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Julia Horeftari for Art-Sheep

Artist Ariana Page Russell suffers from an allergic skin reaction know as Dermatographia. This disorder, also known as “skin writing”, causes the skin to raise and become reddish after a scratch, rub or even a stroke – and in some cases also when slapped.

1082128333Russell works on creating images that explore the skin as a document of human experience. Instead of trying to conceal her own disorder she exposes it, producing  works of art, such as this series of images titled Skin.
1082128472She explains how Dermatographia allows her to draw painlessly on her skin and then photograph the results (the markings stay on the skin for about 30 minutes). The artist says that this skin reaction is much like the uncontrollable nature of a blush, which is involuntary.


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These temporary patterns on Russell’s skin emit a certain sense of vulnerability. Abstract designs as well as texts are created through a very personal form of art, where the artist uses her own sensitivity to convey her message to the public. Here is a woman who has accepted her body’s involuntary reactions and the images she produces with her inflated, reddish skin show exactly that.

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