My brain is getting in the way of thinking.

I have difficulty working with music or sound around me.  Or rather, I have difficulty conceptualizing... once a sketch is down and I'm onto the grunt work of rendering, I can listen to anything.  This is something I am just realizing.

Despite five years of art college, it took until now for me to recognize this pattern in myself.  I honestly thought that the reason I tended to do most of my work in silence was because I was too lazy to turn on music, or an audio book until I was several hours deep into a project.  I also though that the reason that I didn't like spending time in the noisy Print studio at school was because I am antisocial. 

It took until I was living with Evan full-time, working in the same studio space as him for the problem to truly surface.  He loves music, and works best with his MP3 collection, a podcast, or an internet radio station playing in the background.  He does a lot of insanely tedious work for a graphic design firm, so he seriously needs it.

I know why this is, too.  I have Asperger's Syndrome (as I've probably mentioned before) and tend to automatically visualize everything.  If there is a music track playing, my mind is working to visually map that song, with colour, imagery, and geometric shapes.  If someone's speaking, my mind is creating a tableau based on whatever they're talking about, overlaid with a running transcript written in a pleasing serif font.  This ties in with the synesthesia so common in us Aspies, apparrently.  Also, sometimes I just hallucinate stuff, for no other good reason!  My brain does not like to think that I am lonely.

The net effect of this sort of all of this?  I become almost blind when there's too much sound going on around me.  I'm seeing what I'm hearing, and I'm finding it almost impossible to focus on whatever is in front of me.  So even if I'm doing fine, inking and listening to music, someone talking to me over that can make my entire workspace go invisible. 
I love working in coffee shops, because they remove me from the constant temptation of internet time-wastage, while also getting me out of the house.  This is where I write best.  Unless it is too loud there. This is highly frustrating.

The best solution I can think of is to find myself a quiet, private place to get started on my work in.  Where that is, I have no clue, as I live in a townhouse with no backyard to speak of.  Anyone else out there with similar issues, and perhaps suggestions?


The Wandering Brain // Tracy Lucas said...

Oh my God... a twin.

I stumbled across your blog (specifically, if you're interested, through the artwork for GUD magazine, Baby Edward) and was browsing through a couple of the posts and found this.


ALL of it.

The writing, the quirky sense of humor, the crap jobs we take along the way (though I've finally made it out of those, and you will, too!), etc... we have a lot in common.

And then -- THEN -- I read this post about having AS.

Now it's just getting creepy! :)

Yes, yes, and YES, have all these issues, and yes, constantly at the same time to the point of chaos.

The visuals are less of a problem for me than sounds; I've got a touch of synesthesia (more so when I was a teenager), but my main gig is oversensitive hearing. (No really, it's freakish. I can hear my husband's car pulling into the subdivision, not just onto our road or into our driveway.)

There's a novel I could write here, but it's your comment box, so that'd be rude.

Lemme just say you're not alone in this stuff, and your artwork is awesome.

Very cool to have seen this!

The Magnetic Crow said...

Thank you!
Both for the compliments on my artwork (:D) and the shared perspective.
Living with (sometimes I think of it as 'through', as in peering through an animated stained glass window) Asperger's can be interesting, but also isolating...
While my friends try to be sympathetic to my difficulties, it's hard for them to be empathetic. None of them are Aspies themselves, so they have no experience with the symptoms.
It's wonderful to encounter someone who's been there too.