Each body becomes an index of passing time. Bones shift, muscles loosen, freckles and wrinkles form, bruises appear; skin is the forum for these transitions. It may also evidence sensitivity, embarrassment, discomfort, fear, excitement, infection, health, attraction, and energy expended—reflecting vulnerability and conditions we’ve inhabited.
My own skin frequently blushes and swells. 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. This allows me to painlessly draw patterns and words on my skin, which I then photograph.
I also make wallpaper with photographs of my skin cut into various designs. The patterns I use range from adaptations of Greek and Etruscan vases, Medieval wall coverings, and Renaissance pottery to contemporary clothing and wallpaper found in domestic spaces. Attached to the wall or onto board, these skin designs form shifting crimson patterns embellishing the surfaces. Recently I’ve turned some of the patterns made from photographs of skin into temporary tattoos, adorning my skin with the translucent designs. These tattoo designs cover me like clothing, an intimate fashion. They also go on the wall or window after they’ve made contact with my skin, leaving traces of cells and hair, and holding a record of skin’s map. I share these designs with my surroundings.
I am investigating where one surface ends and another begins, the bloom of adornment, and how shifting exteriors reveal as they conceal.