The visual development of the artists living with autism


What caught you in the world of people living with autism?

Maybe because I am quite familiar with the shocking situation that I do not understand what is going on around me, even though I do my best to understand. The state of autism is too complex to describe in a couple of words, but for me it means the state of “strong misunderstanding” and all the reactions rooting from it, that we are familiar with from our experiences.

Every moment of life is a series of dynamically changing images and events with a whole lot of contents that are hard to interpret because it is conceptual or emotional. We all know the feeling when a handsome boy smiles at you at a party, then shows his back and just stands there with his fellows with his hands in his pockets. It starts throbbing in your mind: what is it now?! You start analyzing him smiling at you, etc. Or let’s take text messages. I am sure all of us has at least once started analyzing one tiny little sentence from someone emotionally important. What does it mean for me now? And if it means that, what shall I write back? Then I text back and no response comes. I read my answer again and start thronging. Did I write something stupid and should have written something else, or with other words. Or should I have sustained and not responded at all? More

One might think that people with autism realize the joy and success of leaving a mark when drawing, making pictures; however motivation is mostly not provided by that. When we first met, I was warned about this fact by Hajnalka Tarr – initiator of the sessions, also artist and art leader of the program. She also said that people with autism do not have conscious purposes of expression but they have such strongly consequential language of form that lets us conclude so.

At the time of my first visit to the home it was salient how strong visual expressive skills are shown by their pictures. I found it interesting because many of them are characterized by not using the ordinary language of communication: speech. I found that besides their specific interests, the most common characteristic of the drawings of autistic people is the presence of repetition either in shapes, motives or the method of creation.