We had the good fortune of connecting with Ariana Page Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ariana, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
The thing that makes me the most happy in regards to my artwork is when I hear from people that I’ve made a difference in their lives. Dermatographia affects about 5% of the population but a lot of people don’t know that’s what they have–they think their skin is just weird and they’re ashamed of it. When they see my work they realize it’s not such a bad thing, and there can actually be beauty found in the uniqueness of it. It really makes my heart full when I hear things like, “I want to thank you for shedding light on this condition. You teach people like us to love our skin no matter what and you inspire us with your confidence.” It is a true honor to help others feel more comfortable in their own skin.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a visual artist working mostly in photography. My work is inspired by my skin. I have dermatographia (aka skin writing), a condition that hyper-sensitizes the skin to touch, stress, diet, and chemicals. I’ve been making art inspired by my dermatographia for close to 20 years. And in doing so, have spread the word about the condition, how to treat it naturally, and how to see the beauty in it. Dermatographia is a skin condition in which one’s immune system 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. This allows me to painlessly draw on my skin with just enough time to photograph the results. At first I found my skin to be kind of embarrassing and tried to hide my condition from others. Once I started photographing it and realizing other people were interested in the weird thing my skin did, I was able to focus on the beauty of it to share with others. I created an online community for people with dermatographia to also share their experiences and find resources for how to heal it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, right now that wouldn’t happen because of Covid, so it’s hard for me to even think that way 🙁
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother deserves a shoutout for sure! She has been so encouraging and supportive of me. I’m lucky to have her close by. I love you mom! Thank you for all you do for me!