Expressing my stammer visually

The article's author, Alexander Taylor, with a montage of some of his artwork

Art student Alexander Taylor shares some of his stammering-related work.

My name is Alexander, I have just completed my foundation degree in art and I am about to start my first year at University in September. I have stammered my whole life and like many I have struggled with it. However, through the years I have been able to accept it as a part of me. 

I have discovered that just like with illustration, I have to take risks with my stammer and accept it, which has helped me considerably. 

Through a good support network of family, friends and a little therapy, my overall confidence with it has grown hugely, from seeing it as a burden to not seeing life without it, so to symbolise this I got a tattoo representing my stammer once I turned 18 (see the picture). The pause and play symbols represent my stammer – the pause being when I can't talk and the play being when I can. Mixing it with a heart meter line shows how the stammer is always part of my life and how I must accept it. It is part of me.

Alexander's tattoo, which represents his stammer
Alexander's tattoo, representing his stammer


As an illustrator, my mindset is to create pieces which communicate effectively. This doesn't mean simple 2D drawings; it can involve techniques as obscure as sound mapping or creating a big 3D structure. One of my personal influences for choosing this creative path is having a stammer. Visual communication is perfect for me as it enables me to express myself in alternative ways which would normally be difficult. In doing so, I have also discovered that just like with illustration, I have to take risks with my stammer and accept it, which has helped me considerably. 

Alexander's comic strip
Alexander's comic strip (click to enlarge)

The final project for my foundation work was based around stammering. I wanted my pieces to not only show people what a stammer is, but also to inform them about stammering. Using my own experiences and how I've be affected by them, I was able to create comics which visually showed how a stammer can affect a person but also how it feels. I further explored this by using the metaphor of a balloon being blown up, expressing the tension of stammering. In addition, I created a 3D anatomical model which highlights the areas where a stammer affects someone, creating a fun interactive element for my intended audience. 

Alexander's artwork - a balloon being blown up and popped.A;exander's artwork - a 3D anatomy of stammering in the body

If you'd like to see more I post a range of my work on my Instagram channel: @taylor_design_

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