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Pierre Marcantonio, French autistic layout artist

 “Expressing my ‘inner child’ allows me to spend many contented days at work”

During the 12th Autism-Europe (AE)’s International Congress held in Nice in September 2019, AE had the chance to talk with Pierre Marcantonio, a French young artist diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome who is very passionate about the world of 3D animation, and defending the rights of people on the autism spectrum. In the picture above, Pierre Marcantonio speaks with Sophie Cluzel, French Secretary of State for People with disabilities, at the AE’s Congress.

Autism-Europe: When did you receive your diagnosis for autism and what did it meant to you?

Pierre Marcantonio: I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 23 in Lyon. Thanks to my diagnosis, I had a bit of a revelation in my life and started to see how there were a multitude of ‘types’ of intelligences in the world, not just a single type of intelligence which is normally applied to us, as humans.

AE: Tell us more about your profession.

PM: At the moment, my work focuses on creating and developing scenes in 3D using the technical software ‘3DsMax’. I put the scenes together with characters and objects which react with each other and their surroundings in a 3D space as well as assisting the director on camera angles and getting the best shots in relation to the 3D scene. From here, I translate what the director wants through the development of an animated sample like a kind of preview before it goes to the team of animators for their input, then onto the editing team who come up with the final animation which could feature as an animated illustration, an animated TV series, or even an actual animated film.

AE: What is the secret to success at work?

PM: I really love this type of work because it constantly stirs the ‘child’ in me. Expressing your inner ‘child’ is absolutely vital in this type of work as, when I am in the creative process of doing my animated illustrations, say for when I do animated illustrations for a younger audience and all my colleagues are also expressing their inner ‘child’ through their work, then that is what creates the conditions for a certain work environment which is the ideal for me. All of these elements mean that I am channelling more of my energy into my work than I would otherwise, as I am also not over-exerting myself in this job. This allows me to spend many contented days at work without having time-off.

AE: What are the difficulties you face at work? 

PM: It is true that on one hand, I display certain difficulties coping in social settings. For example, I still have a bit of bother mastering ‘irony’ or off-beat humour to be honest, but these are neurodevelopmental skills and so they can be learnt, just as cooking skills can be learnt.  On the other hand though, I have yet to understand better certain implicit expressions, even if I can make sense of other things that are implied. This type of behaviour is something that can also be learnt over time so I recognise that, for me, it is a gradual phenomenon and that I have to be patient. It is not without difficulty of course, but it is something that I will learn and I am quite confident about that.

AE: What is full inclusion for you?

PM: For me, ‘inclusion’ is when we apply such a state of mind capable of accepting all types of people and to those who may have all types of conditions as well as all types of circumstances, no matter what they may be. This state of mind that I am talking about is like a ‘zen-like’ peacefulness that an individual possesses. This inner peacefulness is what allows someone to accept themselves, whether in their work environment or in their daily life, or in their artistic expression. It is a clear that each person demonstrates goodwill and their ability to accept others by showing that diversity is a phenomenon which already exists and can be accepted throughout the world.