Ariana Page Russell is an artist, artist coach, and the founder of the Skintome movement. She has taken her skin condition dermatographia and used it as a means of inspiration, connectivity, and purpose. Dermatographia is a condition that hyper-sensitizes the skin to touch, stress, diet, and chemicals. Something that in the eyes of many may be deemed as a weakness she has turned into a source of power to live her life with a heightened sense of consciousness and expression. She now helps others develop as artists and find strength and inspiration in their ‘weaknesses.’
From highly acclaimed art exhibits and awareness campaigns, to being the voice for dermatographia, Ariana has tapped into a world that has people all over the globe shedding their individual shame and uniting in the many differences that make them unique. This movement has gone far beyond being a uniting force for those affected by dermatographia-Ariana has ignited a call for freedom in the way we think, eat, live, create, relate to and express ourselves.
Ariana has exhibited internationally and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Recent exhibitions include the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin; Magnan Metz in New York City; Platform Gallery in Seattle; Town Hall Gallery in Australia; the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Canada; Adelphi University in New York; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Bolivia. Her work has appeared in Art in America, the Huffington Post, Wired, The Atlantic, VISION Magazine: China, and the monograph ‘Dressing’ published by Decode Books. She was featured on ABC News 20/20 and was a recent participant in the Sexto Encuentro Mundial de Arte Corporal in Caracas, Venezuela. She received her MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2005.
“Ariana is amazing and a true artistic visionary. She has navigated the process of fear of expression and self actualization so gracefully on a path that has led her to become an internationally acclaimed fine artist recognized by galleries and media outlets all over the world. What’s even cooler is Ariana works with other artists, and anyone creative really, in helping them navigate this path of authentic expression, holistic approaches to the creative process, cultivating consistency, and getting your work out into the world. This is really powerful work, especially for us entrepreneurs riding the line between creative and consistent and finding that right balance, becoming comfortable being vulnerable, and trusting the process.”
Alisha Golden, entrepreneur
Dermatographia is a condition also known as skin writing. When people who have dermatographia lightly scratch their skin, the scratches redden into raised welts, or hives.
If rubbed the wrong way while out at a social gathering it could potentially be very embarrassing. It also causes the skin to itch, sometimes to the point of extreme discomfort.
As Ariana grew more aware of dermatographia, she started to embrace these skin flare-ups instead of hiding from them. She began creating and photographing the welts for the purposes of her art, making designs, patterns and text on her skin. In doing so, she began educating people about dermatographia and how to treat it–Skintome is the vehicle for this education and has now become a community.
The Skintome community is about the depth, what’s going on under the skin that makes us do what we do and be who we are. It’s our experiences, ideas, and actions that make up our stories.
We embody our experiences, ideas, and actions—they live in our bodies. Therefore, your body is your biography. And your skin is the binding of that book. It’s all about expression, creating your story and telling it.
The community is a virtual and physical gathering of people, relating together on each one’s own journey of expression and embodiment, independence and community, beauty and transformation.
Our bodies carry the stories of our life experience. It is our book, and our skin is the cover, revealing what’s contained inside. How we have laughed, loved, healed and grown through the lines, the moles, the blemishes and scars. Each has its own unique chapter in the story of our life. Our bodies have their own language and it speaks through skin. What’s your Skintome?
Expressing all that we are and what we are continually learning is activated by the three A’s of creation. This is the Skintome manifesto: Agency, Action, and Audience.
–Agency, to maintain a creative practice, to find space in your busy life to build a place to work (your studio) and spend time in it regularly. To trust that you are an artist and your creativity is just waiting for you to bring it forward, from the inside out.
–Action is what happens once you get yourself to the studio, it’s all about what you do in there, the Action taking place. Ideas are awesome, ideas are necessary, but if they only exist in your head then they can never become real. Get that idea out into the world—create! Taking Action brings beautiful things to life, and these things need to be seen by your …
–Audience! Your work transforms once it’s viewed, and goes on to live with the viewer. Here’s where you make a difference in people’s lives: by sharing the part of you that you’ve created and brought into existence. Be known, be seen, connect with people you’ve never even met. With your unique gifts, you create art that matters.
Ariana on ABC News 20/20:
Ariana's TEDx talk:
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