Ariana Page Russell is an artist, skin writer, and the founder of the Skintome movement. She has taken her skin condition dermatographia (aka skin writing) 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 people heal their dermatographia naturally by sharing healing methods that have worked for her. She also 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’s art has been exhibited internationally. She lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Recent exhibitions include Shrine Empire Gallery in New Delhi; 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.
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.
Ariana on ABC News 20/20:
Ariana's TEDx talk:
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