FIVE

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Dear Readers,

It is with great sadness and even greater appreciation I announce that NeurodivergART has halted publication. The world of art and literature publication has moved on and NeurodivergART must move with it.

Social media has helped to build a community for neurodivergent artists, who can self-publish their work and find each other through hashtags. Politics, justice, philosophy, activism and more intermingle with art and literature, much as they do in artists’ souls.

I still believe there is a need for publications like NeurodivergART to celebrate, honor, and recognize neurodivergent artists. Outside of social media, our voices are too often muted. I had hoped to create another safe place for us to share our perspectives, experiences, and interpretations.

Perhaps one day, NeurodivergART will reopen for publication. Until then, I would like thank our readers for celebrating, honoring, and recognizing the works of the neurodivergent art community. And I would also like to express my deepest gratitude for our contributors, whose perspectives, experiences, and interpretations of the world are important and believed, honest and gorgeous.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff for believing in NeurodivergART‘s mission and helping to make it a reality. I couldn’t have done it without your hard work, passion, and support.

Thank you and with warmest regards,

Saraswati Chand
July 2019

 

 

 

 

Susanne Winters

Mandala 1

In this picture, the stones are important to me because those were the first mandala rocks I felt actually proud of. I’m a hardcore perfectionist and I can be my own worst critic, but I couldn’t find any errors in these.

Mandala 2

This is a commission piece; I was inspired by the changes of seasons, especially winter to spring.

Mandala 3

In this piece, the red-yellow has passion in it, loss and love. Indescribable highs and lows. It represents an important slice of my life, a fire that used to warm me up, then almost destroyed me. As it turned out, the near destruction was necessary, because when I managed to rebuild, everything was so much better. I evolved, was reborn like a phoenix from the ashes and I painted all this in this mandala.

 

Artist Notes:

I never ever considered painting to be a valid life path for me. I’ve always wanted to paint, but even the thought was overwhelming, not to mention I didn’t think I had any talent. One day this all changed out of the blue. I just had this uncontrollable urge to paint. Living in a small village in Transylvania, I didn’t have many options to choose from at a moments notice, so I got myself some bad quality kids’ paint and paper. The paint was barely usable, but I was happy. It was like defragmenting my mind and I quickly became addicted. That’s how it all started. I never had any formal art training, I’m a video editor and singer, but I tried to learn by myself as much as I can.

Dotting is like therapy for me. The colors, textures, the rules – and the absence of rules – create an environment where my mind can get some untangled relief. Time and life itself flows without confusing obstructions and I can get a much needed rest before returning to the usual chaos of the world. 

This is how I see the world I guess. Existence is weird and confusing, it has so many small bits, that seemingly have nothing to do with the big picture, but if I keep focusing on doing my best when it comes to the small pieces, it all comes together.

More of Susanna Winters (AKA, Zsuzsanna Szász Mihálykó & Napkert):

Casey Promise

Silly String

Silly String — This piece is full of emotional energy and political chatter. For someone who’s constantly being told “to smile”, I felt the urge to create an almost sarcastic representation of that. There’s also reference to religion, politics and psychology via the cross, American flag and the bottles of pills all growing from the exposed brain. I’m from the Bible Belt and religion has been a negative influence for me due to identifying myself as Queer. The American flag along with the pill bottle represents the years I was forced to take countless pills for conditions I never had since I was in my teens. It represents all the doctors, many pushed by pharmaceutical companies, who never guessed I might be neurodivergent (Autistic) and continually forced more and more medications and many a wrong diagnosis on me.

Surrealistic Drawing

The surrealistic drawing is an actual “live” process of how my brain sees characters coming to life. What I mean is, when I draw with just pencil….I don’t think about it or plan ahead. I am literally free-flowing straight from my brain to my hands to the pencil. I just “let go”, and that style of drawing is what ends up almost “happening” to me. I use that term because it’s almost like it comes from somewhere else other than just my physical brain. I believe it is the truest visual representation of both my mind and spirituality, as well as my Autistic thinking.

The Girl In the Sunglasses

The Girl In the Sunglasses — this is my “alter-ego” self-portrait. It represents the charm, the attitude, the fun and the colorful part of me I feel is deep down, but is simply masked on a day-to-day basis. This fun and playful character is me, but can’t quite come out to play because either society, myself or both is keeping me in some sort of figurative and demanding box.

Artist Bio:

Casey Promise (Thompson) is a Mixed Media Artist who lives and works in Nashville, TN. She attended Watkins College of Art, Design & Film and studied independently in Santa Fe, NM.  She continues to explore the possibilities of visually telling stories through organic design, dimension, varying materials, and abstraction. 

Artist Notes:

Neurodivergence is what makes my art so chaotic and detailed and even political at times. I would like to think I wouldn’t have the skills I have without the colorful wiring in my brain…. shooting off these inspirational sparks that collide into these visual patterns and places and feelings. I want my art to represent parts of my emotional thinking as well as what impacts me on a daily basis. The cliche term: “a photo speaks a thousand words” is quite true if your subjects tell a story. My art is my way of telling my story. It speaks of both the trials and tribulations of growing-up feeling so different from the rest of the world. It’s also a way to release the pressure that builds up in my brain.

I don’t believe I have a defined “form” quite yet. All of my pieces via medium and subject matter all vary to some degree. Drawing with pencil is the most freeing, while using color is the most restrictive for me. I believe it’s this way because a wrong color mark can’t be undone quite like a pencil. Therefore, there’s less restrictions and more of a free-flowing technique. I don’t have to be scared to mess up a drawing. However, my pencil drawings are less popular because it seems in today’s art world….big, bold and colorful is what people desire. Although, I refuse to follow the herd just to make a few more bucks. I love using graphite with all my heart because it’s the most “me” I can be. If I’m not following that inherent instinct to create what I want to create….am I truly an Artist?

More of Casey Promise:

Website: www.CaseyPromise.com

FOUR

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Dear Readers,

Welcome to our fourth issue of NeurodivergART!

It seems that literature and arts magazines are becoming extinct, both paper and online versions. The internet offers so many opportunities for artists to share their work: social media, blogs, self-publishing, online shops. This has changed the literary and art world. No longer do writers and artists have to go through a submissions process where editors are the gatekeepers into the publishing world.

So why does NeurodivergART exist?

I launched this magazine for several reasons:

1). We want to create a community by offering a place where multiple, individual artists’ work is celebrated, recognized, and brought together. We want to build a network of international artists. We live far away from each other and many of us are isolated, working from home. NeurodivergART hopes to be a meeting ground, a place where artists discover each other and connect.

2).  Too often, part of being neurodivergent is being misunderstood by others. We offer a space where neurodivergent artists can share their perspectives and have them be understood and where readers can see perspectives that reflect their own experiences, allowing them to feel understood. 

3). We want to promote neurodivergent artists’ work! We know there are lots of options, but we are one more resource, a resource that 100% supports artists and their endeavors. We have modified the traditional submissions process to make it more straightforward and efficient. We post links to any online sites per artists’ requests. We publish Artist Notes written by the artists themselves.

And we have future plans for this magazine.

Our ultimate goal is to receive a grant so we can [back]pay our contributors, finance the website (currently out-of-pocket), and pay our staff (currently volunteers), in that order. To apply for this grant, we need to establish our magazine over the course of a year.

We cannot exist without submissions. Any pieces artists share online are pieces artists can submit to us! The process can be so rewarding — we love what we do here at NeurodivergART, especially working with artists to support their vision.

We also know it can be physically and emotionally overwhelming to submit, so if we can help you in any way, please contact us at neurodivergart@gmail.com and we will be happy to assist you.

And

please enjoy, please submit, and please share.

Thank you and with warmest regards,

Saraswati Chand
June 2019

FEATURED ARTISTS

Casey Promise

Susanne Winters

 

 

 

Melissa Colleen Pinson

Watercolor of pine forest and northern lights in purple-blue night sky.

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.

Watercolor painting with orangey-red sky and silhouette of desert with seven cacti.

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.

Watercolor of night sky with silhouette of cacti and profile of bobcat. The bobcat is large as a mesa and is looking at a large moon.

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.

Artist Notes:

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. 

Instagram: @my_heart_paints_the_stars

Mads Johan Øgaard

Man standing with numbers pouring out of his mouth and circling his body in a storm.

Dyscalculexic Pain — When numbers and time become too much to handle, but you still have to face them in everyday life, it hurts physically.

A human floating in the air with white wings made of paper forming the shape of a heart. The human is holding a glowing book.

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!

Human with blue wings slumped on sidewalk with sign reading "To Smart for the Society". There is a hat next to the sign and the number 2703 on the human's shirt.

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!

 

Artist Notes:

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 

Website: https://www.madsjohanogaard.com/ 
Deviantart (online portfolio): https://madsjohanogaard.deviantart.com/
ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/madsjohanogaard
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madsjohanogaard/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadsJohanOgaard
Facebook (art): https://lnkd.in/dVKymRj
Youtube: https://goo.gl/5ZsSMN  

 

 

THREE

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Dear Readers,

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.” 
― Beverley Nichols, A Thatched Roof

This is how Autism Awareness makes me feel about April:

“April. Month of dust and lies.” 
― Naguib Mahfouz, 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.

So …

Please enjoy, please submit, and please share.

Thank you and with warmest regards,

Saraswati Chand
May 2019

FEATURED ARTISTS

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”.