April 24th, 2008 talkingfox
Why on earth would I write publicly about something as deeply personal and potentially socially stigmatizing as being autistic you might ask?
1. Because there is no possible way that I can separate my artistic process from my autistic function. Believe me, I’ve tried and tried again. In order to begin to explain my work in any kind of real fashion I must address the autism and visa versa.
2. Blogging gives me an avenue to actually express where I am in either process in a manner that is less socially awkward and potentially alienating i.e. the ability to edit. It’s also helpful the the reader decides when they’ve heard enough 😉
My work is an area where I apparently have a really difficult time interacting like a civilized human being. This forum also gives me a place where I can send people that are interested in what’s happening in that area of my life without having to traverse that slippery social slope.
If I perseverate, (an action I once had a friend call “arting in my face”) the reader can opt out on their terms, no harm, no foul.
3. I hope that I can, in some small way, dispel some myths and stereotypes that surround Adult Autistics and Apergers folks from all areas of the spectrum.
I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on the subjects that I am putting forward for public perusal.
All I can do is share my personal experience.
As far as the potential social stigma? Well, I’m capable of committing social suicide all by my lonesome. This blog isn’t going to make a whit of a difference there…..
April 16th, 2008 talkingfox
Another huge influence on my art has been music. I can’t work without it.
Each piece that I start is worked on to the same music, much to the consternation of room mates and spouses. Apparently, each painting has its own soundtrack.
It seems that an internal routine gets set with the music and I have an almost impossible time re-finding the mindset that I was working from when I stop working. I hate it when my my train of thought derails! Music serves me by blotting out external stimuli, which I have a hard time filtering.
Music also acts as a sort of emotional/ intellectual mnemonic device for me. It helps in keeping my work from becoming overly preoccupied with detail and stiff. In short, I can set aside technical aspects of art and ride on an emotional stream pouring out of the speakers.
A wall of sound protects me from the outside world and allows me to put my brain on artistic/autistic autopilot. This frees me to work as I see and at hand rather than dealing with niggling mental subroutines.
I tend to get utterly immersed when listening to music anyways, working or no. Sometimes my eyes roll back in my head and I cry unconsciously.
When I’m perusing new cd’s to purchase, one of the biggest criteria is “Can I work to it?”
which is , btw, one of the greatest compliments that I can pay any given album.
Currently in heavy rotation are:
Afro-Celt Sound System: Anatomic
Sound Track: Tout Les Matins du Monde Crappy film, GREAT performance by Jordi Savall
Tanzwut – Ihr wolltet Spaß Tanzwut are the boys from Corvus Corax plugged in
Gjallerhorn All albums. An awesome group of Swedes residing in Finland. As a didg player as well as visual artist, this stuff makes me crazy
In Extremo All albums. Another Mittelaltel Metal band from Germany, similar to Tanzwut
Mozart: Requiem Mass performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker
April 15th, 2008 talkingfox
As an artist I am, like most other artists, asked about major influences on my work.
Last night, as I was watching a wonderful biopic on PBS, I realized what a profound influence that literature has had on my work. More specifically poetry. Even more specifically the works of Walt Whitman.
I was raised in a family with a love of literature of all sorts. My mother read me the works of Emerson, Scott, Longfellow, Frost and manymany others as a very young child. It got to where I could recite many before I was even out of kindergarten. Of course this was no doubt due to the fact that my mother herself had many works memorized and would recite them to entertain us as she baked or did some other household task. I always liked the rather macabre ones like Longfellow’s “Wreck of the Hesperus” and Sir Walter Scott’s take on Goethes “Erl- King”. Yeah, ok, I was a weird kid.
As I got older I discovered Blake, Neruda, TS Eliot, and Rilke, who are some of my favorite poets still. I would suggest that anyone who wants to go into the Arts of any stripe read Rilkes’ “Letters to a Young Poet”.
Walt Whitman’s body of work has, however, impacted me more than that of any other writer, poetry or prose.
I discovered Whitman at around age 12 , when I fancied myself a fledgling writer of sorts. I have since read and reread “Leaves of Grass” over the course of my entire adult life.
I recently passed on my grubby, tattered, dogeared copy to my daughter who writes.
Whitman’s pure physicality transcends time and cultural boundaries. It transcends the restrictions of the society in which it was created. It trumpets a strength in the most fundamental act of simply being as well as a deep love for and unflinching examination of existence . What courageous writing.
When I’m feeling unsure of my work or weirded out by my own weirdness all I have to do is pick up “Leaves of Grass” and open it to a random poem.
I read and am renewed, recharged and reassured.
“The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you. ”
“Song of Myself”
Thanks Uncle Walt. And Thanks Mom.
April 13th, 2008 talkingfox
In the last few months I’ve gone completely casein free in my diet. I’ve been gluten free for a couple of years now and have adapted to that. I’m finding going casein free a bit more difficult. For the first few weeks I completely went ape s**t as I detoxed. Now a few more weeks in I can tell an appreciable difference in anxiety levels and a lessening of repetitive action and speech. Awesomeness.
Actually finding casein free products that taste decent has been a bit more problematic.
Now who’da thunk that there’d be casein in SOY CHEESE for crying out loud?? I mean who the hell eats soy cheese except those sensitive to milk products and vegans??? Almond cheese too.
I want to know which brainiac in product development decided that this was a good idea. Having an ooey gooey melted texture isn’t going to do the company any good if it makes their clients sick now is it?
I also found out my favorite bratwurst from the Alaska Sausage Company (awesome products btw) while being gluten free has milk solids in it. Poop.
A few cool finds though.
Ghee is caesin and lactose free. WOOHOO for butter taste! I think I can add it to baked goods with a non trans fat margarine to get that oh so not duplicable flavor.
Soy yogurt is a pretty good substitute for sour cream or thinned a bit for buttermilk. It also drips out fairly well and can be used as a soft spready cheese like ricotta or sweetened for use in place of marscapone. The drip thing takes longer than with regular yogurt, but oh well.
Hmmmm. Maybe I should think about a cookbook. I’m cooking anyways (always have), I just tend not to write things down. Mayhap I should start…..
EDIT: I have since found that Tofutti brand soy cheese does NOT contain caesin! The Mozzarella sort even tastes ok! I’m going to try out a GFCF lasagne! Tinkyada rice pasta ROCKS!
April 12th, 2008 talkingfox
I’ve never been much of a blogger. Well, barring a few posts on MySpace that is…..
I’m an artist. I’m also a musician. In addition to these things I’ve also been diagnosed High Functioning Autistic/Aspergers.
Now the autism label can be fraught with mythconceptions. I don’t necessarily consider it (at least for me) a disability…well, maybe at parties. Rather I consider it to be who I am, rather like having blue eyes or an allergy to ragweed pollen.
More importantly I hold firm to the notion that I don’t need to be “Cured”, social interaction difficulties aside.
In the coming posts I’m going to try and document my artistic process, my thoughts on autism in general and whatever else strikes my fancy.