Introduction, sharing some of my experiences

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vividgroovy
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20 Dec 2018, 7:28 am

I'm 37 years old. I haven't been diagnosed with Asperger's, but based on what I've read, I think I may fall within the spectrum. “Wrong Planet” certainly describes how I feel much of the time. I'm also fairly certain I have OCD. I was just reading some other people's experiences online, and I thought it might be helpful to share some of mine.


I'm obsessed with:

- Disneyland. So much so, that I've had recurring dreams about trying to get there since I was a child.
- Disney animated films.
- Anthropomorphic animal (furry) artwork. Particularly muscular superheroes and villains. Characters who are intimidating, physical, aggressive – everything I'm not. I'm an artist, and this is mostly what I draw.
- Musical theater.
- Comedy review videos on YouTube. I listen to these while I do my artwork, as it helps to have a distraction.



My artistic obsession is extremely difficult for other people to understand. To most people around here, art is, at most, a hobby. My parents are more understanding than most people about this.

On my days off from my job, I feel overwhelming pressure to work on my artwork. Having to do anything else on these days seems like a threat to that.

One thing I always require is a glass of water or soda nearby while I work. Sometimes, this drink will remain untouched for hours, something my stepfather loves to mock. However, if I have nothing to drink, I'll become unbearably thirsty. I'll think, “I should get up and get a drink.” Then, I'll see something in my drawing that I want to change, and I'll think “right after I do this.” These thoughts can continue on a loop for lengthy periods of time, with me neither able to fully concentrate on what I'm doing, nor pull myself away.

I have ambitions of writing novels and picture books, making animated films, etc. However, I usually wind up working on smaller, easier-to-complete individual pictures. I enjoy working on these, but I'm frustrated that years are passing by, and I'm not accomplishing anything larger. This is where having a concrete deadline would actually be helpful.

I am almost constantly frustrated, in general.

Time seems to move extremely quickly to me. This can be a benefit, as even my workdays seem to go by very fast. But much of the time, I imagine my life is an out-of-control locomotive, speeding down the track, as a crew mindlessly shovels more and more fuel into the engine. My days off seem to last a few minutes, and then it's time to go to bed for work again. (As it is right as I'm writing this.)



kraftiekortie
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20 Dec 2018, 8:56 am

Welcome to WrongPlanet.

If anybody finds your "obsessions" off-putting, they would be being ridiculous. You're a grown person, and you're not harming anybody.

At least you're not into mass murders or something like that....



AnonymousAnonymous
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20 Dec 2018, 3:06 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet! :)


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BTDT
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20 Dec 2018, 3:16 pm

Welcome!

Sorry to say that an autism diagnoses won't help you explain your situation to "normal people." Unless you think you are like that Sheldon character on The Big Bang Theory or like Rainman.

But, it can certainly help to read about other people with similar issues, even though they aren't exactly the same as yours. It is more of a spectrum as it is hard to get two people to fit in the same "box"



zcientist
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20 Dec 2018, 5:41 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet and having things you're interested in is likely healthier than not having interests.


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jimmy m
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20 Dec 2018, 10:21 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet. Many Aspies have a special interest or as time progresses, multiple special interest. Those are our passions.

Some people can combine their passion with their career But for many, that is not the case. I work to support myself and my family. But I also work to support my special interests, my passions. It all works out in the end.

You said that you had recurring dreams about trying to get to Disneyland since you were a child. It almost sounds like you never went. You are not located that far away. If you haven't gone, you should follow that dream.

In Florida one of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World was called Disney Hollywood Studio. At the Studio they had individuals actually creating the cells that go into animations. I found it exciting. I thought that Disneyland also had something similar, but that may have been several decades ago, perhaps before you were born.


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vividgroovy
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21 Dec 2018, 4:44 am

Thanks, everybody, for your welcome and encouragement. I was feeling kind of down last night because I was disappointed in how little I'd gotten done on my days off, so it helped to vent.

jimmy m wrote:
Some people can combine their passion with their career But for many, that is not the case. I work to support myself and my family. But I also work to support my special interests, my passions. It all works out in the end.


I work retail for a living, which has very little to do with any of my interests. However, I'm also a freelance theater critic for a local paper.

jimmy m wrote:
You said that you had recurring dreams about trying to get to Disneyland since you were a child. It almost sounds like you never went. You are not located that far away. If you haven't gone, you should follow that dream.


Actually, I've been to Disneyland so many times that I've lost count. Last month, I actually did something I've never done before. I went by myself on the train. I never learned to drive, so I've always relied on someone else to take me before. It was kind of nice to do it independently.

In the dreams, I'm either unable to Disneyland, or they've built a Disneyland in my hometown, but I still never get in, or I'm there, but everything is different than in real life. I think it's kind of a metaphor for my general frustration.

Quote:
In Florida one of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World was called Disney Hollywood Studio. At the Studio they had individuals actually creating the cells that go into animations. I found it exciting. I thought that Disneyland also had something similar, but that may have been several decades ago, perhaps before you were born.


I still haven't been to Walt Disney World, but I remember watching TV shows about the opening of the studio park when I was a kid. Some of the great Disney animated films of the 1990s and 2000s were done there, but they no longer do much actual film production in the park. They have an attraction at Disney California Adventure where you can learn how to draw a Disney character in a quick 20 minute lesson, which is fun.


kraftiekortie wrote:
If anybody finds your "obsessions" off-putting, they would be being ridiculous. You're a grown person, and you're not harming anybody....


Luckily, most people have positive reaction when they find out I'm an artist. It's more the sense of urgency I feel when I haven't gotten to draw in a while, I think that might be less understandable to other people.



KomoDomo
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21 Dec 2018, 2:19 pm

Welcome to the forum. I've also had a passion for art, and used to even want to go into animation, but it was a bit of a pain to study for. The only place to learn for it here was quite far from home, fees were quite expensive, along with a few other problems. So I've had to start looking for a steadier means of finding a source of income, and I've found English teaching to be suitable for that. I'll still make drawings every now and then, but even as a personal hobby it's kind of faded into the background for the time being.



vividgroovy
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25 Dec 2018, 4:52 am

I've thought about going back to school for either animation or English. I have an associate's degree in English. I'm discouraged by a few things. If I have to work and go to school at the same time, I'm afraid I'll have no time for my personal art. Also, I know a few people who did get higher degrees and are still working jobs similar to mine. As mentioned above, I do freelance writing for the local paper. At one point, I thought that might eventually turn into a steady job, but none of the papers I wrote for ever hired me on staff. Before I was hired at my current job, it was even a bit of a hindrance to getting other entry-level jobs, as the people interviewing me were puzzled at the idea that someone would get paid to write. I was once asked "what does a...freelance writer...DO?!" during a telephone "pre-interview" for a minimum wage job at Pier 1 Imports. I didn't get the interview.

Generally speaking, I'm good at doing what I want to do, and pretty good at doing what I have to do (like going to work.) It's the stuff that I "really should" do, like going back to school, that I tend to let slide for a long time.



Black Spot
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26 Dec 2018, 7:01 am

Get the book Art & Fear. It's short and pretty cheap. It should help you understand where you are with your art and what you need to do to continue to grow etc.

Also joining an art forum is quite good for getting feedback, but you need to develop a thick skin. Artists, I've found, are pretty understanding and usually only want to help. http://www.conceptart.org/forums/ is pretty good; it's a lot quieter than it used to be. You'll find me there, just don't get sucked into the discord group as it doesn't help.



vividgroovy
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02 Jan 2019, 6:29 am

^

Thanks for the tips. I joined the Concept Art forum, and I'll probably post something on there soon.

I have a fairly thick skin, but as a critic myself, I'm often critical of how art is criticized online. Most of my experience is in the furry art community, and I've found that critiques frequently focus on the technical aspects of artwork -- accurate anatomy, lighting, etc. Of course, those things are very important, but they tend to ignore things like character, concept, creativity, etc. They seem to assume that every artist's goal is photorealism. I wrote a short story about this, with my artist/superhero beaver character.

Ideally, I'd like to have time to do the artwork I enjoy for fun *and* time to experiment with more ambitious work as well. The issue is that much of my time is taken up by my retail job and my (undiagnosed) OCD. The job is both boring and stressful. So is the OCD, which is worse on my days off, as if it's trying to keep me from doing what I want. And as mentioned, time in general just seems to move ridiculously fast to me, especially when I'm working on my artwork. If I choose to spend my day off working on a larger project that may ultimately go nowhere, it could be a week before I have any significant time to work on my artwork again.



spacecat
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02 Jan 2019, 4:05 pm

Greetings. Without knowing what you say you have OCD for (everyone is different), it's hard to advise specifically.

Is it possible to channel the energy of your OCD into a bigger project? I say this, because from my own understanding of my only OCD quirk, it seems that the OCD action is usually because of fear or distrust of the self and/ or the environment. Stay with me for a moment, I have a point! :nerdy: The ability to create art in any form (writing, visual, etc.) is on the opposing end of the spectrum of fear and distrust... but by virtue of that, they are essentially the same energy- two sides of the same coin, you know? Sometimes, it's possible with the power of intention to switch the expression of that same energy- that would habitually/ unconsciously revert to fear/distrust/OCD actions to creating a profound work of art instead. You just must allow for the possibility within yourself and realize that it's only too late to start a project or a new life when you're dead. :skull:

So, there's that. As for your having to work other jobs, too, all I can say is that maybe sit down at the beginning of your 'free moment' and plan out only what you hope to accomplish in whatever amount of time you have. Make sure that what you plan to do dovetails from what you did on the project the last time. The inability to complete a big project that has to span over several sessions usually also involves fear and distrust. It sounds like you are able to spend 'a week' devoted to a single project and complete a lot of product in that time, so it's not that you can't focus- you can, so don't use that as an excuse. It seems that after you get a breather and then look back on the work, you might just be distrustful of it or fear that it's not good enough or what you had envisioned, etc. I'm not saying any of this is true, and only you know your own situation.

You might also want to read The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. I found the first few chapters to be especially helpful, myself. Good luck and welcome to the forum! :heart:


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vividgroovy
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04 Jan 2019, 7:50 am

^

Thanks for the response :).

My schedule changes every week, but in some cases, I may have one day off and then work 5 or 6 days in a row. I'm only able to get a significant amount of artwork done on my days off.

I don't know how to reverse the energy of my anxiety. I have tried to use my experiences with it to inform some of the stores I'm trying to write.

For a long time, my art style was more surreal, abstract and flat (without realistic dimensions or lighting). When I started out on a project, I might not even know what I was going to draw, or sometimes, a drawing could start as one thing and turn into something else. I enjoyed working this way, and I produced some artwork I still like. Eventually, I began drawing with a bit more structure. I don't feel like going back to the old style. It seems like in order for my work to have structure and hold my interest, it needs to relate to one of my obsessions, as listed above. Currently, most of my projects involve muscular furry superheroes. I'm also working on a design for a non-existent Monorail station at Disney California Adventure. And again, I enjoy drawing all of this. I don't mean to focus on the negative here, but that's what I feel I need to deal with.

My attempts at writing fantasy novels were heavily focused on showcasing how incredible the magical creatures were. In one case, I realized only one of my characters cared about the plot. So I tried to make her the main character...and I realized that I couldn't relate to her, because *I* didn't care about the plot.

Another time, I tried to write a short story about my experience in an acting class when I was a teenager, and I realized it wasn't a story...it was a critique of the class. The short stories I have finished generally involve some sort of genre satire (this is another form of critique). This is partly because fiction is what inspires strong, impassioned opinions in me.

Or else, the story is focused on an action scene with the furry superheroes and villains, which has a natural climax to build to (when one of them wins.) Outside of this, my characters tend to stand around and trade exposition about their backstories, not getting anywhere.

My OCD affects me in various ways, and it certainly is based in fear. I'm aware that it's often irrational fear in my case. It's particularly bad in the bathroom. If there is any sort of distraction, I can't proceed. If I accidentally step on a droplet of water, I can't proceed until my foot is dry. If there's something white on the floor, like a scrap of toilet paper, it draws my eye, and I can't proceed until I get it out of my sight. And so on. On workdays, I have to be to work on time, so I'm somewhat able to extract myself. However, on my days off, my OCD can sometimes hold me hostage, under threat of distracting me all day. This eats up more of my time, so it's sometimes very late before I can get started.

The bathroom thing is partly because, for many years, the other people in my life seemed to interrupt me every time I went in there. I begged them to stop, but they continued doing it anyway. Once, my stepfather spent several minutes outside the bathroom door repeatedly trying to tell me about the death of actor Tony Randall (whose career I never followed), never taking the hint that I wasn't answering him for a reason. Years have passed since then, but I think that still affects me.

People in my life who tried to control me also tried to take my artwork away in one way or another. While again that was many years ago, I think that affects the urgency I feel to draw when I have the chance. For example, I had a very controlling girlfriend, who scheduled virtually every minute of our lives. Just to give you an idea: Once, I was one minute late meeting up with her, and she said that this made her think I was dead, and that that was my fault. So one time, I got her to schedule a date and time to sketch. That time finally arrived, and there we were, sitting on the couch, each with our sketchbooks. I went to start drawing. She flipped to the back of her sketchbook, and said she had written a song lyric in there, which was now missing. She insisted we stop immediately and not draw until we had found the page with her song lyric. I went ahead and drew a unicorn that was symbolically trapped in multiple cubes. She was furious at me for going ahead and drawing when she hadn't permitted it.