Tattoo Artists Are Making Invisible Illnesses Visible

Alice Sholl
Photo: Instagram/Ink Visible
Photo: Instagram/Ink Visible


For the healthy or able-bodied, it can be hard to imagine what it’s like to live day-to-day with a disability or illness.

And even more so when the illness isn’t visible to others; rather than being offered support, you often find yourself having to defend and prove yourself instead.

To help offset this lack of visibility, a group of artists created Ink Visible, a project that wants to make invisible illnesses and disabilities visible using beautiful temporary tattoos.

Founded by Arianna Warner, who has complex regional pain syndrome (or reflex sympathetic dystrophy) — a nearly invisible injury that causes persistent severe pain — the group is made up of five artists, each with his or her own invisible disability or illness: Aubrey Hight, Lindsay Carter, Kimber Teatro, Trevor Ward, and Tanya Magdalena.

The artists created temporary tattoos representing their own experience of their respective disability, making it easier to understand.

Warner told Metro: “After working on a project that investigated my own experience of having an invisible disability, I wanted to provide a space for others to be able to share their experiences.”

She said the idea is to break the “repetitious conversational cycle that people with disabilities typically encounter” and that the temporary tattoos are a way of expressing these experiences in a more creative way.

Ink Visible now travels around the United States giving out temporary tattoos (which are also available online) and talking to people with invisible illnesses.

Covering many different conditions, from bruxism (teeth grinding) to depression and hallucinations, the art pieces are well worth admiring and learning from too.

You can find out more about Ink Visible on Instagram or the website.

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