Liz Atkin

Liz Atkin

Location: London | UK

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 in the UK, Australia, USA and Japan.  

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, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Extant.


I am an advocate for Compulsive Skin Picking and mental illness, de-stigmitising these conditions via public talks, specialist commissions, residencies and exhibitions. In 2016 I was announced as a World Health Innovation Ambassador. I was the keynote speaker at the Global Conference for Skin Picking and Hair Pulling Disorders in Dallas for TLC Foundation. 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 the UK I have spoken at Wellcome Collection, 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 Global Conference for the Body Dysmorphia Foundation 2016, the Diversity Conference at University of Lancaster.

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 The Daily Bruin Los Angeles (Oct 2015), The Londonist (2015), Bloomberg Business China (2015) VICE Magazine UK (Dec 2015), Diva Magazine (Feb 2016) and Like-Minded Magazine (Amsterdam, 2015)


International exhibitions include solo shows for UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (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.

My #CompulsiveCharcoal series of free drawings on free papers for commuters on public transport has featured on London Live, Buzzfeed, The Londonist and BBC Radio London, and the New York Subway System.  


International residencies include Fellowship Artist at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Yamaguchi Japan 2011, Artist in Residence on ART2102 Genesis Project in Los Angeles in 2008. I was 1 of 8 artists on Art Admin's DIY 11: 2014 with Manuel Vason considering the notion of ‘The Photo-Performer’. I was 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. In 2017 I will be creating #CompulsiveCharcoal drawings on public transport in Singapore for M1 Singapore Fringe Festival for Art & Skin, alongside a series of lectures and art workshops at hospitals and universities.


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