Terah: Artist, Musician, Chronic Migraineur and #Autistic

Autism Unveiled Week 6


At age 36, I was only recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and OCD. I use mixed media is designed to show the innate mental and emotional stress experienced by persons on the Autism spectrum. Drawing inspiration from the very colors themselves, my favorite mediums include spray paint, fabric paint, marker, acrylic and random objects, primarily all on canvas. I’m also involved in music projects as a vocalist, narrator and arranger. I love to give arts as gifts and enjoy the emotional response and immediate connection made when my art resonates with others.

Terah Kuydendall "self portrait"  Because of my chronic health problems, I wanted the portrait to have a migraine component
Terah Kuykendall “self portrait” Because of my chronic health problems, I wanted the portrait to have a migraine component

I grew up in an amazingly musical family. My grandmother was a symphony violinist and my father was invited to join the Metropolitan Opera but ultimately chose to decline their offer. From a very young age I began singing with my Dad and my sister, Sarah, primarily in church. Art and creativity have always been a part of my life. I don’t know that my talent in these areas are due to my Aspergers but my Aspergers definitely affects how I approach those two passions. I have an eye (and ear) for detail and work very hard to achieve the perfect look or perfect sound. However, this very Autistic quest for ‘perfection’ is also sometimes a hindrance as I suffer from “perfection paralysis,” the inability to start a project if there is any inkling it isn’t going to turn out exactly right. As I work on accepting that whatever I do will be always be imperfect, I am instead choosing to take pride when I start at least somewhere, break large tasks down into smaller steps and focus on only that one single step at a time. While my Autism will always impact my process, these new attitudes are allowing me to relax, have fun and I’m enjoying my work more than when I insisted on absolute control.

Art courtesy of Terah Kuykendall
art by Terah Kuykendall
Art courtesy of Terah Kuykendall
Art courtesy of Terah Kuykendall

Autistm/Aspergers affects females differently than males. As a result, many girls and women either remain undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. My favorite resources for women on the spectrum are two books by Rudy Simone: “Aspergirls” and “22 Things a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know.”

Terah Kuykendall, Texas, U.S.A.

Terah runs a website showcasing her musical and visual art at www.terahkuykendall.com. Her work can also be followed on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TerahArtwork) and on Pinterest.

Terah is part of the Autism Unveiled Project – 6 weeks of posts by Autistic people commencing on April 2, 2015, World Autism Awareness Day.

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