For most of us, they are bruises, brutal and shock- ing. But for fans of the tough-as-nails ‘feminist’ sport roller derby, they are strangely alluring badges of honor. In her “Roller Derby Kisses” artwork series, Finnish artist Riikka Hyvönen depicts the vivid reminders of the battles women roller derby players endure. 

Artist  Riikka Hyvönen 

Artist  Riikka Hyvönen 

Why did you decide to portray bruises?

I find it fascinating how roller derby players give their bruises a completely different meaning: they see bruises as trophies. I’ve been collecting pictures of roller derby bruises for over two years now. People send pictures of their bruised bums to me from all around the world, then I paint them.

Is your art ‘beautiful’?

I like to challenge the idea of beauty, searching for it in unexpected places. The wounds are mesmerizing, like psychedelic mini-galaxies that always tell a story.

How do you create your mesmerizing artwork?

I find a picture of a beautiful ‘derby kiss’. Then I sketch the forms of the player’s body, and carve out a piece of wood for the shimmering pants. I paint the bruises on upholstered leather – a material that needs layers of paint to look like skin.