Ariana Page Russell’s Extremely Difficult to Look At Skin Art

Sometimes an artwork sparks an immediate, visceral reaction in the viewer. Even if part of your brain is demanding that you look away, a much louder inner voice is insisting that your gaze stays focused on what’s in front of you. Such is the case with Ariana Page Russell‘s incredibly unique — and tough to stomach — skin art.

“I have dermatographia, a condition in which one’s immune system exhibits hypersensitivity, via skin, that releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries to dilate and welts to appear (lasting about thirty minutes) when the skin’s surface is lightly scratched,” the Brooklyn-based artist explains in her statement. “This allows me to painlessly draw patterns and words on my skin, which I then photograph.” Click through now to see a slide show of her work, and if you live in New York, head to MagnanMetz Gallery where it will be on display beginning October 21.

Ariana Page Russell, Net from the series Blouse, 2011. Archival inkjet print. 20×27 inches. Courtesy of MagnanMetz Gallery