Art and Autism (a creative edge).

August 12, 2016 § 8 Comments

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Photography Stu Allsop: At RE:collections at the North Wall Gallery, Oxford. 

An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper, featuring my good friend and fellow autistic artist Jon Adams.

I like this particular quotation from the piece,

“Adams says it’s impossible for his autism not to affect his work. “It’s not separate so it must inform every bit of the work I do, even at an unconscious level. I make work touching sound, finding patterns and observations from my life all woven together as one.” He feels it may even give him an advantage: “It’s both my downfall and my creative edge,” he says.”

I’m chuckling though.

“…may even give him an advantage…”

Are you kidding?

While not wishing to indulge in trumpet blowing, I have to say that autism is of course advantageous in the making of art. No question.

Jon and I have talked about this on several occasions and conclude that  art making has emerged in our lives as an inner compulsion – we live and breathe it – this is what drives us to create to our best abilities.  Hyper-focus, perfectionism, task completion and originality (by default we see things differently), are my four (not so) secret weapons.

This doesn’t make me Rain Woman!

AND there is a downside. In the making autism is an advantage, but it is in the professional development and dissemination of our work that we often suffer.

Professional structures are socially driven and thus biased against autistics.

It’s a criminal mismatch when you think about it.

All that creative talent and very little scope for opportunity.

What a waste.

 

 

 

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Waiting for an Arts Council decision

April 19, 2016 § 2 Comments

My process of application to Art Council England (ACE) is coming to a close and I will be documenting it in the final two weeks. Even though it is statistically more probable that I won’t be successful I want the decision to be visible.

I have some serious questions about the process, having gone through it. How many autistic artists are failed by unwieldy bureaucratic stipulations and the new inaccessible online portal? Even prior to this hurdle we risk failing to meet criteria due to the embedded and hidden social agendas that dominate preferred professional practices.

Fundamental to the application is the understanding of neurotypical professional advancement in all it’s complexity – I am willing to bet that the majority of us don’t conceive of our professional practices in this way. This is but one area of hidden code. I could name many more but that will be for another much longer blog post.

Research is needed into how many autistic artists apply to ACE for their own work, and are successful. I’m not talking about autistics as subjects or clients – but rather as artists in their own right.

 

 

Uncertain Weather System in Place: autism, stigma and metaphor

April 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

I have a new piece of work. I have a new metaphor. I have a new dance with stigma.

Thoughts swirl. Light on shadow, and shadow on light.

I have courage and I am scared. I have privilege and choice.  New work takes time to absorb. I am almost six weeks into knowing that I am autistic – this too is a process of assimilation.

This short video – featuring a new work in my studio (for a group show) brought me to another level of realisation. The concept for this work – one of uncertain weather – is a metaphor for so many aspects of my life as an autistic woman.

I am impatient. I choke on the hard edges of stigma and the truth of it won’t go down.

The weather is uncertain, dictating all my experience of the sensory world. Uncertain weather is a daily encounter with both climate and social spaces.

My piece began as an exploration of exile but I find it works for autism too. You can read more about this connection in my work here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is postmemory?

December 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here is a short (less than 2 minutes) video with my take on the backbone to my creative practice; the concept of postmemory. First developed to describe the transmitted trauma to the children of holocaust survivors, this term is incredibly meaningful in anchoring my own experience of living with my father’s traumatic lifelong exile from Spain.

The video says it all.

The Long March – 1939 to 2015

November 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

A video which speaks for itself. Progress from the studio in a work direct from the unconscious which references photograph taken by Robert Capa of Spanish Republican exiles being marched from Argelès sur Mer internment camp to the camp at Barcarès.

My father was among those marching under armed guard.

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