Artist Ted Meyer tells stories through his art and people’s scars in ‘Scarred for Life’


Isadora Troncoso

First glance at the exhibition as the public walks in.

Megan Blacher, Social Media Editor/Staff Writer

As the scholar year begins, so do the events that aim to encourage students and professors to be part of the many activities and events San Diego Mesa College has to offer. One of these, is artist Ted Meyer’s 20-year-old project, “Scarred for Life.” The exhibition is composed of over 60 framed scar prints, followed by a photographic portrait taken by Meyer himself, and a story written by the patients, as well as up to six “Structural Abnormalities” paintings. “Scarred for life” displays how medical patients who have suffered major trauma could accept their scars and view them as life lessons, instead of something to be ashamed of.

“It isn’t just a scar. It’s my scar” is a phrase Meyer constantly hears, which was also his inspiration to create “Scarred for life.” For years, he had been focusing on his own rare genetic illness which led him to spend a great deal of time in the hospital as a child, but also allowed him to create art through his story. However, after many years, a treatment was eventually developed which would take away many of his symptoms, leaving him no focus of his artwork. Due to this, he decided to switch his focus and began telling the stories of other medical patients through his art as he still wanted to explore illness.  

This project embodies stories of scars from medical patients with a wide age range, as well as scars that stem from diverse situations. Organ transplants, cancer treatments, self harm, and limb amputations are only some of the many reasons behind the scars that Meyer decided to paint on. The exhibition also includes a small area that allows the public to become part of the exhibition, by drawing where their scar is located, as well as a space for them to tell their own stories and their obstacles, as well as their lessons.

The title “Scarred for Life” is just a play of words, as the artist would describe it. Truly, “Scarred for life” is a common expression, and although it is a phrase mostly used in sad situations, Meyer sees it as quite the opposite, as it prints people with physical scars, and scars are for life.

“Scarred for Life” is now located at San Diego Mesa College’s art gallery, until September 20th from Monday until Thursday.

Meyer’s project continues to grow and now consists of almost 100 artistically enhanced monoprints, which have been taken straight from the scars of his subjects’ bodies. His project, “Scarred for Life”, has now been exhibited for twenty years, and has been at The Science Museum, National Museum of Health and Medicine, United Nations, Museum of Art and Culture, Brevard Museum of Art, NYU, UCLA, and many more.

Isadora Troncoso
Area of the gallery designated for the public to become part of the exhibition.
Isadora Troncoso
Students carefully analyzing the art displayed.