Artist Turns His Experience with Facial Dystonia Into Stunning Works of Art

The artist’s medium? Wood, mirrors, and various other materials. His art? Jarring and beautiful headpieces—Tiago Valente’s way of understanding his own experience with dystonia.

Tiago called it facial dystonia, and from what I understand, this is more broadly called oromandibular or cranial dystonia. Put simply, the condition causes contractions of certain facial muscles.

He turned those spasms into art, specifically headpieces, and he called the project “Dystonia.”

His website explains:

“This was the key for me to understand the physical manifestations of those spasms: to understand them as explosions.”

Tiago’s journey with dystonia began in 2013, with a diagnosis. In an interview with The Creators Project, Tiago said he refused the treatment—an antipsychotic medication—recommended by a doctor. He felt frustrated.

He returned to his studio, and soon after, the project was born.

He watched the muscles of his face in a mirror, took notes, and used time-lapse photography to record every detail. He then turned the data into mathematical equations and parabolas. This led to 2D and, eventually, 3D shapes.

The headpieces are stunning—Tiago’s way of turning his frustrations to beauty.

I believe everyone can make art. We all have, or can find, a medium that helps us make sense of our world.

Writing is the way I make sense of the world around me. The act of putting fingers to a keyboard or a pen to paper, helps me grasp the emotions and thoughts clouding my mind and give them clarity, purpose, and beauty.

Writing is my art; words, my medium.

You might already be proficient with a certain medium, whether it’s words, paint, dance, what have you. Keep at it. Keep turning your chaos into beauty.

Maybe you haven’t yet found that medium. Maybe you’ve never even considered yourself artistic. I don’t think this should stop you from making art, from finding some sort of way to make sense of your world.

The result is bound to be beautiful.

You can read an interview with Tiago Valente here and view some of his pieces here.


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