Sasha Nicole: The Black Heart Project


Tattooer Sasha-Nicole works out of Gold Irons Tattoo Club, Brighton and is the founder of the black heart project. Sasha tells us all about the creation and inspiration behind the charity tattoo project and how you can get involved…

sasha

The black heart project is something I created a couple of years ago, with the sole purpose of raising awareness and funds for mental health. Primarily the charity ‘Mind’. I designed a simple image to hold a word relevant to the client’s own experiences, whether that be their struggles or their triumphs, to display as a badge of honour in place of the stigma we’re often subjected to when it comes to these things. I wanted people to be able to be proud of who they are, despite how difficult things may be.

black heart wrist

I was going through a particularly rough time myself. I’ve struggled with a variety of things in my lifetime, and I guess I just wanted to put that energy into something positive and help other people along the way.

We all know that we need to talk more, and that doing so helps enormously, so the idea was to create a chain through these blacks hearts.

One person has a black heart tattoo, someone may then ask them about it, opening up topics that may have otherwise not come around, they may then tell someone or even get one themselves, and so on. When people come in for these tattoos they really open up to me, whether I know them already or have never seen them before in my life. The tattoo chair is a fairly vulnerable place and with this project solely based around mental health, I think it kind of gives people a safe avenue to open up and talk about it. I’ve seen people around town who have come up to me weeks or months after their tattoo, and they update me on how they’re doing, or tell me that their friend got one. I’ve had people from Brighton to Scotland get involved in this project so it’s nice to know that even a handful of people from different parts of the country have been made to feel a little better about what they’re going through.

black heart project

I generally advertise on my Instagram when I’m going to be doing a flash day, and then take bookings and cram as many people in as possible! I’m looking to expand this project over the next year, I won’t say too much now but I’m planning on taking it into schools (obviously not the tattooing element), but I want to spread the general idea as far as I can.

I get asked what word I would have in a heart on every flash day and I honestly still don’t know! I think I would probably have a blank one, just as a starting point for the logo and the concept, and then if people ask I can direct them to the black heart project from there!



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