The Artist Who Paints Women's Stretch Marks Was Inspired By Her Own Experience

21-year-old Cinta Tort Cartró identifies herself first as an artist, and second as a feminist. She has nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram, where she shares snaps of her artwork, including her latest project: A body painting series where she fills in women's stretch marks with rainbow paint to celebrate the beauty of the marks — and the women who wear them.

Cartró grew up in Torrelles de Llobregat, a little village near Barcelona. She recently graduated university with an education degree and will in September start taking classes at the Escola Massana Arts and Design School. She tells Bustle her classes at La Massana will be her first formal art education — she's self-taught, and her projects so far have solely been "forms of expression," she says.

Her stretch mark project stems from her own experiences as a teen. She hated her stretch marks when she was younger, and says she faced a lot of pressure to have what other people saw as an ideal body. When she got older, she knew that if she wanted to grow as a person and as an artist, she had to embrace everything about herself, including her stretch marks.

"Todo esto, la presión social, la presión estética, el culto al cuerpo, hicieron que personalmente luchara contra esta presión y que muestre toda mi lucha en el arte [All of this, social pressure, aesthetic pressure, body worship, they made me fight personally against that pressure, and show all my fight through my art]," she explains.

Currently the women Cartró paints are friends of hers, or friends of friends. She also paints herself. But, she says, in the next month or so she'll begin painting strangers due to the project's popularity on Instagram. She adds that she'll put an announcement in her Instagram Story and will invite her lady followers to put themselves forward for inclusion.

The project's online reception has been overwhelmingly positive, Cartró explains, saying, "A lot of people write me to say that they are in love with the project and, when I paint women, they are very very happy and impressed."

Like her stretch mark project, Cartró's other works have a feminist center and often illuminate the parts and functions of bodies that are made out to be shameful, like body hair, women's nipples, and periods. Her series #manchoynomedoyasco, which translates to "I stain myself and I'm not disgusted," features pieces with underwear and women's thighs stained with glitter or colorful paint in place of menstrual blood.

Along with all the pieces Cartró's fans have to look forward to seeing from her upcoming art program, they have future independent projects to get excited about, too. Cartró has two on the docket right now: One about ecology, and the other about a secret topic.

"Stay tuned!" she says.