By Ryan Smoluk
All Without Words
As a self-advocate for autism awareness and a visual artist, I was so excited when this project came my way. It allowed me to create art that represents neurodiversity. I was free to create whatever images that flowed into my imagination.
There were no boundaries.
Creating Art by Listening to Music
The music album is a collaboration between the composer Justin Morell and John Daversa, (a jazz Grammy Awarding winning trumpet soloist with the Henry Mancini Orchestra in Miami Florida).
They emailed me a copy of the album and said “Just Listen to the music and paint whatever you feel.” I can honestly say I was moved. (Editor’s note: see how the Art of Autism participated in All Without Words here.)
While listening to the music I instantly felt a strong connection. I felt the sadness and the joy in each of the 12 tracks (allwithoutwords.org).
See the video of the me creating to the music below.
I knew that Justin wrote this music album by drawing on his own life experiences as a parent raising a child with Autism who is unable to communicate through verbal language. The music is about their journey, it tells their story. What I find fascinating is that Justin is able to communicate through music what so many families are also experiencing.
The music encapsulates to me what it feels like to have Autism, and I know because I have Autism. I find his music beautifully calming and inspiring all at the same time.
Sound, Form and Movement
This series of artwork is called free flowing expressionism. Free flowing in that my imagination just ran wild. It’s emotional and very personal to me, all drawing on my past memories and experiences.
I try to create a dreamy like effect. The mediums I used are a very vibrant, florescent acrylic paint. I used gels to give the art a 3-dimensional feel, to add form and texture.
I completed 12 paintings; each one stands on its own merit. Each painting corresponds with one of the music tracks.
In painting number 1, titled Loren’s Theme, I was taken back in time to reconnect with that little boy inside me. I understood I was different. I found the music and art together very cathartic.
Connecting through Art and Music
Music is good for the soul. It helps us connect with one another; it brings us together.
I was fortunate as a child to have taken music lessons both in piano and guitar. When I picked up the guitar at age 10 I promptly dropped the piano.
I encourage all parents that have a child that struggles with neurodiversity to give the arts a try!!
I’m driven to create art; it is my passion but playing my guitar keeps me balanced. I think art and music enhances our lives.
It’s enough to be Here Now
We are all on our own journey in life. I believe we are all here on this planet for a reason. We are all valued regardless of our differences.
It is my hope that this beautiful project All Without Words, will help bring awareness for those who struggle with neurodiversity.
This music and art collaboration is a perfect example that it only takes one person to make a difference!
Header Image: Ryan Smoluk: It’s Enough to Be Here Now. Art photography by Ivan Hughes. Ryan uses florescent acrylic paint with the use of gels to give texture for a 3 dimensional
To view more on Ryan www.ryansmoluk.ca