A Colorful Portrait of Talent and Authenticity

Chelsea Delaney
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9 min read
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August 16, 2023

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Two digital art pics of surrealist art. What looks like a blue planet and an orange one. Text beneath reads, Title: Martin Balsby Nordahl Moxness: A Colorful Portrait of Talent and Authenticity, Written by Chelsea Delaney: Martin Balsby Nordahl Moxness is a man of many names, many layers, and many talents. On first glance, he's a Danish advocate spreading his message of accepting and celebrating who you are. His Instagram is filled with relatable videos sharing slices of his own neurodivergent journey. As you poke around his page and the wider Internet some more, you discover that he's also an intuitive musician, a gifted photographer, and a dazzling digital artist.  So, how did this kaleidoscopic human come to be? Martin shares his intersecting identities very honestly in his videos. He's "gay and taken," as his bio says. He's autist, ADHD, has Tourette's, and even talks a little about being adopted. This level of visibility is both brave and vulnerable, but it wasn't always this way for him. Of his journey, he says: "Although I got my diagnoses early on, I struggled for the longest time to really embrace them and see myself as actually being neurodivergent. I guess it was because it’s such a huge spectrum, and the representation I had seen didn’t fit my version of what I thought it was really like. But after struggling a lot and doing some reading, I found a lot of relatability in other neurodivergent people that were sharing their experiences online.
Surrealist fanfic art of Star Wars. Digital art. Darth Vader on a platform on the Death Star looking out in to the Universe at a squad of battleships.
Three photos, Top left is a digital art of a penguin, there is snow falling around it. It is wearing headphones and a necklace with a fish charm. Photo top right is a black and white photo of Martin Moxby. He is an attractive mixed race male with a strong jawline and short hair. He is wearing a dark and white tshirt. It is a profile picture of him to the left.  Bottom right is of Martin outdoors, wearing a blue tshirt that says, Hoot Hoot Motherf**ckers. He is holding two stuffed animals, a camel and a penguin.Text Reads: Realizing that there was a lovely community with people that had the same struggles and traits as me, was absolutely amazing. It really made me see the importance of neurodivergent representation and advocacy, but also about how important it is to share your own experience.  I lost so much time feeling alienated and blaming myself, thinking I was just broken, so now I’m doing my best to embrace myself and to spread awareness and self-acceptance for myself and others." Many neurodivergent folks can relate and may even resonate deeply with the arc of Martin's story. Neurotypical folks understand this at some level too because it's universal--the very human search for identity, our place- purpose. We haven't all gotten to where Moxness is yet, but we feel encouraged to see him living there so beautifully, with such kindness for himself and the world. This attitude radiates from his videos. He says his most important videos are the ones where he shows that it's okay to be different because "the world sometimes isn’t always as accommodating or welcoming when you’re different."  He really loves being able to unmask in these videos because it has meant so much to him to watch others do the same. Part of this unmasking are his adorable plushies that often make cameos with him. His penguin Ping-Ping gets a lot of screen time, though he's not quite sure how his penguin love affair started. He also holds big love for camel plushies. Of these emotional and sensory comfort companions, Moxness says, "Some people find plushies childish, but I think it’s important to put your own comfort first and to do what feels right for you." This seems to be a mantra he lives by and one that has found its way into his music and art practice. His earliest memory with music is playing the keyboard at 6.
Two artworks one above the other. Top is of two penguins in a snowy place like the North Pole, they are holding each others fins like hands and looking at each other. The bottom is of an beautiful octopuss under the sea t the sea bottom. These are digital artwork
Photo has three photos of Martin. He wears tshirts in each one and headphones. He is holding a tablet with abstract artwork that he just created on it. Middle top photo is of an artwork of a rainbow infinity symbol. There is a boy about 14 years old with his back to us looking at the symbol. It is an digital illustration. Text reads: "My parents noticed my musical ability and got me a bigger keyboard after that, along with piano classes. But I was absolutely terrible with sheet music, and I figured out that my preferred way of learning music is listening and then playing it instead of using sheet music." Listening to him jam out on the guitar now, it seems impossible that he ever struggled with some part of learning music. Lucky for him and for us, he probed into what would work for him instead of giving up completely on the thing that brings him joy. If you visit Moxness Photography online, you will have a feast of color and story for your eyes. Though he was criticized in school for using "too much color" in his photos, it seems he was able to find a middle ground between his love of "stimmy" color and what professors wanted. He now uses "a method that captures a broader dynamic range of the color spectrum. In short, it’s a kind of HDR that combines different exposures to keep highlights and shadows." The results are startlingly beautiful, and you can see his love for the art form, especially in his high-magnification macro and abandoned places photos. "What really interest[s] me...[is] capturing stuff from a different angle or entering a world that one couldn’t see by looking with one’s eyes."
Close up photo of an insect.
Text reads As rich as his photos are, he acknowledges the challenges in the profession. It’s a very tough business for sure, and I found that although I was great at it, the social aspect was way too demanding for me. It ended up totally burning me out, and today I don’t take pictures like I used to anymore. It ended up totally burning me out, and today I don’t take pictures like I used to anymore. My creativity just went more into a digital art direction, but I’m having more fun with that than I ever had with photography. Not everyone would step away from a profession they're great at, but this willingness to listen to his needs is a hallmark of Martin's person. Though it may have felt like a risk at the time to step back a bit from photography, it is a risk that paid off. His digital work is filled with whimsical characters and light. They share the same vivid color as his photos, but you can almost feel the fun he's having in his digital work. He's currently working on some digital penguins, though he admits that procrastination is getting to him at the moment. Martin Balsby Nordahl Moxness is a study in claiming and following yourself, no matter where it may lead. With his trusting spirit and multidimensional talent, he's sure to do so much more in the art world and for his neurokin. We'll leave you with what he's learned about being neurodivergent. Whatever works for everyone else might not work for you, and it’s totally okay to be different and to require a different approach to life. It’s also really important to reflect on working with yourself and your differences instead of against them. Take the good with the bad, and do your best to be proud.
Photo of a man inside of an outdoor structure that appears to have been abandoned for some time. There is vegetation growing inside of it. The top is open allowing sunlight in. It is round in shape. His arms are outstretched. The man is wearing a dark hoodie and jeans and is standing on a platform in between two small staircases that lead to a bigger platform.

Discover more about Martin's remarkable story and captivating art on his Instagram account, and check out his photography portfolio here.