Hard to put into words how significant this trip to Los Angeles is for me. It’s been a decade of enquiry – I wrote my dissertation 10 years ago ‘Exploring Transformation Through Body Focussed Repetitive Behaviour’ when during a Masters in Dance I found out the illness I had lived with since 7 or 8 years old had a name: Dermatillomania, Compulsive Skin Picking.
It’s been 10 years of slowly learning about it, making art about it, and sharing my story with others. This trip to Los Angeles in the most recent development in a long journey of recovery,
Three years ago I submitted a detailed funding application, hoping to go out to LA for an artist residency at the Trichotillomania Learning Center. The funding application was rejected. Soon after I became significantly unwell. I was on long-term sick leave for almost a year. With hindsight it was almost as if the universe was saying ‘not yet’…
So when the invitation came to exhibit my work in Los Angeles this time, via my good friend Ted Meyer who is the curator at David Geffen Medical Centre, LCR Gallery, part of UCLA, I felt a swell of certainty. I HAD to do this. After numerous rejections all over again from UK funding streams over the summer, I decided I would not be beaten, and would work out how to get me and my artwork there on my own.
The cost of printing and transporting artworks was a daunting prospect. I set up the Kickstarter with significant trepidation. Asking for help was not easy. I didn’t think I’d be successful.
But so much support came through! Pledges from family and friends has been emotional and wonderful. I was also awarded £250 towards my travel through the Simon Walker Trust Fund, via Bethlem Gallery and Maudsley Charity . I am gratfeful to have put this towards the cost of my flights.
It has been emotional for me to have an array of pledges, messages and support from strangers. It’s an overwhelming and humbling experience to hear from people I have never met, thanking me for talking about Skin Picking.
I have enormous gratitude for each and every one of the 140 people, some I know well, some I have never met, who are getting me and my artwork to Los Angeles.
I can hardly believe this adventure is going to happen. Happy tears!
20 days and counting until I arrive in Los Angeles!