FEATURED A TISTs
I consider myself an artist. Back in the eighties I used to paint on clothes and do street art, which was really popular at that time. One day, David asked me to do something artistic with his hat and I did––I painted it up in my style. He loved it and thought we could really turn these hats into something bigger.
If I can get people to smile from creating these hats, then I'm happy.
Making art has definitely helped in my recovery. When I'm creating, it's one of the few times that I am fully in the moment and my OCD takes a backseat. It hasn't cured anything, but it has helped.
I was in residential OCD treatment (at McLean's OCDI) from December 2018 through February 2019. During this time, I met Louis Paladino... He is a gifted artist, but the symptoms related to OCD have made it difficult for him to work. One day, I noticed he was sleeping during the day, and I knew there was more joy available to him!
On a whim, I gave Louis a blank hat and told him to use his artistry to transform the hat. And that he did! The first hat was crafted in freestyle.
Louis creates all the artistry and I help with creative ideas and manage the "business" side of things, though, I have no formal training, but I have inspiration! It is mine and Louis's intention to begin a company called "Stigma with Style," changing the landscape of mental health advocacy, stigma, and discrimination––hat by hat. It is our hope that we can build a successful business and to support OCD related research/treatment/happiness.
Shortly after I was discharged from the OCDI, I retired from my career as an Investigator for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and have redirected my life following value-rich opportunities––including "Stigma with Style."