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Art on the buses highlights mental health

Published Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A visiting artist supported Coventry’s mental health festival by creating charcoal drawings on free newspapers and leaving them for other bus passengers to enjoy.

liz atkin, bus
Liz sketches for bus passengers

Liz Atkin uses her art to cope with Compulsive Skin Picking Disorder and to make others aware of the condition that she has suffered from for over 25 years.

She found it was worse when she was sitting idle while travelling, so she started sketching in a book – and when she ran out of space she used a free newspaper on the seat next to her.

Each drawing takes about a minute to create and she has given away over 15,000 in places around the word, including New York and Singapore.

The latest passengers to enjoy her art were on a round-trip from Pool Meadow to the Caludon Centre when she visited the city last week as part of ‘Scratch the Surface – DIALOGUE’, a two-week mental health arts festival being held at venues around the city.

She said: “I realised that for every drawing, this was a moment of connection, of advocacy for mental health, and a chance to let others know I am drawing because of Compulsive Skin Picking. 

“I feel the flicker of someone's eyes looking at me drawing, the initial curiosity- and that's all I need for me to pass a postcard to them explaining why I'm drawing before handing them the completed drawing and starting another one.”

‘Scratch the Surface – DIALOGUE’ has been organised by The Pod and its arts collective, Collective//Pod.

The festival closes today (10 October). For more information, visit Facebook​.

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