Sharing my struggles

Yesterday, I was absolutely taken aback by a comment I received on one of my twitter status updates.

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

I had posted a mini rant about my frustrations with my art and my mental health struggles. It felt liberating to be able to “clear the air” and be transparent.

Nowhere in my rant did I ask a single question. Not. One.

I had a few positive, supportive comments from fellow Autistics and followers of my page, which I was grateful for.

However, there was one person who decided to go off on me and write an entire paragraph about how I need to stop trying to sell my art, that I need to work on my mental health and that I clearly didn’t have it under control. Also, that I shouldn’t be posting these questions and not expect a response. There was no question. I wasn’t asking for advice.

I was pretty upset, shaken and I felt like this person had the clear intent of kicking me while I was down.

I posted a couple tweets which seem to be going viral. I penned them right after this person decided to delete their comments.

stig·ma/ˈstiɡmə/

noun

1.a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”synonyms:shame, disgrace, dishonor;

If you’re looking to end the stigma of mental health, giving someone unwanted feedback and being insensitive is the absolute 100% WORST WAY TO GO ABOUT IT.

if you’re reading this and you’re going through something, don’t ever feel like you deserve condescending comments & unwarranted advice.

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New ART!

I just listed this piece of original art on my etsy store! Part of the proceeds go to help the cats in my community.

New Things This Week!

  1. Article Published
  2. New Video

3. Etsy Listing

Ableist art models don’t help us Autistic artists

I wanted to share an article I wrote for THE ART OF AUTISM! Check it out.

Artist Margaux Wosk looks at different art models that actually hurt autistic artists  Ableist art models don’t help us Autistic artists

Please Share

Work is REALLY slow right now and I definitely could use some extra income..which gives you or someone you may know an opportunity to own some very unique art.

Etsy is here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/retrophiliac

Raising Funds & Selling Art!

Hi Everyone, I don’t ever mean to neglect my blog but i’ve had a lot going on. I had to have a heart rate monitor on for 24 hours, so that made me feel like I couldn’t get anything done. I also did a commission for a lady of her cat in a cup, so that felt exceptionally special to do.

I’ve been moody, as usual and I was considering a neurodiverse job placement agency which now seems to have undertones of being a bit scammy, as well as being involved in receiving funding from a local Autism organization that I have spoken out in the past.

So, obviously I need income – and so many people keep telling me to list my Cats in a Cup artwork on Etsy. Etsy, overall, hasn’t been to kind to me. In the long span of having it, i’ve only made 2 sales.

I listed this piece of art here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/710064441/calico-cat-in-a-tea-cup-original-art-by?ref=shop_home_active_1&frs=1

and I realize that yes, it’s 150 dollars. But you must understand why:

  1. The Etsy fees
  2. The Paypal fees
  3. Shipping + handling, this includes the cost for packaging the item + the shipping
  4. Donating a portion of the proceeds
  5. The cost of supplies
  6. My labour

As an Artist, it’s really hard to make a sale. It’s really hard to find places to actually sell my art and as i’ve said in the past, rejection is really exhausting.

So, if you see this piece of art and might like it, or know someone who does, please share my etsy link with them! Thanks so much.

An Autistics Guide To Corporate Social Responsibility

I want to reiterate that these are my own views and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.

You’ve probably noticed that my blog has critiqued certain sponsorships that I have found troublesome. I wanted to come up with something that would be a good, sharable reference point.

One :: Imagery & Colour Usage

If you want to create a favourable first impression, utilizing a puzzle piece and/or blue immediately raises red flags. Firstly, the image and colour combination evokes negative thoughts of Autism Speaks, which is known for their harmful PSAs, “Cure” culture and questionable distribution of funds. Secondly, The puzzle piece implies that there is something is missing or needs fixing.

Two :: Words/Terminology

When Autism is used as a negative or scare tactic, that is not considered to be favourable.

I  recently read the side of a case of beer and was appalled at the copy.

“Affected by Autism”, “have Autism” and my interaction with their social media team interjected the word awareness in to our conversation twice. I have also noticed that they switch from capitalizing Autism to not capitalizing it. There is no consistency. Other promotions have also used words like “hope” which is demeaning and not at all empowering.

Three :: Transparency

In reference to the case of beer, they mention things like “Autism now affects 1 in 68 children with boys being four times more likely to have autism than girls.  It is the fastest growing developmental disorder with 1% of the world’s population affected by Autism.” without citing any sources. They have also said “…remains dedicated to supporting Autism research in Canada.  Since 2012 more than $600,000 has been raised and donated towards better understanding Autism and how to effectively diagnose and treat the condition.” – this time they have left out exactly WHO is running this research. They have also failed to provide the information of what would be an effective way to diagnose and treat the condition.

Four :: Representation and consultation

When running a promotion: REPRESENTATION matters. Most of the companies I have reached out to have been individuals at the top of the business with an Autistic child. I have had some really negative interactions with affluent parents pledging money to Autism Speaks, business owners who run AUTISM AWARENESS promotions with a portion of the funds going to different organizations and companies running contests where they not only hire a non-Autistic artist, but they utilize the harmful imagery I mentioned in section 1.

If you want to do right by Autistic people, go on to twitter and search #ActuallyAutistic to see the voices of Autistics. You can also look up Neurodiversity and Neurodiversity consulting. You’ll find yourself someone who is incredibly qualified: an Autistic person.

It’s so important to embrace what Autistic people have to offer and this is the proper way of doing so – instead of creating a very offensive campaign.

Five :: Responding to Customer complains

If someone complains to you, instead of explaining yourself immediately, please listen. Please pledge to change and give ways you plan on improving the campaign if you choose to run it again. Understand that yes, if you have an Autistic child that they will grow in to an Autistic adult–We are some of your greatest resources. Don’t talk down to us. Don’t lessen our complaints with ableist speak. Listen. Commit to change.

Six :: Suggestions

A few things a business can do:

Canucks Autism Network

I tried to ignore the negative things they do and the incorrect language they use but I was confronted by them, in person and was completely blindsided that I would be in the same building as them.

I will give you some backstory—I participated in a “Youth with Autism” conference which already was problematic. I don’t believe I was made aware of the events name until late.

I got to the event and saw the Canucks Autism Network setting up their table. My heart sank.

They had plastic bracelets, pins and stickers to give away to the kids. That alone disturbed me: it’s a great way to further their message to unassuming children who don’t see anything else but free stuff. That way, their disgusting puzzle piece logo gets a much further reach. It’s almost like indoctrination.

At that point I started to feel sick and anxious.

I let one of the event coordinators aware of the fact that I was incredibly uncomfortable with them being there. I told her that their logo, the association with Autism Speaks and the use of incorrect language was not okay with me.

She assured me that they wouldn’t come in contact with me. I still didn’t want to be around them and I had a bad foreboding feeling. It lingered and seemed to be warranted.

I have instructions to the kids in the art room for the project I was leading. I saw the two CAN employees making their way in to the room. At this point I started to feel increasingly more uncomfortable. They continued to come closer to me.

Ryan Yao, who I was able to identify through LinkedIn, is the director of strategic partnerships at CAN. He is the one who approached me. I did not want to talk to him at all.

The conversation went something like this:

RYAN- So, you run art workshops?

ME – Well, I haven’t run one before. This is my first.

RYAN – Is this something you plan on continuing?

ME – Maybe next year for this event.

RYAN – Is it something you would be interesting in doing (with us)?

ME – It’s a conflict of interest because you’re associated with autism speaks.

RYAN – Oh, I understand.

Then he walked away.

I was so shaken up and it felt like the conversation lasted forever.

I have called them out multiple times prior to this on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

I really feel that it was unfair that I was subjected to being in the same place as them. Next time I participate in an event, I am going to make sure I am briefed on every detail possible so it does not happen again.

This is not the first time I have had a problem with the Canucks. Their eyewear sponsor, image optometry insults customers on yelp. It’s happened to me before. It’s incredibly contradictory to support Autistic children and be associated with a company that bullies people and continues to be unethical with their business practices.

To break it down:

1. they use improper language

2. They are associated with Autism Speaks

3. Their puzzle piece logo

4. Their AWARENESS campaign

5. Their blatant disregard for Autistic voices

Something needs to change. It’s very unfortunate that private organizations can regulate themselves. We need more government funding and better, more ethical practices that have Autistic people at the forefront.

I was on the radio today!

A dream came true of mine. I was on the radio on my favourite network, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). I met Gloria Macarenko and she was so lovely! I am a HUGE CBC fan and I couldn’t believe I got to go in the part of the building where they broadcast the news, both television and radio.

The radio program was all about a Youth with Autism conference taking place tomorrow and I will be running an Art workshop. This will be the first of it’s kind for me and hopefully not the last.

If you’re interested in hearing me on the radio, the link is here.

If you happen to be outside of Canada, you can always download a free VPN like ProtonVPN and set your location to Canada to be able to listen!

My favourite content on YouTube

I asked on my Facebook page if anyone was interested in having me share some of my favourite content on YouTube and seems like the answer was YES!

I have definitely found myself becoming increasingly bored at the content that Netflix and cable create. YouTube has been a great source of original content. These are in no particular order.

Dan Bell’s Dead Mall Series

Dan Bell is definitely a film maker who has carved out a niche: he finds dead and dying malls and captures it all on video. His narration provides the viewer with lots of information and trivia.

Degrassi Jr. High

Super 80’s, Jr. High School goodness. I am in awe of some of the clothes. It’s a peek in to what Canadian tv was like for teens. It definitely helped establish the franchise.

Rachel and Jun

Rachel and Jun live in Japan. Rachel is originally American and they share all kinds of cool tidbits about living in Japan and the differences in western culture. They also have very cute cats.

Defunctland

Defunctland is all about defunct theme parks and goes through what used to be and what didn’t work. It’s really interesting to me to learn about times gone by.

Alex Meyers

Alex Meyers provides the ultimate narration on shows and movies infused with perfect comedic timing. He breaks down character flaws and plot holes in a really creative, entertaining way.

Bright Sun Films

Bright Sun Films captures my interest in abandoned, bankrupt or cancelled changes to old properties – mainly hotels and amusement parks. It’s done in a way that you can’t help but want to watch more. Perfectly narrated and very interesting.

Barcroft TV

Barcroft TV is a channel with a lot of documentary style programming. They cover all kinds of different topics that deal with different lives and lifestyles at it’s core.

VICE

Vice is pretty much the millennials guide to news and entertainment features. They’re always updating and providing new content. I am really desiring more Oobah Butler content.


Justine Leconte officiell

Justine Leconte is a French fashion designer. She provides all kinds of information about clothing quality and what to look for when you’re shopping. She is a wealth of information and can really educate people who are looking to make informed decisions when they’re shopping. I’ve already learned a lot from her!

Safiya Nygaard

Safiya Nygaard is an ex Buzzfeed video creator. They were moving in a direction that didn’t seem to work for her so she branched out and created her own channel. She has a great sense of humour and makes videos about a number of subjects including beauty, home, fashion and probably more things I can’t think of. Her and her Fiancee Tyler have great chemistry and work really well together.


Bon Appetit

I LOVE this channel so much. My favourite types of videos are ones with Claire and Carla. The majority of videos featuring Claire really showcase her talent for taking items off the shelf and making her own gourmet version of them. I love Carla’s back-to-back baking challenges with celebrities.

What channels and videos on YouTube do you like? Let me know! I’d love some suggestions.