‘Crack made butterflies dance in my mind’ – the hidden stories behind survivors’ tattoos

‘Crack made butterflies dance in my mind’ – the hidden stories behind survivors’ tattoos

August 12, 2020

The Outsiders Project asks people who have come back from lives of addiction, illness and crime to talk about their inked skins. As it goes global, we hear their moving stories

‘I was a blackout drinker, and over the years my blackouts became longer and more adventurous,” says Scott Lavene. “I went out in Edinburgh once and woke up in Cambridge with £500 that definitely was not mine.” He’s sitting in a caravan with a cup of tea, explaining why he has the word “stray” tattooed on his shoulder.

The dictionary definition of stray is an animal without a home, he says, and that was what his drinking made him. Now a musician and performer, with a record label supporting him, Lavene has also co-created the first film put together by the Outsiders Project, a writing and performing collective of people who, like him, have hauled themselves out of lives of addiction, crime and exploitation.

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