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"Uncommon Sense" - Expressing Sensory Processing Differences Through Sculpture

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

"Uncommon Sense" - the intriguing new sculpture collection is now revealed!

This collection of artworks directs my passion for chainsaw and power tool carving in a transformational, new direction.

With a recent partnership with Arbortech Tools, I was able to test out new power carving tools which unlocked groundbreaking creative potential to authentically express myself through wood sculpture.

While my previous sculptures have had a strong focus on wild nature and animal subjects, the "Uncommon Sense" collection shifts focus inwardly to human nature and sensory experiences. These sculptures take an exciting step into the abstract style - something I've been secretly craving to do for awhile!


The concept behind this collection is to represent the senses as experienced by someone with sensory processing differences.

Sensory processing differences are neurologically-based and result in increased awareness of environmental inputs. The brain structure processes sensory input differently than most.

Lights are extra bright. Sounds are extra loud. Colors are extra vivid. Subtleties are noticeable. Smells are extra strong. Touch is extra sensitive.

All this extra information from sensory stimuli takes extra time and energy to absorb and process.

Sensory processing differences can be assigned different terms and occurs on a spectrum of intensity. Some common terms include Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS), and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

In general, it means a person has a greater awareness of environmental and social stimuli.

Sensory processing differences can result in rich life experiences full of wonder, joy, insights, connections, creativity, and beauty through highly-attuned senses.

On a more extreme side, it may lead to an inadequate response to stimuli and inadequate processing of complex, intense, fast-paced, or multi-sensory inputs.

The senses take up so much room in the processing part of the brain that the information builds up faster than can be processed and the system becomes overwhelmed. At this critical point, normal stimuli can be experienced as intolerable or painful.

Sensory processing overwhelm can lead to social withdrawal, strong aversions, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, visceral pain, and a wide array of negative physical symptoms.

Example of a Sensory Overwhelming Environment

The concept and goal for this sculpture collection is to visually represent how I experience the world around me with sensory processing differences.

How Does Sensory Processing Sensitivity Translate to Art?

It All Started With Some Tree Stumps

The concept of sensory experiences is somewhat vague and intangible for anyone to understand aside from the person experiencing it. Describing it alone is a bit abstract, which is why an abstract art style seemed to be most suitable for this theme.

I also wrote in more depth about how sensory processing differences affect art creation here if you would like to read more.

For the "Uncommon Sense" collection, I chose to use my familiar chainsaws and power tools to carve log wood sculptures, but with a new abstract art twist.

What is Abstract Art, Anyway?

What Is The Meaning Behind Abstract Art?

A common misconception about abstract art is that it’s just meaningless random shapes, lines, or colors that an artist lazily slaps together on a whim and the end result doesn’t look like anything we can relate to in real life.

But what many people don't realize is this can be so far from the truth!

Abstract art, in many cases, is not random at all.

Log Wood Bases Carved With Chainsaw

Abstract art can be extremely intentional - thoughtfully composed to represent very specific, hyper-focused, and selective elements that the artist wishes to focus on. These features are chosen because they strongly convey what the artist wishes to express.

Abstract art takes a subject or theme and boils it down to the most prominent features. It brings attention to the most important and interesting parts that the artist directs the focus to.

This approach to art can reflect an un-see-able emotion, mood, or energy and put it into visual terms. It is a visual language that goes beyond words.

Abstract art may be ultra-simplified, exaggerated, and bold, but it is usually done so for a very specific reason that invites the viewer to think, ask questions, wonder.

Each groove, line, and color choice has significance.

Abstract art is like a mental and visual puzzle of clues that the viewer tries to solve to discover the hidden meaning behind it. It is a deeper thinking-and-feeling kind of art, as opposed to a straightforward figure or landscape.

You seem like the thinking type... (after all, you're here reading this!)... so I sense you'll really enjoy this experience.

With that introduction, I welcome you to the abstract sculpture collection, ”Uncommon Sense.”

How To View Abstract Art

As a viewer, you're invited to experience each sculpture with an open mind, imagination, gather clues, and come up with your own interpretation of what each sculpture means.

Your predictions, perceptions, observations, theories, questions are welcomed and encouraged! Share your thoughts in a comment and read how others interpret the artworks.

Questions to Think About...

What does it remind you of?

What do YOU think this sculpture represents?

What are YOU feeling from it?

Why did the artist choose to make it this way?

Do people interpret it in the same way? Or differently?

How would you assign your own meaning to this a