Pictured at TLC Conference for Body Focussed Repetitive Behaviours in Dallas, where I was the Keynote Speaker on Compulsive Skin Picking and Art in April 2016
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 reimagining the body-focused repetitive behaviour of skin picking. I have exhibited in the UK, Australia, USA, Singapore and Japan.
I'm widely known for my #CompulsiveCharcoal series of free drawings on discarded newspapers for commuters on public transport around the world. #CompulsiveCharcoal has featured on Huffington Post, Mashable, Channel News Asia, iNewspaper, The Metro, London Live, Buzzfeed, The Londonist and BBC Radio London. I have created my free drawings in London, the New York Subway System, and Singapore's public transport system, so far I have given away in excess of 15,000 free drawings.
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 regularly teach for Arts Depot, Half Moon Young People's Theatre, and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and I run my own Children's Art Classes in Forest Hill and Finchley. My studio is based on Havelock Walk in a community of artists in South London.
I am an advocate for Compulsive Skin Picking and mental illness, de-stigmitising these conditions via public talks, specialist commissions, residencies and exhibitions. My story and art has been profiled in interviews for BBC Breakfast, BBC World Service Outlook, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour, BBC Radio London, London Live, Al Jazeera TV and BBC Arabic. Other media interviews include Huffington Post, Mashable, Metro, iNewpaper, The Daily Bruin Los Angeles, The Londonist, Bloomberg Business China, VICE Magazine UK, Diva Magazine and Like-Minded Magazine, Amsterdam.
In 2016 I was announced as a World Health Innovation Ambassador. I was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Global Conference in USA for
TLC Foundation for Skin Picking and Hair Pulling Disorders. My international advocacy includes a week in California in October 2015 speaking to junior doctors at Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California, University of California: Santa Barbara, and to Skin Picking patients at The OCD Center of Los Angeles. In 2017 I took part in the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival: Art & Skin sponsored by British Council, delivering a series of lectures and art workshops at hospitals and universities, and creating more than 400 of my free #CompulsiveCharcoal drawings on public transport.
In the UK I have spoken on Compulsive Skin Picking, art and mental health for a TEDxYouth event on Resilience, Wellcome Collection, Critical Voices, Depression Alliance, Bethlem Gallery, Dragon Café / Mental Fight Club, Royal Society of Public Health, and Changing Minds at Southbank Centre. I was a speaker at the Global Conference for the Body Dysmorphia Foundation 2016, and Diversity Conference at University of Central Lancaster.
International exhibitions include solo shows for UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (Los Angeles USA), Akiyoshidai International Art Village (Japan), and group shows for The Melbourne Skin Gallery for the Skin & Cancer Foundation ( Australia), and the PAIN exhibition in Los Angeles (USA).
I am proud to be an artist affiliated with The Bethlem Gallery, a pioneering space for art and mental health in Beckenham. In the UK I have exhibited for Southbank Centre, ORTUS Learning Centre, Blackheath Halls, Camden People’s Theatre, APT Gallery, Photomonth London, Half Moon Theatre, City Arts for Institute of Mental Health, Dragon Café, Muxima Gallery, Rich Mix, Parallax Art Fair (La Galleria Royal Arcade Pall Mall) Havelock Walk, and Siobhan Davies Studios.
International residencies include Singapore Fringe Festival 2017 (Sponsored by British Council), Fellowship Artist at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Yamaguchi Japan 2011, Artist in Residence on ART2102 Genesis Project in Los Angeles in 2008.
UK Residencies include Art Admin's DIY 11: 2014 with Manuel Vason considering the notion of ‘The Photo-Performer’; Artist in Residence at Northgate School in 2015. Based in Edgware Community Hospital, Northgate School specialises in the education of students suffering from mental health challenges.
Winner - Phoenix Award for Diversity (UCLAN) 2016, Winner - Emerging Talent SAFTA 2015 with Southwark Arts Forum, Honourable Mention - New Artist’s Fair Summer Exhibition 2012, Judge’s Favourite - British Women Artists National Competition 2012, Winner - British Women Artists National Competition 2010, Winner - The London Paper Self Portrait Award with The Affordable Art Fair, 2008
Snapped in action by a commuter creating one of my #CompulsiveCharcoal drawings on the London Underground