Portrait of Liz Atkin by Jillian Clark
I am a visual artist based in London. I have Compulsive Skin Picking, a complex physical and mental disorder, but I reimagine the body-focused repetitive behaviour and anxiety into drawings, photographs, and performances. I'm a mental health advocate and speaker, raising awareness for the disorder around the world, and have exhibited and taught in the UK, Europe, Australia, USA, Singapore and Japan. I've given away more than 17,000 free #CompulsiveCharcoal newspaper drawings to commuters on public transport in London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Cologne and more.
I am an ambassador for The Big Draw Festival 2019: Drawn to Life, focusing on the role of creativity for health and wellbeing. I received the Unstoppable Spirit Award for Outspoken Advocacy at the TLC Global Conference for Skin Picking and Hair Pulling Disorders in San Francisco in 2018, and was a finalist in the Janey Antoniou Award with Rethink Mental Illness in 2018.
As a freelance creative practitioner I work in therapeutic settings, schools, galleries, prisons, hospitals and arts venues, teaching visual art, set design, movement and drama to all ages from early years to adults. I am currently Associate Artist in Residence: Visual Art for Early Years for children's centres in Barking and Dagenham funded by Stratford Circus and BBC Children in Need. I am also a lead arist on Paul Hamlyn funded Teacher Development Fund, Confident Creators: Developing a Growth Mindset Through the Arts for Sudborne Schools. I regularly teach for London Bubble, St Mungo's Homelessness Charity, Half Moon Young People's Theatre, and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I run my own Children's Art Classes in Forest Hill. My studio is based on Havelock Walk in a community of artists in South London.