How might you see the world around you differently? How might you express what you see? Sean teaches a comedy writing sketch class out of our home. One of his students May brought over these incredible sculptures and gave one to Sean as a gift from her nephew, Brian. Made entirely out of bag ties and paint, these are Brian's sculptures, or twisting as Brian calls it. SERIOUSLY. Can you believe the intricacy and detail with which these are created? I mean just look at that Converse high top.
Oh and on a side note, Brian has autism. I hesitated to even use the word Autism in the title of this post, as I know that Brian wants to be known for his art and not his autism. But I chose to title it this way, to make the point that if someone can pursue their gift within a challenging condition that many do not understand, then the rest of us really have no excuse. I have very little experience with this condition, other than having one friend who's young son is on the high spectrum of Autism and responding really well to therapy, and watching the movie Temple Grandin about Temple Grandin which was a beautiful film by the way. What Temple has accomplished with her life ~ incredible. My understanding is that many of the children coming into the world today are being diagnosed as Autistic, and that there is a lot of research being done and confusion about what exactly causes it?
As May and I were talking more about her experience raising Brian, as she is his full time care taker, what came up again and again is how the school system could not support him. I know that autism presents it share of challenges but if we can't have an education system that knows how to support someone who is different?
Clearly Brian is a thoughtful, incredibly talented artistic person. Each of the characters he sculpts are created from his imagination and I think May was telling me that they all have their own backstory. When you take one home with you, they come carefully encased in this translucent cases, so you can see them in full action.
Looking at work like this, from someone that society does not seem to know how to support, got me thinking about why everyone still needs to be in the same mold. It seems like we are only comfortable with people when they fit in the box that we've all decided is NORMAL. What is normal anyway? And if we aren't there yet, embracing the differences in others, we need to be soon. I think that the world and many of the people in it are trying to teach us, slowly but surely, that normal exists within the uniqueness of each one of us.
As artists we know this. That is why we've chosen this path. I'm honestly not interested in being like everyone else or following what everyone else is doing. I want to make my own way and explore territory i.e. thought that hasn't been explored yet. However the tendency for me to want to be accepted and conform into the 'normal' that society set for me growing up, still exists. I have to remind myself daily that I am whole and good pursuing my path on my own terms.
When I saw Brian's art I knew I had to share it with you, not only because it is amazing but because it is the perfect symbol for what might be possible when we embrace who we are, just as we are and create anyway...when we step out of the box.
If you are interested in learning more about Brian and his work you can visit his facebook page. He does sell his sculptures. To purchase one or find out when and where he will be showing next you can contact Brian via email: Brian.Tolley[at}yahoo.com. Last we spoke he was having a regular booth on Sundays at the Hollywood Farmer's Market here in L.A.
Here's to a lot of continued success for Brian and his art!!