“Autistic art” describes art made by autistic people. Despite the stereotype that autistics are the closest humans can come to emotionless robots, many autistic people enjoy colorful and elaborate powers of imagination. It’s even been posited that humanity’s first artists could have been autistic.
I enjoy looking at autistic art. Every artist has their unique style and imagination, and yet much of it feels so familiar to the way I see the world.
As I’ve explored autistic art, I’ve noticed commonalities in the way many autistic people produce art. I believe that this is based on fundamental traits of how we see the world. I’d like to share these thoughts of mine with you.
These common threads are:
- Beauty in repetition
- Attention to detail
- Bright colors
It doesn’t describe all autistic art, of course, but I do find that many pictures by autistic people include some or all of these traits.
As I go over each trait, I’m going to pull examples from work displayed online. Click on a picture or its caption to see the work in detail.
Beauty in repetition
Autistics are known for “repetitive behavior” (like walking in circles or rocking back and forth) and attention to patterns. Similarly, patterns blossom in many examples of autistic art.
Attention to detail
Autistic people are known for being detail-oriented, admiring a tree before noticing the forest. Similarly, many works of art by autistic artists capture minute details. An autistic person can work on a single project for hours, long after most neurotypicals would get tired and move on.
Autistic artists often use bright, saturated colors. I don’t know why, but my guess is that it’s related to the effect described by the intense world theory of autism: we experience the world as a colorful and sometimes overwhelming place, and bright colors better describe our experiences.
I can’t say for sure, though. All I know is that bright colors look cheerful to me, and I like cheerful things. (I’m since trying to tone it down a little because I’ve learned that some people get headaches from looking at too many bright colors.)
Autistic art is a diverse and beautiful genre. Every artist, no matter whether they’ve practiced for days or decades, offers a unique style.
Just in case it isn’t obvious, I’d like to point out to my autistic readers that you aren’t a “bad” artist if you don’t match all of patterns. Some of the colorful artwork here is less detailed. Some of the detailed art uses a more subdued color palette. Some art contains little repetition.
My art isn’t always detailed or repetitive. (Though it’s usually colorful because I like it that way.) But I do find it interesting to examine how my artwork expresses my feelings and experiences.
I hope you enjoyed looking at this beautiful artwork today.