6 Images Show Off The Badass Bruises Of Roller Derby

Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
For most of us, getting a bruise is just an unfortunate reminder that we tripped over something the other day. But, for the badass women of roller derby, bruises — known as "kisses" in the community — are a point of pride. And Finnish artist Riikka Hyvonen, who has played on two different roller derby teams, has found the perfect way to capture them in all their painful beauty.

The striking images may initially look like photos, but they're actually huge, three-dimensional paintings. Friends send Hyvonen the original photos, and she begins the process of sketching players' bodies and carving wood to make their shorts. She then paints the bruises on leather, which requires several layers to look realistic, she says. The finished products fall somewhere between paintings and sculptures.

While there's clearly pain captured in the images, there's also strength. "Posting photos online and competing — in who’s got the most colorful, biggest bruise — has become an essential part of the roller derby culture," Riikka explains in an email. "A colorful bruise is a sort of a trophy for a derby player — a true sign of bravery after a well-played game." Somehow, showing off the bruises in these painting-sculptures just seems like the next logical step in celebrating that honor.

The series is currently on exhibit at The Finnish Institute in London and will run through August 20. Check them out in real life if you can, or click through here in the meantime.
1 of 6
Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
Fifty Shades of Purple
2014, Oil on canvas, 125 x 100 cm.
Model: Schlagerlöf from Kallio Rolling Rainbow.
2 of 6
Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
<gasp> Oh Lord. Is That the One That Looks Suspiciously Like My Wheel?! God, I’m Sorry to Have Marked You So :( … Um, Think of It as a Love Bite? xx
2015, Acrylic paint on leather and MDF, 72 x 110cm.
Model: Dino la Rouge from London Rockin' Rollers.
3 of 6
Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
Fresh Meat in Fishnets!
2015, Acrylic paint and glitter on leather and MDF, 210 x 220 cm.
Model: Lt. Uhurta from Rose City Rollers (Fresh Meat).
4 of 6
Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
I Got a Really Beautiful Bruise on My Bum, Do You Want To See a Pic? It Has 12 Colours And Is the Size of My Head!
2015, Acrylic on leather and MDF, 100 x 150cm.
Model: Harm My Own Knee from London Rollergirls.
5 of 6
Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
A Little Scratch Developed Into This Motherf**ker!
2015, Acrylic on leather and MDF, 90 x 90 cm.
Model: B Girl from London Rockin' Rollers.
6 of 6
Image: Courtesy of Riikka Hyvönen.
Wait Long Enough and Someone Will Find a Picture of Jesus in That Bruise!
Oil on canvas, 2014, 175 x 125 cm.
Model: Bo Locks from London Rockin' Rollers.