Category Archives: Art by Asphyxia

Happy unChristmas cards

This is a card for those of us who don’t really do Christmas but don’t want to give a total slap in the face to those around us that do, by ignoring it entirely. If, like me, you’re an un-Christmaser, maybe you’d like a pack of these? They sold out quickly last year so grab them while they are available if they take your fancy.

Check my shop around Christmas.

Future Girl would make a good Christmas gift for a creative or environmentally minder reader

Image: A book cover titled Future Girl by Asphyxia. It shows a girl with long, black, wavy hair. She wears a gray sleeveless top and holds a magenta pencil and paint brush in her fist, with a light blue paint dripping from the brush. She has large black cross over her right ear. Her eyes are green and her lips red. The background is of green, brown and teale textured paint, with drawings of buildings in black. On the right is a review by Drisana Levitzke-Gray, Young Australian of the Year 2015, which says, ‘Future Girl is a must-read for Deaf people, who will identify with Piper, and for those who are hearing, to gain an understanding of what it’s like to be Deaf.’ Below the review is the text, ‘The art journal of 16-year-old Piper, this is a visual extravaganza of text, paint, collage and drawings, woven into a deeply engaging coming-of-age story, set in near future Melbourne as it lurches towards environmental catastrophe.’ Beneath that is the logo of the publishers, Allen and Unwin, and text, ‘Get your copy at http://www.asphyxia.com.au’.

If you like my posts about Deafness, or enjoy my free Auslan course, you will love my book, Future Girl, which is the art journal of 16-year-old Piper as she explores her identity as a Deaf teenager in near future Melbourne. The book is packed full of my artwork – 384 pages of art! It’s ideal for anyone who is interested in the environment, food growing, Deafness, sign language, art journaling and art. The book has won numerous awards and is now set to become a TV series.

I found writing about Deaf experience challenging, because Deafness was such an ordinary part of my existence that I rarely thought about it. I began jotting down my daily Deaf encounters – the little annoyances, confusing moments, benefits, the irritating things people say, and the complex feelings that arise when someone has tried to provide access but missed the mark.

I began to articulate aspects of Deafness I had never seen described before. For example, a Deaf dilemma: if I’m standing with a group of hearing people who are laughing, but I have no idea what they are laughing about, should I laugh along to be friendly (and if you do, are you somehow ‘lying’ about having understood?), or stand there with a stony face even though it could seem rude and unfriendly?

Image: Artwork of a girl with black hair cut in a bob, standing on the right. She has big, wide blue eyes and a little blush on her cheeks, with smoky make up smeared under her eyes and lips painted dark red. She wears a long-sleeved pink dress with a white collar. The background is grungy black, grey and teal colours. Black text at her right reads, ‘Deaf dilemma: When people are laughing and I don’t understand, I have to choose. Do I remain stony-faced, with spoil-sport energy? Or do I laugh along, even though it’s false?’ Black text beneath this reads, ‘www.asphyxia.com.au’.

I realised everyday I was dealing with difficult decisions like this, but I have never stopped and thought about how I really wanted to respond! Through writing Future Girl, I became aware of so many aspects of my Deafness, and began making conscious choices about my behaviour! 

Most of my discoveries about Deafness have gone into my book, Future Girl. My editor, who thought she had a good grasp of Deafness, was stunned by the layers to our experience that she had never considered.

Order now in time for Christmas.

Learn to do art like in my books

If you like my book, Future Girl / The Words in My Hands, and are interested to do some art journaling along those lines, you might like to try my art therapy course, Pour Your HeART Out. In this video I talk about what you’ll get from the course and show snippets of the course content.

Sign up for the course here:

Please share this with anyone you know who is into creativity and might enjoy it!

Sorry, the lifestyle you ordered has expired

It’s easy for us to ‘other’ people with a disability, to assume this won’t happen to us. But in truth, just as life throws us pandemics and other unexpected obstacles to life as we know it, a wheelchair may only be an illness or accident away. And when it happens, we don’t suddenly become different people. We don’t suddenly stop caring about being cool, or lose our desire to do street art. And yet public perception of people in wheelchairs is often that we will be passive observers to society, and this plays out in books, movies, and the way people relate to us. Mobility equipment is often hideously ugly, created with no thought to aesthetic or style, and no practical storage to allow us to bring our stuff with us. Something’s got to change.

This painting is a part of my exhibition, Love, Lies and Indoctrination, which can be viewed online here.

If you’d like to buy this piece, it’s available here.

Pour Your HeART Out flip through

In making my art therapy course, Pour Your HeART Out, I used the process to create a book of my own, exploring my experience with chronic illness. This flip-through shows the book I made. 

If you’d like to make a book like this, sign up for the course here.

My new accessible music project: AMPLIFY

Deaf girl wearing headphones with a cross over her ear, dancing to music that extends from a subwoofer with vibrational sound waves. The text reads, ‘AMPLIFY – creating a customisable, vibrational and visual experience of music… so deaf people can enjoy music too.’

Are you d/Deaf or hard of hearing and would you like to be able to access music? If so, I want to hear from you!

My new project, AMPLIFY, is an accessible music project so d/Deaf/HoH people can enjoy music too.

Watch the video to find out more about the project and how you can get involved.

Sign up and find out more here.

If you know anyone who is d/Deaf/HoH who might enjoy better music access, please share this post with them.

The more of us who get behind this, the more power we’ll have to change the future of music and make it enjoyable for us!

The Words in My Hands wins American Library Association’s Schneider Family Award

I was very excited to wake up and discover that my book, The Words in My Hands (Future Girl in Australia) has won the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Award. It seems this is a significant award in North America and it comes with a money prize too. My Canadian publishers, Annick, promptly ordered another print run to deal with the expected increase of sales as a result. Many schools and libraries look to the ALA to guide them in which books to purchase, so winning this award tells the schools and libraries it’s worth buying the book. For me, the very best thing about all this is that with my passion for raising awareness about Deafness, many more people will read it and gain insight/empathy into what it’s really like to be Deaf.

The other books that won prizes are great too! You can check them all out here:

Are you having a rough time? Struggling with grief, depression, anxiety or trauma? 

Are you having a rough time? Struggling with grief, depression, anxiety or trauma? 

I made an art therapy course to help you get through this difficult time. Art therapy can help you in two ways. First, the process of gentle art and craft activities can be meditative while not being too challenging, and can help lift your mood. It simply feels therapeutic. Second, it can help you to process your issues in a healthy way, feel cathartic, and release emotions that have built up in your body.

You don’t need to have any prior art experience and you don’t need to be able to write well. If you are an experienced artist or writer, this course will guide you to use those skills in a relaxing therapeutic format. When struggling with our mental health, making decisions can become overwhelming. This course tackles that by providing simple, bite-sized guided activities.

I created the course I wish I had during the rough periods I have gone through. I struck on this process by accident and used it to help me cope with the challenges of chronic illness. I found it comforting, cathartic, enjoyable and satisfying. I kept going back for more, because it felt good. I hope you feel the same way when you give it a try.

If you know anyone who is struggling, who might benefit from a guided creative outlet, please share this with them.

Sign up for the course here:

I miss who I used to be

Going from an active life to being mostly bed-bound is breathtakingly hard. We’ve all had a taste of it this last year, with having to stay home and do everything online, while coping with high levels of isolation. For some of us though, vaccines and the end of lockdowns are hollow. This is our new normal, maybe forever, and we have to find a way to be ok within the confines of our smaller lives. Sadly, we are not all entitled to a life out and about. It’s a luck, a privilege, something to be appreciated and treasured while you have it, because you never know when it is going to become smaller.

This painting is a part of my exhibition, Love, Lies and Indoctrination, which can be viewed online here.

If you’d like to buy this piece, it’s available here.

The frustrations of horizontal living

For those of us who have been bedbound, and tried to figure out how move our lives forward regardless, this book is essential reading. Each chapter title highlights a challenge we face and asks a question about how to resolve it. Can you think of a good kitchen design for the horizontal? I can’t! You’ll note that chapter is only one page long – it simply asks for readers to send in their ideas. And yet asking NDIS to fund customised devices for us is a nightmare unto itself, warranting hundreds of pages. Until this happened to me, I had no idea what was involved in trying to make a good life for myself while horizontal. I suspect most other disabilities have hidden challenges that don’t occur to the rest of us. If only there was a manual for each!

This painting is a part of my exhibition, Love, Lies and Indoctrination, which can be viewed online here.

If you’d like to buy this piece, it’s available here.