Continuing my exploration with toys and with different media, I found an old toy that my late grandfather bought for my son when he was a baby, 13 years ago. It is a little blue, soft toy of a character called Iggle Piggle, from a programme called In the Night Garden.
I chose it, as it has sentimental value for myself. My grandfather died when my son was 3 years old. I treasure it, and it brings back fond memories, of both my baby son, and my grandad.
I started drawing the toy in blue oil pastel, darker shades then moving onto midtones and highlights, with various shades. It looked rather ordinary and characterless.
I then added the black around the peripherals, but then the thought of my son’s autism came to mind. I thought about how it put limitations upon him, especially his social interaction with people.
I decided I wanted to represent his autism through this drawing. The Iggle Piggle represented my son and the fact that emotionally he is at a very young age. I thought about the limitations that his autism placed upon him, especially on his social interaction, and to me this felt like being trapped in his own skin. So I drew the black lines circling his body, to represent this feeling of imprisonment.
I drew in yellow around his head, as he is very intelligent, and yellow is a colour that symbolises learning and thinking, in my mind, anyhow. I added yellow splatters of acrylic ink, and black splashes too, to represent the battle between his intellect and his autism.
I feel that I managed to express my feelings and my son’s feelings and experience through this drawing. It is expressive rather than technical.
The process was gradual, with ideas formulating during the drawing, and me acting upon them. It felt like an evolving process, and I felt alive, and as thought the art is alive.
It tells a story, and I hope that the viewer, knowing a little about my son, will be able to see the message I intended to convey. This feeling of being trapped by a neurological condition.
My son is not disabled, he is bright and articulate. His brain is just differently wired, and he has difficulty in social situations. I hope one day he will be able to break free.