Through the hashtag #dermatographia, Vanessa and I met on Instagram. She makes really cool drawings on her skin, so I asked to feature her on Skin Tome.
Vanessa is a young artist using her skin as inspiration. Her current project is combining and comparing the textures of dermatographia with clouds. This is interesting considering how far away the clouds are from us, yet they’re so familiar at the same time. And skin is so close to us, but when it has a foreign texture (like the welts that form from dermatographia), it can make it seem unfamiliar and distant, away from our experience. Sharing her unique experience in her skin makes it seem less foreign and more familiar, like something as ubiquitous as the clouds.
It is my hope that with the help of all my fellow dermatographics, we spread the word about our skin so everyone will know what dermatographia is. We’ll no longer hear, “What is that?!? What’s wrong with you?!?,” because people will say, “Oh cool, you have dermatographia! I know what that is.”
This is just the beginning of her project, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds! Here’s what Vanessa has to say about her experience in dermatographic skin, and more about the cloud series:
At first I was embarrassed because people would always point out the “imperfections” of my skin, but after living with dermatographia for years I got used to the comments and questions and I didn’t even notice it on my skin half of the time. I was taking antihistamines when I was younger, but later on I stopped because I didn’t feel it was necessary. I don’t take anything or use anything for my skin for the dermatographia currently I just try to eat healthy and exercise daily it seems to reduce the symptoms of the conditions to a point where it does not physically irritate me. I always found this condition to be an uplifter for me. It’s pretty much the only health “issue” I really have and I don’t feel that it is a big deal. I am grateful that this is the most I have to worry about.
Overall my experience with dermatographia has not phased me much, but when I discovered Ariana’s photography of her skin through tumblr I was truly amazed that someone loved their skin for the way that it was. Often in the fashion and commercial industry textures, such as the ones associated with dermatographia, are not seen as the ideal image of beauty. This idea of dermatographia as a beautiful texture quality of our skin is wonderful. This genuine perspective of beauty is groundbreaking to me. Ariana’s photography has inspired me to combine images of texture that people love, clouds, and texture that people are not usually open to, dermatographia. So far I am still working with this project and I plan on continuing to explore the textures of my skin. 🙂
Well my family and friends don’t think much I it and when I first met my boyfriend he thought it was interesting. I think I get more comments from strangers actually. They often think of it as a rash and usually suggest I go to the doctor. Haha.
Thanks Vanessa! It’s been great getting to know you! Images courtesy of Vanessa Reyes