ariana russell’s ephemeral skin compositions
all images courtesy of ariana russell

 

 

 

american artist ariana russell responds to the unique components of her skin to draw painless, temporary, and ephemeral designs on her body, the designs visible just long enough to photograph the results. russell has a skin condition called dermatographia, where her immune system releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing temporary welts to appear when the surface is lightly scratched. she adopted the affliction as part of her creative process, rather than being frustrated by her skin’s sensitivity and translucency. she eventually embraced the flaw, recognizing it as an unconventional source of influence and the foundation of her craft. russell draws delicate and elegant forms onto the surface of her body — small sails, floral patterns, and scripted typography — the resulting welts become embossed markings, patterning her frame with flushed, rose-colored compositions. by externalizing her internal malfunctions, she reveals the poetic characteristics of physiology.

 

 

ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
‘flora’

 

 

ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
‘florakneel’

 

 

ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
‘patternsfaction’

 

 

ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
‘!!!!!’

 

 

 ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
‘sail’

 

 

 ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
‘toile2’

 

 

russell’s interest in the physical manifestations of her specific condition, led her to a series of studies about skin. ‘save face’ is another investigation, where she used photographic images of her flushed, red skin in various forms to make temporary tattoos that she applied to her face and body.

 

 

ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
a portrait from the ‘save face’ series shows the sheets of reinterpreted skin on her body

 

 

ariana russell's ephemeral skin compositions
photographed skin, reapplied as temporary tattoos