I began my blog 4 years ago with the idea of sharing my experiences as the sibling of an older autistic, low functioning, nonverbal individual (my brother Mike). Most of 2013 was a recap of my struggle to get to know Mike. I relied on old family photographs; my journal entries; thoughts about the dynamics of my family during my childhood; my visits to see him at Willowbrook (a mental institution on Long Island, NY, USA) (see A Visit to Willowbrook, Mike’s Building at Willowbrook, Recollections of Willowbrook) and later, at his group home.
I devoted later posts to my efforts to express myself visually about my brother, recapping the photographs I included in my 1995 exhibition Brotherly Love (My First Show, Review of Photo Show) and Familiar Relations, a show which featured one of my photos of Mike.
I then concentrated on assorted exercises to hone my drafting skills by sketching renditions of some of the photographs I took while living in New York City.
I have been educating myself about influential artists of the 20th century and trying to imitate them using my own ideas in the context of each artists’ style, for most of the rest of my blogging time. These artists include some of my favorites: Kandinsky, Miró, Klee, Jawlensky, and lately de Kooning. Each has given me much to think about and many ideas with which to experiment.
One of the most electrifying moments of my photographic project about Mike was when I discovered one of his eyes looking directly at me. Attention had always been something I craved from Mike. I isolated that half of his face and created the brother I never had (see The Eyes Have It and The Autist and Me).
I was delighted to find Willem de Kooning’s piece, Self Portrait with Imaginary Brother:
The fact that one of the most important artist of the 20th century chose to sketch an ‘imaginary’ brother has given me new ideas about portraying Mike and me, which I will try to unroll in future posts.