Autobiographical Art

Another student asked a question I've been pondering: where to start if one's work is largely based on personal, private experiences? This question has become increasingly insistent for me and was an impetus for me pursuing this degree. The answer is something I've been intuitively doing all along: look at other artists who use personal content in their work.

It feels like I'm getting a bit ahead of myself since I haven't stepped back to respond to basic questions regarding paradigm, worldview, or any other of the weighty academic terms we're learning. Which I will. But for now, I'll capture and start to reflect on the content I've been collecting so there's a record of it here. 

Starting with a series of mind maps feels so much easier than taking a bunch of notes about different artists or themes. Here's a very early version of one of Autobiographical Art.

Mindmap for Autobiographical Art (v1).

Mindmap for Autobiographical Art (v1).

There are clearly tons to drill down into for many of these components. I can already see that I'm taking an inductive approach, allowing the content to evolve as I do the research and notice patterns (Gray, 2004). The highlighted yellow bubbles are trends that I see at this early stage. I envision more mindmaps (Installation Art, Techniques, Materials, a specific artist's influences, etc.). These little maps could well become a key part of my process.

For now, instead of getting hung up on theories and terminology, I'll allow these explorations to unfold, watching for what they want to reveal.


Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.