Artistic Identity

In previous posts I’ve mentioned that I do photography and field recording. Each of these can be considered an artistic pursuit. I don’t think I’m there yet with field recording, but I think I’ve been there with photography for a while. A good bit of the photography I do, especially recently, has been what I like to call documentation photography – technical illustration, PR photography, or documenting the state of a system before work is done on it. But the bulk of the photography I do qualifies as artistic expression.

Unlock the Phone
Unlocking the Phone

I’ve seen statements from a number of artists who are autistic, or schizophrenic, or bipolar, or even ticcers like me, who describe how their art is impacted by these things, but I have a hard time seeing it in my own art. If you put my photographs next to those of someone without TS, you might be able to say, “That’s his,” or “That’s hers,” based on style, but I’m hard-pressed to look at mine and say, “That’s clearly a manifestation of the TS mindset.”

Can We Get There By Laser Light?
Can We Get There By Laser Light?

Which makes me wonder: Does my TS impact my art at all? Or am I too artistically inhibited to allow it to come to the fore? Is there some third possibility I’m not seeing? Does a person’s art have to focus on their condition in order for them to say, “My condition impacts how I approach art”? Or can it simply be something that lurks in the background and comes out when the artist goes out to play?

Sand Play for Two
Sand Play

I know my OCD has an impact on the technical aspects of how I go about doing photography. Years of doing large format film photography and reveling in the meticulous, painstaking approach it requires led me to the conclusion that a certain amount of obsessive mindset can be a good thing. But that doesn’t mean it has an impact on why I do it or what I photograph.

No Need For Shoes

No Need for Shoes

I may have found a clue in the statement of a group whose goal is to, “Help artists express their angst and spread awareness and knowledge to others through the many mediums of art.” The problem is, I don’t consider myself an angsty person, and “angst” is not how I’d describe my relationship with Tourette’s Syndrome or art. Curious? Driven? Odd at times? Yes. But angst? Not really.

If anything, I do art so I can play. Like any game, sometimes it’s intense and sometimes it’s whimsical. Sometimes it’s neither. I know my art does absolutely nothing to raise awareness about TS or OCD, but that’s not its goal. Maybe that’s what I’m missing.

Fine Guidance System

Fine Guidance System

And maybe that’s ok. Maybe it’s ok simply to do art as a way of saying, “The world? It’s not what you think.”

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