‘Scarred for Life’ artist to visit UW-Eau Claire

Ted Meyer reflects on inspiration for his work in the midst of upcoming visit to campus

Ted Meyer stands in front of his ‘Scarred for Life’ collection of pieces that portray people’s scars.

Photo by Submitted

Ted Meyer stands in front of his ‘Scarred for Life’ collection of pieces that portray people’s scars.

As a nationally-recognized artist, Ted Meyer said he has completed about 100 pieces that portray people’s scars.

Each piece includes an artistic monoprint of the scar, a photograph of the subject with their scar area covered in ink and an accompanying story the subject writes. Meyer said he prefers the story be written in the subject’s words so their experiences can be conveyed with raw emotion.

The collection of works are a part of Meyer’s “Scarred for Life: Monoprints of Human Scars” project, which he said he has been working on for almost 20 years now.

Meyer has Gaucher Disease and said having this genetic disorder initially inspired this project. When a treatment for his illness was discovered, his pain and fatigue were lessened, and he said he found himself needing a different focus for his pieces.

“With the alleviation of the pain and then not being tired all of the time, I couldn’t do work any more about myself,” Meyer said. “So I started the scar work because I thought, if I’m not going to do work about myself, I’ll do work about other people.”

Meyer said after growing up in a hospital, he became comfortable around people who are sick.

“I could sit and listen to people and see their scars and touch their scars, so it seemed like a perfect thing for me to do — to start this scar project,” Meyer said.

He also serves as the current artist-in-residence at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, where he said he runs a gallery that reflects the school’s core curriculum.

“I show artwork by patient artists who have the illnesses the medical students are studying and my belief is that… their artwork can show the medical workers why they’re there,” Meyer said.

In addition to this role, Meyer has been asked to visit several other universities over the last year, including UW-Eau Claire. He will be offering a printing workshop and he said he plans to talk about scars as a way for individuals to tell their stories and complete their healing process.

Amanda Bulger, an associate lecturer for the art and design department at UW-Eau Claire, said she is looking forward to Meyer’s events on campus and recognizes significant value in his work.

“One thing I really appreciate about his work is his ability to foster relationships with the people he is working with,” Bulger said. “(He is) making (subjects) comfortable enough to reveal their story and their body to some extent.”

Bulger said she hopes students are encouraged to attend Meyer’s events even if they do not have a personal scar and story they would like to share with the artist.

“Even if they don’t want their own scar printed, they have the opportunity to just watch and learn so much from watching and asking questions,” Bulger said.

Meyer said he will also be showing some of his favorite scars he has portrayed through pieces and welcomes students to share their stories with him as well.

“If they wanna get a print done, I will do the print … and then hopefully they’ll tell their story of what the scar means to them,” Meyer said. “Even a small scar still can be very meaningful.”

Meyer will talk at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Foster Art Gallery in Haas Fine Arts Center, provide a scar printing workshop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 and another talk at 5 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic Health System in the auditorium of the Luther Building on the same day.

More information on the event can be found here.

Van Sistine can be reached at [email protected]