Ariana Page Russell is an artist who is exploring her unusual skin condition. She has dermatographia, a skin condition that leaves her hypersensitive to touch, enabling her to lightly scratch her flesh to create raised welts in deliberate, elegant patterns. Russell’s mesmerizing images serve in part to catalog the invisible and nonverbal powers of the body. Where the intangible markers of human touch depart skins of others within moments, Russell preserves them, first as scratches and then as photographic evidence.
What I admire about this personal project is that the artist is embracing her difference and using her skin as an intimate narrative and her body as a text in a very literal and visual way.
Her work has been so well received that she notes, “One awesome thing about making art with my dermatographia is that I’ve been able to form a community of people who also have it or other skin conditions. Once my work started reaching a larger audience, I received hundreds of emails about dermatographia—how to treat it, what causes it, or just to say thank you for putting it out in the public eye. Due to this, I started a blog called Skin Tome where others can share about their own skin and inspiration. It’s been hugely rewarding and the best part of my art-making thus far.”
You can view more photos from her project here.
This makes me wonder, is there a part of your body that you’re self-conscious about where you could be more self-compassionate?