My Background

Liz Atkin: Visual Artist

I am a visual artist based in London. Physicality underpins a creative practice with my skin as a primary source for corporeal artwork and imaginative transformation. Compulsive Skin Picking dominated my life for more than 20 years, but through a background in dance and theatre, I confronted the condition to harness creative repair and recovery.
I create intimate artworks, photographs and performances exploring the body-focused repetitive behaviour of skin picking. I have exhibited widely, in UK, Australia, USA and Japan. As a creative practitioner I teach visual art, set design, movement and drama to all ages from early years to adults.

I work in therapeutic settings, schools, galleries, prisons, hospitals and arts venues, including Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Half Moon Theatre, St Mungo’s Homelessness Charity, Hoxton Hall and Bethlem Gallery. I’ve been leading Messy Play for toddlers at various centres since 2015, and I also run my own Children’s Art classes.

I am an advocate for Compulsive Skin Picking and mental illness sharing my story through public talks, specialist commissions, residencies and exhibitions. My story and art has been profiled in features and interviews for BBC Breakfast, BBC World Service Outlook, BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Al Jazeera TV and BBC Arabic. My work has also featured in an article on Body Dysmorphic Disorder and art for VICE UK (Dec 2015), Diva Magazine (Feb 2016) and Marie Claire UK (2016).

My #CompulsiveCharcoal free drawings on free papers for commuters on public transport has featured on London Live, Buzzfeed, The Londonist and BBC Radio London. This activity has recently taken place on New York’s Subway system, and in January 2017, I will be creating my free drawings for commuters throughout Singapore’s public transport system!

As an advocate, I have spoken for Critical Voices Conference, Depression Alliance, Dragon Café / Mental Fight Club, Royal Society of Public Health, and Changing Minds at Southbank Centre. I will also be a speaker at the Body Dysmorphia Foundation Conference, the Diversity Conference (Lancaster) Creative Futures (Brighton), Wellcome Collection for the Bedlam exhibition in Sept / Nov.

International advocacy includes a week in California in October 2015 to coincide with my first USA solo exhibition at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. I spoke at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California, University of California: Santa Barbara and patients at The OCD Center of Los Angeles. I was the keynote speaker at the Global Conference for Skin Picking and Hair Pulling Disorders in Dallas for TLC Foundation. In August 2016 I was announced as a World Health Innovation Ambassador for Compulsive Skin Picking and art.