*TRIGGER WARNING. This article contains information regarding self harm and may be triggering to those who struggle with this issue.*
Other people, personalities, stories, and struggles. This is where 17-year-old Cheyanne Washington finds inspiration for her art. The artist's latest medium is inkbox Freehand Ink, because to her, inkbox means self-expression.
“My body, my art. It means the power to put what I feel on the inside, on the outside. It means being able to share my art with others… It means so much.”
Cheyanne has had ongoing struggles herself. Self harm was a battle she faced each and every day. After four hospitalizations she found that body art was a way for her to express herself and love the skin she's in. She was looking for something that reminded her of the beauty in the world. Drawing flowers on her arms and wrists, anywhere she would cut, reminded her that her body is beautiful.
“I no longer find escape in a razor, but now in a freehand bottle that allows me to do much more than ever before. I use inkbox because I need a skin deep reminder that there is beauty and there is hope and it's written on my body.”
Cheyanne also loves the flexibility and artistic freedom that Freehand Ink provides, giving her the ability to constantly change what's on her body based on how how she feels that day or that week.
Cheyanne is currently working at Nathan’s Tattoos and Piercings in Los Angeles. Currently working in the piercings department , she hopes to be picked up by an artist as a tattoo apprentice. She says that becoming an apprentice is a big commitment for both the mentor and the mentee, and can often be years of learning, practicing, and creating. Until her time comes, she has been inspired to work with the team at Nathan’s and to see them so passionate about what they do. Given her personal history and advocacy of mental health, Cheyanne wants to focus on self harm coverups.
“Watching the faces of my friends who have struggled so fiercely with self harm when they see their scars turned into something beautiful is priceless. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with owning your past, you flaws, and your scars - I find that when I cover my scars I feel like saying, “yeah that’s right life, you beat me up a little, but I’m moving on because there are more beautiful things out there.”
Since doing these inkbox cover ups for both herself and her friends, she feels strongly to pursue it as her career.
“To see someone smile at their wrist instead of look down in shame makes my heart skip a beat, and if I could do that for the rest of my life - then I’d be damn lucky.”
“Finding my place in such a wonderful community in both Nathans and inkbox has truly been life changing for me. I gained my confidence back in a way I never imagined I would. This year I became a published artist as my art was put on the cover of a book about depression and the journey of recovery. I am ecstatic about that and am incredibly excited about this journey of art that inbox really inspired me to follow.”