An ongoing visual. Wrongly, from a very young age my impression of being deaf and hard of hearing was viewed and internalized as a major impairment and disability. I absolutely disagree with my past self, and the assessment that the ever so young me had made. The confused little guy who made this decision was pretty much only 5-years-old. How could he have known better at that time, he couldn’t have. How many other deaf and hard of hearing people also fell into this belief system as children as they witnessed their fellow classmates bullied and picked on simply because they were deaf or hard of hearing. Maybe you had a different experience, but the sum total was the installation of fear. The fear that caused you to hide. Was 5-year-old me most afraid of being deaf or afraid of being bullied and labeled as different? I wonder, as I reflect, (and dig deeper into child psychology) how many other children went into unconscious hiding and denial, fearful of becoming the next victim of the bully’s prey and or labeling of being disabled? Where are those children now if those experiences still remain unexpressed and buried alive inside of them? I wonder. My unexpressed fear evolved into a split life of being deaf when I was alone while faking not to be when I was not. I had to own this and take responsibility for the choices I made, even the unconscious ones created as that 5-year-old boy. I am ready and happy to discuss and share the “how’s and why’s” about my experiences.
I believe there is value in sharing one’s story of overcoming fears. Of course, this is my own personal journey, but I know I am not alone. Writing, reflecting, writing some more and producing art works around the subject has been a great vehicle of communication and expression. It is the most meaningful body of work that I have created to date. It is the action I needed to begin the changes and transitions in my life. The trained artist in me attempts to avoid the words “art & therapy” in the same sentence, but this too is an outdated thought that I picked up from someone or something that isn’t me. The process is a form of therapy. I see no reason to separate them. I see a method that helps me assert myself and grow. Personal responsibility is empowerment. It is easier said than done and believe me, in this case it has been a lifetime of 1 step forward, 20 steps back. I know that I can play a role in helping others who are deaf, hard of hearing or both. I can also help and inspire hearing people to learn and understand what it is like to be deaf and hard of hearing. I can help by becoming a better communicator of what I need. As I learn more and more ASL each day I can share what I learn with those I encounter. This ranges from family, friends, colleagues, students and my fellow human beings who I have not yet had the pleasure to meet. This inspires me.
2018, Digital Illustrations, Digital Art, Animated GIFs & Video. A continued series of manipulated images and re-compositions. The variations of each piece show the process of how the works displayed are visual representations for the missing of sounds, words and overall communication. They are intended to be both subtle, confusing and difficult to follow. A representation of the daily life I experience between the world of the hearing and the non.
Through the eyes of a child,
seeing unaware of the missing sounds.
A series of repetitive actions and the behaviors observed,
the rituals of the alphas.
An acute visual awareness to the reactions of those involved,
activating simultaneous perceptual contrasts of engagement.
Acute visual noticeability to the facial expressions, gestures and body language,
while low sound frequencies murmur, missing, absent.
Defaulting, unconsciously to a visual conversion of emotional blueprints,
placed into the new interior folder titled “fear”.