Milkyway Pines — This piece was a memory looking up at the northern lights in Alaska where I lived for a short time. A very serene moment. This painting makes me feel calm, and nostalgic.
Desert Nights — this piece really was a tribute to the serene calmness that the desert invites. I love cacti, and sunsets, and they go together beautifully.
Spirit of the Bobcat — I ended up with a big smear on my painting somehow at the end, and needed a way to work it into my painting. Recalling nights on Route 66 with my Dad when I was younger, I thought of the bluffs rising to form the harsh peaks in the distance against the setting sun. I remember sitting in the passenger seat staring out the window, listening to the radio, calm and peaceful. The Bobcat was supposed to be a coyote but the original silhouette looked funny so I adapted. This is probably my favorite piece of those selected, and a reminder that there are no mistakes in life, only happy accidents… If that isn’t a metaphor for my condition, I am not sure what is.
Being neurodivergent factors it’s way into my artwork constantly. I am very visually aware of everything that moves, or makes noise, EVERYWHERE. This means I see things others miss a lot, and pay very close attention to detail. Also, I have a lot of empathy overload, so seeing, or hearing things triggers intense emotion, and sometimes makes me FEEL as if I am there. I see things in BRIGHT intense color all the time, and while sometimes this stimuli is hard on my system, it’s a constant source of inspiration. A lot of times I use that same mental imagery in concept, to paint. I never reference photos. Everything I paint is just theory, concept, and opportunity.
With autism comes a lot of anxiety for me. I paint as a sort of art therapy on days when the world is just too much to handle. I never really know what I am going to paint, when I sit down, but when I just let myself go, my heart paints the stars.
Dyscalculexic Pain — When numbers and time become too much to handle, but you still have to face them in everyday life, it hurts physically.
Enlighted — This illustration is based on the feeling you have when you finally find your way of learning, and finally, have the experience to learn what you always wanted. My mom always told me to find my personal keys 🔑 to success!
Too Smart for the Society — Some of the brightest and most talented people in the world are told that they are stupid, but they possess the key to change our world!
Mads Johan Øgaard is a Norwegian 25-year-old illustrator and animator, as well as Special Education teacher with dyslexia and dyscalculia.
He uses art to share his experiences dealing with learning differences to make awareness and to help others.
Mads is known for the short animated film I AM DYSLEXIC (directed by Mads Johan Øgaard and Katie Noel Wyman at Falmouth University 2016)
More of Mads Johan Øgaard
Deviantart (online portfolio): https://madsjohanogaard.deviantart.com/
Facebook (art): https://lnkd.in/dVKymRj
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome to our third issue of NeurodivergART!
And happy May.
This is how Nature makes me feel about April:
“… one of April’s most brilliant days–a day as sparkling as a newly-washed lemon…a day when even the shadows were a melange of blue and orange and jade, like the shadows that poured from the tipsy brush of Monet.”
― A Thatched Roof
This is how Autism Awareness makes me feel about April:
“April. Month of dust and lies.”
― Adrift on the Nile
So many actually autistic people dread April. We fight for acceptance instead of awareness.* We celebrate Autistic Pride. We advocate. We educate. We burnout. And through it all, we live. We survive.
And this is what life is like for the neurodivergent community every day. We ask, demand, fight to be seen as the human beings we are. We are not symbols. We do not exist to inspire you. We are here to live our lives.
We at NeurodivergART thank you for your submissions and you readership. Art represents life, the very lives we live. And NeurodivergART celebrates those lives. We couldn’t do it without you.
Please enjoy, please submit, and please share.
Thank you and with warmest regards,
Mads Johan Øgaard
Melissa Colleen Pinson
* For those of you who are interested, part of my work in April was to write a three-part response to a Healthline article entitled “How to Make Your Relationship Work When Your Partner Has Autism”. Included in the response is a detailed critique of the article as well as the publication of my own article, “The Secrets to the Success of One Neurodiverse Couple”.