17, 2012

These were made by Christophe Pillault, an Iranian-French painter. I’ve put them in this particular tumblr for two main reasons.

One, as an autistic man who can’t talk, walk, or use his hands for more functional things, he’s exactly the kind of person who gets considered an empty shell. These paintings prove that wrong.

Two, they show a very sensory way of perceiving the world that is incredibly familiar to me. If your dominant system of understanding things works this way, you’re very likely to be considered a nonperson as well unless you’re either very lucky or able to switch into a more intellect-based way of responding. People have said of me, and doubtless of Pillault, that I’m unable to experience the richness of life. I’ve found that my paintings, more than any words I could write, demonstrate the extreme richness of my primary way of perceiving the world. As far as I know, Pillault doesn’t have the advantage of being able to type, so his paintings are the only way most people will ever see the richness of his life.

And besides that, I just absolutely love any art that evokes my main way of perceiving things.

One caution though: Please don’t like these paintings because they’re really good for an autistic guy. That’s insulting. His paintings are good because they’re good.

And nobody should have to be put into the position of proving their personhood through writing, painting, or any other activity. I know too well what it’s like to see people relax when they realize I’m “in there”. Or to have people praise me lavishly for anything I try to do: The message I get is “that’s really good for a retard”. I don’t know anybody who likes being told that kind of thing, and that’s unfortunately behind a lot of people’s amazement at what disabled people do.

I know that as an autistic artist, sometimes it becomes AUTISTIC (in huge letters) artist (in tiny letters). Or “what an inspiration” (eurrrgh). The only reasons I’m bringing disability into these paintings are that I wanted to show that there’s more to demonstrating that we are whole human beings than just writing, and I wanted to show a good example of an underrated perceptual experience.

But always understand that we shouldn’t have to demonstrate our personhood at all. We are people. End of story. But in this messed up world, any one of us has to take any route we can possibly take, even as we are wishing we didn’t have to. And lacking speech and writing, people can still find ways of saying we exist, explaining how we view the world, and expressing the same fire of creativity that motivates any artist.

[Image description: Two acrylic paintings, each of two stylized people using various shades of blue. In one, they are standing close, one kneeling a little and leaning in with clasped hands, the other leaning back. In the other, they are touching near the waist, and curved around in a loving fashion.]


Beyond Empty Shells


Documenting some of the worst of disability prejudice -- the idea that some of us are "empty shells" -- and the reality behind that illusion.

Expect awful, nightmarish quotes, as well as wonderful quotes from people who really get things right, and interesting quotes from people who make you think..

For more details, see About.

People I Follow

  • nicocoer
  • withasmoothroundstone


SMB-SWIRLY is designed by Smallbit dot Net. For other themes, feel free to browse from here. If you have any question regarding the theme functionalities, please refer to theme manual.

This particular theme was modified by the user, so aspects of it may not accurately reflect the original theme.