Tattoo artist is offering to cover up racist body art for free to try and 'make a difference'

A tattoo artist is using his skills to help people cover up their racist tattoos.

Ryun King works in Murray, Kentucky, USA where Gallery X Art Collective is based and where he works on the "Cover The Hate" project.

The business has been open for about a year and is owned by King, Jay Harvill, and Jeremiah Swift who are tattoo artists there "trying to make a difference".

King said he was so “moved” by the Black Lives Matter demonstrations who were protesting for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being arrested four policemen in Minneapolis, that he had to do something.

Since posting on Facebook about the free cover-up last month, the shop told The Independent that it has seen an “an amazing outpour of people looking to right their wrongs and change their image”.

In a new interview, King told Newsweek:

“On our first day back at the shop in early June, I told Jay that I felt this was a really powerful moment and that we needed to be a part of it. I'd noticed a social media post from a tattooer saying he wanted to cover up racist work for his clients, and I told Jay that that was what I wanted to do.”

The artist clarified that they are not making any money from the project, but added, “but it's a national and international movement, and this is just our small part of that.”

King has covered up tattoos of Confederate, SS bolts, Iron Crosses and Iron Eagles, and swastikas.

He explained:

“We were also contacted by a gentleman who told me he'd had a racist tattoo for 40 years but he hadn't been a racist for 20 years,”

Although people have had some mixed reactions over the project:

Helping those with racists tattoos "move past racism", may seem like a controversial move for many, but King describes the emotion he gets from doing the work as "enriching".

He said:

 "I can do the perfect tattoo and pat myself on the back ten times, but that thank you from the first woman we helped—it's going to stick with me forever

"To be able to help people move past racism, and help them change on that personal level, there's nothing I've ever experienced like it. It's enriching, satisfying and it makes me feel like I'm able to make a difference."

Here's to hoping people stop getting problematic tattoos in the first place.

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