21-year-old face painter and aspiring body artist Lisha Simpson uses her skin as a mutable canvas to make her fairytale-like tableaux. In some designs, she creates carefully shaded and proportioned illustrations that appear to pop off the palm of her hand as if she’s holding true 3D objects, from miniature books to Polaroids to paper cranes. Even more intriguing, however, are the optical illusions she applies down her forearms.
Simpson visually “carves” parts of her limbs away by painting particular segments in black, which disappear into black backgrounds. What remains are glowing jellyfish, glittering gramophones, octopus tentacles, and other surreal scenes that might appear daubed on paper, if it weren’t for her hand included in each photo as a clue. While some of her work is playful and girly, other iterations veer towards the gorgeously gory, dissolving fingers down to the bone or forging cuts that drip with faux blood. Each one is a skillful and inventive approach to self-transformation.
All images via Lisha Simpson.