on their body – every time.

Maybe it felt extra meaningful to me because I got my first tattoo at the beginning of this year, and I know how much vulnerability and meaning was behind my own tattoo.

I just also love the idea of two strangers connecting through a meaningful shared experience. It’s beautiful. We need more of this in the world – more art, more beauty, more connecting, more empathy, more love.

Thanks for reading.

*I just saw an announcement on his tattoo shop’s page that said they had to close due to the pandemic! I am so sad about this! Best of luck to you Scott in your next endeavor, whatever it may be!

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