top of page
  • Writer's picturewyldeoakeartistry


Updated: 3 days ago

"....agent is a being with the capacity to act, and ‘agency’ denotes the exercise or manifestation of this capacity." (Schlosser, 2019). I have the capacity to act, the agency to change, to manifest, to transform what I see in front of me, to evolve a piece of work and for the result to be of my choosing. I want the piece to become but what that becoming is and how I have the ability to choose but having that agency does not negate emotional intrusions which affect how that agency impacts upon the work itself. Do have in fact have free will as I work the piece?

.... the portrait that is me

...... the face that reveals itself which I know so well

..... and yet I am viewing objectively

Is the agency that philosophical texts will state that of my artistic self? or is that of my personal.... my 'self'?

If my agency is that of my artistic self does my neurodiversity enable a separation from personal self to view the printing photograph really objectively? to study it as I would study a fungi or will my personal sense of self force subjective becomings? How will the artistic relationship impact upon my sense of self? will that relationship reveal itself or will it conceal?

Will I 'see' myself as an artist?

.... or will I 'see' me?

What do I want to conceal?

.... or reveal?

Or what will be revealed through how I depict myself?

Will my subconscious inform the concious?

What is my agency? do I truly have conscious agency? or is it subconscious? I recall the work of the artist Hayley Lock whose website biography speaks of "... working with and under hypnosis to engaged as an altered self, looking at where the unconscious meets the conscious" (Lock, s.d.). The questioning of where and how does the sub or 'un' conscious meet the conscious reflects upon my questioning of where and how my artistic relationship affects or effects my sense of self? is the artistic relationship and self interconnected consciously or subconsciously?

Is my sense of self becomes impacted by the artist within? or is the artist impacted by my sense of self?

I am aware of how life influences, or even reverberates within artistic renditions of chosen subjects and often dictates those specialisms directly but the words of tutors, from years of academic study, continue to ring in my ears .....

.... critical analysis of what exactly 'THIS' is?

..... what is it I am trying to say?

..... what is it I am exploring?

.... what do I want the work to say to the viewer..... if the work is to be publically seen?

..... what do I mean by 'how my artistic relationship affects or effects my sense of self'? .... explain .... explore

.... how or where can I say or explore this questioning? does it need to be in my home studio or can it be in other locations? or can I simply explore this questioning through repetitive drawing of one single image? Academic questions are no longer confined to academic study but are now a part of artistic process, of the research methodologies that underpin this artistic practice - they have become part of the entangled constituent agencies that enable intra-active becomings. Moreover, these questions give rise to another .... am in fact exploring my artistic relationship with my sense of self or am I exploring the sense of otherness through separating two inter-connected identities that co-exist within my self? ... but here I digress as this exploration of otherness is something that deserves its own place of investigations and research.

Therefore to bring me back to the subject of this blog ....

Agency ..... the capacity to act.

My sense of self and sense of self-agency here take precedence over artistic relationships and questioning. Self-agency wants to explore within a singular, focused media of one specific image what this relationship, this artistic relationship is. However, working on the first piece revealed the subconscious ....

..... the depiction of sad eyes

..... the depiction of someone older

..... the depiction of someone who still sees themselves as heavily overweight (I say 'sees themselves' in the present tense as the reality is in the past tense due to considerable recent, conscious weightloss)

..... the depiction of shadows, or lack of, which soften or hide the jowls of an mid-life jaw

Life impacts.

Body dysphoria reveals itself unwilling and perhaps even unwittingly.

Self-perception of bodily 'faults' is seen through early layering of pastel pencils as the conscious artistic mind focuses on the elements of artistic relationships that interconnect within a singular image - line, form/shape, tone/value, colour, space and so forth. My neurodiverse mind attempts separation and a breaking down of the interconnected components but the artistic self fights against it - there is a sense of otherness, the sense I want to explore separately and yet recognise that otherness is the neurodivergent mind and the artistic investigative self that converge and yet diverge within a singular piece of work. The body dysphoria is seen, it is corrected ... or at least attempted to be through concealment or even removing of disputed and disliked parts. Their presence is seen, not at the time of working but by stepping back, by stepping away or through copious photographs being taken that enable me to see the piece of work as if viewing that of another - I can critically analyse objectively and without emotion. I find this separation of self unnerving and disconcerting as the subject in question is not a non-human other i.e. a fungi, fauna or flora but it is me. I am seeing me as an object of study but as the work progresses I find myself perturbed .... unsettled as my eyes start to soften, the deep lines I have projected onto the page become more true to life, the nose is less 'beak-like' and more akin to my slightly crooked facial projection, the chin recedes whilst the troublesome mouth starts to resemble what I see in the mirror ....... the process is slow, it is studied.

I share within a single social media, private, group twice .... only twice as I feel protective of the work and yet vulnerable and seen. I refuse to share the photograph, as I refuse to share it here, as it feels intimate and personal. I do however, critically analyse the perceived and known errors of the work asking for what I have missed and how to correct - the simple tip of turning the work and image upside down is one of the most helpful as I see shapes, tones, colours I have missed, or not seen clearly. The people are kind and encouraging but they are disconnected - people within the confines of a laptop, words on a screen that do not seem real enabling my neurodiverse self to engage in meaningful dialogue. I recognise the sense of otherness once more.

As the portrait progressed to resolution, otherness and agency combine as I question what I want to reveal as the work evolves? do I show the whole piece? do I show parts? how many progression photographs do I share and in what format? do I even share on social media? this work is a divergence from my fungal specialism and yet is interconnected but at the point of writing cannot yet vocalise why. However, by deciding to create a video of the photographs that at least demonstrate the progression, without requiring repeated stop motion style videos to be recorded, I was given the ability to decide how each image was seen whether cropped, rotated or in black and white .... again my neurodivergent otherness, a sense of an inhibited self affected the conscious mind revealing a subconscious desire for some of the photographs, not all, to be partially hidden whether due to details, marks or just the revelation of who 'me' is. The making of the video itself become part of the art but not part of the resolution rather than a post-resolution process that could be deemed to be an intra-active becoming in its own right as the decision to create it came from within the making and was a consecution of creation.

I realise I have not shared the photographs seen in the video - only one is seen in full with most being cropped, changed to black and white or distorted .... and intentional concealing yet without conscious awareness. The working of the piece, the creation of the video and even the writing of this blog has felt introspective ... it is giving me time, space and a place in which to process information whether that information is the thoughts, and emotions, that have occurred during the making of this first portrait or the physicality of the creation whilst also enabling the externalisation of internal philosophical questioning. Each blog is a meandering of thoughts creating what could be considered rhizomatic thinking and learning .... but as with 'otherness' this is now for the next blog and next portrait ......


Centre, T. E. (2020) Who is ‘The Other’? - An Explainer By The Ethics Centre. At: (Accessed 07/07/2024). (s.d.) About. At: (Accessed 07/07/2024).

Schlosser, M. (2019) 'Agency' In: Zalta, E. N. (ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2019) Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. At: (Accessed 07/07/2024).

...... and I almost forgot .....


bottom of page