Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Fidget Art

So I have a bunch of artist friends, and a bunch of neurovariant friends, and some eclectic interests. Today a conversation brought all those things together in my mind to illuminate a genre of art that is timely, beautiful, and doesn't seem to have happened yet.

Someone mentioned drawing random objects, and I suggested using fidgets to create a still life scene. Some examples:


Textured balls

Assorted fidgets

I know enough about art to know that still life is a huge genre. Many famous artists have drawn/painted things like fruit, flowers, dishware, etc. But fidgets are better as still-art objects. They have bright colors and complex shapes. They're interesting to look at. They're challenging to render. The vivid artificial colors are a perfect match for acrylics and pastels, almost as good with oil, though watercolor or colored pencil might be trickier. For a more surprising medium, consider crayons, another perfect color match. Unlike most natural items, fidgets don't decay (which is an asset in most art, but a liability in wabi-sabi art) although they can break. They're cheap so you can buy a whole bucket of them. Many of them, like the tangles, can be moved into different configurations so you can easily reuse the same fidget in many compositions without much repetition. You can also do more dynamic things with those movable fidgets than with a solid object like, say, a pear. Harking back to the past, look at the skull arrangement in the still life overview. See how many of those things can be touched and fiddled with? Some artists have always been tactile.

So where are the artists rendering fidgets? I almost never see this. Art makes a fantastic stim unto itself, regardless of what you draw, but why not draw things you care about? Somewhere out there are countless neurovariant artists waiting to be discovered -- and art patrons waiting to find art they actually like, about things they use in everyday life.  Right now, it's like if nobody drew cars; there's this big piece missing from what appears in art, because nobody in the art industry seems to think fidgets are worthy of rendering.  That's a market gap waiting to be filled.  Sure, most neurovariant people are poor and unemployed, but they're also a big part of the very rich tech industry.

Man, the next time I see a booth from the local group home for developmentally disabled folks, I'm going to suggest still life fidgets to them. They have some damn good artists in there. Surely some of them must be into fidgets.

Meanwhile, for my artist friends, do you have fidget toys lying around? Pick up a handful, put them on a table, and make a still life of them. If you post your results online, let me know and I'll link to them. It's not every day we get a chance to get in on the beginning of a new art genre.
Tags: activism, art, how to, networking
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