Liz Atkin


Liz Atkin addresses a disorder that is not very often covered by media or education: Compulsive Skin Picking. This series of images is produced when travelling to achieve 2 aims, to control and suppress her anxiety urges and to also educate and inform the people around her of this disorder. 

She also produces a lot of performance and photography work that is produced on the skin including coating her skin with various materials. The aim is to communicate the idea of skin peeling and the destruction produced by it.


Andrés Kal


I really enjoy the paintings by this artist, the chaotic brush strokes paired with muted and considered colour palettes. The hazy and unclear portraiture produces a dreamlike quality that dims the emotional reaction to each image. However, the process of painting, the hurriedness and fierce brush strokes being life and movement to each portrait.

The images that provide more information about the person through body language and pose help to set the scene and emotional context of the form within the painting. We are not only relying on the artists painting process but the visual symbolism.

The abstraction of her images helps us to understand the message she is trying to communicate in each of the images. For example, in the following images, she is experimenting with fragmentation and how this can relate to the human psyche. This can be read in different ways but the questions and feelings the artists aims to evoke are present.

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One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I found that there were aspects of this film that I really enjoyed and will be experimenting with. The main quality I found interesting is the contrast between the tranquil and chaotic. These elements heighten humanity by showing these states battling with each other throughout the film. Throughout the film, we are showed moments of vulnerability and quiet/manipulated nature suppressed and overcome by the wildness of Jack Nicholson’s character.

I viewed this contrast as a reflection of the human mind, the mental state constantly shifting and out of balance. The stable battling with the unstable.



Jenny Saville

A common theme in this project may end up being visuals related to the idea of being emotionally/physically ‘raw’. Some of the portraiture work by Jenny Saville has this quality. The rough and loose brush strokes and harsh colour palettes help to communicate this idea of raw and exposed skin/flesh. The psychological feeling of raw and tender emotions is being reflected onto the surface as a physical ailment/injury.


Found Images

A small selection of a variety of different found images that I find interesting aesthetically and content-wise.

Phrenology is something that crops up a lot when researching mental health, it was a practice thought to reveal traits about people from the surface of the scalp and skull. This makes me think about x-rays revealing physical injury/illness and how there isn’t a comprehensive way to diagnose mental illness.



Medical Found Images


A selection of x-rays found online on archive websites. Perhaps this aesthetic could be used as a contrast. The act of looking into peoples psyche is an abstract and vague concept, the mind is an intangible quality of humanity. I could contrast the difficulties of mental health with some of the straightforward aspects of physical health, e.g. x-rays and scans. It may be interesting to experiment with the idea of scanning someone’s brain to assess mental health.




Suzan Van Lieshout

This artist works in a variety of mediums but her works exploring medication and mental illnesses are the pieces that interest me most. I think what I most prefer is the bluntness of her approach, she doesn’t shy away from the topic or hide anything about mental illness. She puts your attention directly on the issue in order to bring the negative and avoided topic into your direct gaze. Medication is a difficult topic due to the complexity and scrutiny of the act, she has communicated this through her aesthetics and process.

I would prefer these pieces more if there was a more personal or intimate connection to a person or people in order to produce a more empathetic reaction. Through an initial viewing, there is an animosity and anonymity that provides a buffer for the emotional reaction.


The Secret Illness

This website is a blog and centre for people with OCD to share their experiences of the disorder in text, audio and video formats. The stories are shared without fear of scrutiny or judgement but to unload a burden or help others suffering through similar ordeals. artist 10.3

I find the majority of the experiences shared in text are emotional and moving. They help others understand the disorder a bit more and the difficulties people with OCD can face every day. This may not have been the primary use of this platform but it definitely can help people learn to be more empathetic.