Art is a way of sparking conversation, uniting people, healing, and inspiring. There are so many individuals using their talent and creativity as a platform as a way of understanding their BFRBs and creating awareness for others, and we’d like to share these artists with you! We encourage you to follow and share these artists in our BFRB community as a small and tangible way to show support and find inspiration along the way.
We are so thankful to all of the artists who have allowed us to include their artwork in this blog post! This is just some of the artists participating. Keep up with HabitAware on instagram to see bonus artists being featured, as well.
"I am a firm believer in the power of storytelling. Even as a little girl, I could never get enough of listening to stories and repeating them back in my own way. Taking in information and reproducing it in a way that is engaging and coherent is a talent I have always possessed. I’ve carried this practice with me well into adulthood, and it is the foundation on which I create my art. Growing up was not easy for me. From struggling with budding Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) at age four to experiencing domestic abuse at age seventeen, I went through a lot of trauma very quickly. As a natural problem solver, I fought tooth and nail to find resources for myself. No one should have to struggle the way I struggled to find help. The goal of my work is to use storytelling to lead people to resources. I believe the power of visual storytelling can be used to draw people in to information they would have ignored otherwise. I have a multidisciplinary practice that allows me to use a variety of mediums to tell stories; I have made zines, children's books, interactive experiences, graphic posters, clothing and more to talk about issues that I am passionate about raising awareness for. The majority of my recent work concludes with a link, name of an organization or phone number that viewers can utilize to further educate themselves. If my audience can gain comfort, understanding or resources from my work, I feel like I have done my job as an artist. I am a rising junior at the University of Michigan working towards a BFA so that I can make this practice my life’s work."
Hey guys! I'm Shruti, from @anxietytrichotillomaniaassist. Oceans, dogs and food are 3 words I define myself by. If you don't find me drawing mandalas or feeding my pets (I have a lot of them, my pet babies), you'll either find me enjoying my favorite food or sitting by the marine drive staring into the waves of the Arabian Sea. My friends usually describe me as a "kiddish adult" or an "Adulting kid" depending on their mood, but that's who I am. Since childhood I have been dealing with anxiety, and since age sixteen, trichotillomania too. I have learned to cope with my mental health. Sometimes I follow coping and soothing activities, one of those being mandala making. I find them extremely peaceful and immersive, I'm completely mesmerized and involved while creating mandalas. It helps whenever I'm anxious, upset or depressed. I'm glad I'm able to showcase my work to people who have fought similar battles like mine. I'm happy to share my work here. I hope I'm able to make new friends with whom I can share my journey, thank you for this opportunity @habitaware
I started my page @blackdermatillomaniac to build community with other people who have dermatillomania and to further visibility for black people who have this disorder. I also want to talk about the black experience within the mental health world, comorbidity, stigma, skin care and cogent mental health practices. With this page, I’ve been able to combine things I love, such as writing, Canva, creativity and advocacy. I hope to expand this platform one day to other mediums but for now I’m more than grateful for the community that I’ve already found.
Elisabetta is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator based in Italy. She struggles with dermatillomania and has created some work generating awareness around creating awareness about the BFRB. On her Instagram, she describes herself as "an illustrator and graphic designer who loves poetry and having a bath in a cup of tea."
Jade Brown holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences from McGill University and has only recently returned to her first love: writing, which triggers and worsens her BFRDs. She is currently working on a memoir about life with trichotillomania and sells watercolour concrete poetry at markets as she travels the world. She also does personalized commissions and plans to expand that side when she finishes her book.
Follow Jade on her Instagram, @jadebrownart
"I’m a mixed media artist born in Łódź, and raised in Pabianice, Poland. I graduated Katarzyna Kobro art high school in Zduńska Wola, specialising in artistic textile and fashion design. Currently I’m a student of Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design. I live and work in Wrocław, Poland."
"My name is Lea. I'm 23 years old and I live in France. For more than 10 years my body has been going through dermatillomania to tell me that something is wrong. I never took the time to listen to it. I have always rejected and hated it. I used to hate this dermatillomania disorder with all my might. I thought it was the cause of all my problems. But April 11, 2020, I had an epiphany. This compulsive scratching is a consequence of all my other problems. This is a warning sign. So, little by little, I am learning to tame my dermatillomania. I learn to listen to it and to console it. I also learn to love and cherish my body. All of this takes time, but I know that I will be able to heal. I feel it deep inside me. My dermatillomania saved me. It is finally helping me to heal my pain and sorrow of the past and to reset ways of thinking so that I can finally be at peace. On my instagram account you will find my thoughts that I like to transcribe to better understand them. I bear witness to the therapy work I have undertaken; questions and revelations that I sometimes have alone in my room. I like to accompany these testimonies with illustrations that I find on Pinterest and that resonate within me. I hope that my sharing can help you too. I wish you all to find this strength that will help you heal. You will. Even if sometimes the path seems long and endless, I am sure that there is always a reward for all our efforts. Don't let go. Take care of yourself and above all, love yourself. Lea "
Liz Atkin is a visual artist based in London. She has Compulsive Skin Picking, a complex physical and mental disorder, but reimagines the body-focused repetitive behaviour and anxiety into drawings, photographs, and performances. She is a mental health advocate and speaker, raising awareness for the disorder around the world, and has exhibited and taught in the UK, Europe, Australia, USA, Singapore and Japan. Her artwork and an archive of her advocacy for skin picking is held by the Wellcome Collection, London. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, she gave away more than 18,000 free #CompulsiveCharcoal newspaper drawings to commuters on public transport in London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Cologne and more.
Liz is an ambassador for @thebigdraw. She received the Unstoppable Spirit Award for Outspoken Advocacy at the @tlcbfrb 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. Her work has featured on TEDx, BBC News, Women’s Health, Huffington Post, Mashable, Channel News Asia, iNewspaper, The Metro, London Live, Buzzfeed, The Londonist, BBC Radio London, AlJazeera and more. Her studio is based on Havelock Walk in a community of artists in South London.
"Hey everybody! My name is Luisa and I’m an Italian artist from Florence, my journey with Trichotillomania started when I was in my first year of high school due to stress and anxiety. I mainly pull my eyebrows, but sometimes even my lashes aren’t safe from being pulled. Through the years I learned to be pretty open about my Trich because I found that hiding it only makes me more stressed, recently I even started talking about it publicly on my Instagram and the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. I encourage everybody to talk about this disorder with their loved ones, there’s so many of us out there and together we can work towards being more heard and understood."
"My name is Lex,
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, whether it be paper, wall murals or canvas. My artwork began to turn digital while studying Applied Psychology. After graduating, I decided to combine my growing fascination in mental health and my passion for art together by creating Mental Health Monsters.
Mental Health Monsters is a uni-sex clothing range that aims to reduce the shame associated with mental illness. Mental illness battled alone creates isolation and prevents people from obtaining the help and support they require. Mental Health Monsters aims to connect those battling their monsters and educate others on the many different illnesses out there.
I, myself, spent most of my life battling Trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder. There is no known cause for Trich, but it started from the young age of seven and I spent most of my life feeling an overwhelming sense of shame and isolation. This shame and isolation developed from a lack of understanding by both myself and those around me for the reasoning behind this disorder. I decided I would do all I can to change this, and in doing so I would go against the norm of hiding my illness and wear my monster for all to see. It was a terrifying but liberating time for me the moment I wore the Trichotillomania Monster. I feel like something that has been controlling me my whole life is becoming powerless.
Mental Health Monsters gives people personal freedom from their monsters by giving the option of taking back control. We didn’t choose to have our monsters, but we can choose how we deal with them and how they can be used to help others cope in a similar situation.
Wear your monsters, don’t let them wear you."
Phoenix-based comic artist, Shannon Sharma, began her artistic journey after discovering a love for Japanese anime and manga at age eight. The intricate balance of Japanese story-telling and art stirred Shannon’s creative ambitions and encouraged her to develop her own comics. She is the creator of the webcomic, Jinn and Tonic, which combines her three most favorite genres: fantasy, action, and romance. Her most recent work, Pulled to You, is a romantic, short story webcomic inspired by her ongoing struggle with trichotillomania.
Folllow Shannon on her Instagram, @schemelander
Hi my name is Jenna Díaz, I’m a 21 year old artist who has struggled with dermatillomania for about 8 years now. I recently opened up about my struggle with the disorder, and I now create art about it and about mental health in general! I want to create art that lets people know they are not alone and helps them with whatever it is they are going through.My art account on Instagram is @sleepyillustrations
Since my teen years, I’ve struggled with an intense skin picking disorder. This problem is not widely known – even by dermatologists – and is often underestimated. I’d been misdiagnosed for about ten years – everyone just told me that scratching my skin is a bad habit that can be easily stopped. I’ve felt the need to express how I feel, and I chose photography as my medium. My interest in photography has developed very naturally and gradually through my teen and early adult years. On my 18th birthday, I got my first SLR camera, and went to a college where I studied graphic design and had photography classes, among other artistic ones. I’ve portrayed my feelings regarding dermatillomania, depression and anxiety in number of my photos and am planning to create more works on these topics. I believe that visual arts can be a great way to spread knowledge about mental issues and give a feeling of solidarity and comfort to other people affected.
Kellie is a performance maker based in Manchester, UK who graduated in 2019 from the Arden School of Theatre. She would best describe herself as an autobiographical artist, creating work that is honest, raw and self-critical. She uses spoken word and symbolism to explore experiences in her life, often focusing on themes of mental health, feminism and the performance self.
'Root' is a performance video that aims to raise awareness around mental health, most specially Trichotillomania. This piece is an illustration of the struggles of living with this condition and the strains it puts on everyday life. The piece will enable the viewer to visualize the condition, using symbolic imagery as well as experimenting with cinematography and sound. The performer you see is confessing to herself, to her condition and longs to break free from the prison created inside her mind. Mental health has always been a focus point when creating work, as I myself have been struggling. This piece has been made to embrace the complexity around mental health and explore what it means to feel and be different.
On my page @skinpicking_illustrator I share informative, comforting, recognizable and confrontational illustrations about dermatillomania. The illustrations I share will be in my fully illustrated upcoming book about skin picking disorder. I'm currently working on that and I use this page as a resource. I collect stories of experiences from fellow skin pickers and try to capture the feeling of the story in my illustrations. The aim is to provide support and recognition, to break stigma and to be informative on the subject.
Do you have a story you want to share with me? Please DM me, and maybe your story will be featured with an illustration in my upcoming book!
Hi! My name is Abby and I have trichotillomania. Something that I dedicate a lot of time towards is color guard, which is considered to be the "sport of the arts". I'm a graduating high school senior this year and I plan to pursue color guard in college and eventually coach one day. I also sing and anticipate studying music education in college. Color guard is a huge part of my life and I just love to share it with the world!
Meagan is a self-published author, jewelry artist and mother of two residing in Atlanta, Georgia. She has struggled with Trichotillomania for the past 20 years of her life. She does not let it define her; Instead, she uses it to help others. For the past 5 years, Meagan has operated a small healing crystals jewelry business. She has always been fascinated with crystals and their various healing energies. Due to some traumas in her life, she decided to take a risk and self-publish a guided journal for trauma healing. The first book was a huge success, which encouraged her to start creating more journals.
Through creating these journals, she discovered a true passion and an easy way to help others. She has now published dozens of guided journals, with dozens more in the works. She feels most inspired by trauma healing, crystal healing, and working with the moon phases. Please make sure to check out her most recent journal, the Trichotillomania Journal, a daily tracker for emotions and compulsive patterns. This book is near and dear to her heart, as this is a great way to track habits that she has battled for decades. She wants each of you to know that you are supported and beautiful in your own unique way. Never let anyone dull the light within you.
My name is Consuelo Snaer and I’m an artist based in Seaside California. I was raised in the PNW and love all things outdoors. I have my bachelors degree in Studio Art from Western Washington University. In my artwork, I focus a lot on nature and themes of nostalgic memories. My favorite medium to work with is pencil and black ink. I’ve had my hair pulling habit since I was 13 years old. When I first started hair pulling I didn’t realize how big of a issue it was to me until my family started noticing. Since then I felt like I tried almost everything in limiting the habit and I’ve noticed some years of hair pulling are better than others. I use drawing and painting as a way to keep my hands busy. Keeping a sketchbook allows me to express myself and create a safe space for my mind to wander.
Once again, we are so thankful to these artists for sharing their work with us. We are so inspired by their creativity and strength. And know, these aren't the only artists we're promoting! Follow our instagram to see these artists and more featured. And, if you're an artist with a BFRB, or know one who'd like to be featured, DM us!
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