Rachel Hennessey's article about autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire treats him as a canny entrepreneur who everyone can learn from, not just a magically gifted savant:
Stephen has had plenty of chances to stop making art — whether due to obstacles or as a result of reaching a high level of success. Trying to think of reasons that an artist may be tempted to retire, I asked him if his hand ever gets tired because the landscapes he draws are often massive and highly detailed. “Not at all,” was his entire response, verbatim. Maybe a sore hand isn’t going to stop him from making art, but perhaps reaching a level of financial satisfaction would? Nope, Stephen has pieces that sell in the six figures (in pounds); if he wanted to retire the moment he didn’t have to work to make a living anymore, he would have by now. Even his eight month long waiting list for commissioned projects seems like a viable reason to want to slow down the workflow – a person can only handle so much.
Stephen is motivated to continue making his art because he enjoys the satisfaction of “making other people feel happy” and thereby making himself feel proud. His self-proclaimed personal motto sums it all up: “Do the best you can and never stop.”
Thanks to my friends Gaetano and Zoey for sharing this story.
Luis Paredes' "Whites Only" was chosen as part of the 2012 "All Kids Can CREATE" exhibit at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. The 11-year-old autistic boy, who is originally from Peru, was inspired by a sit-in in 1960:
“Oh yeah, the Greensboro Four, the four students that were waiting for coffee but only white people could get served. It started in the 1960s,” Paredes told NBC Latino about what he had learned. “And then the four people were sitting down. People would ruin things a long time ago but now today is a wonderful day.”
His father is proud:
“My son has taught me so much about humanity and being affectionate. The hard work has certainly paid off but he can’t do it alone. No one can.”
Christopher Knowles made autism cool back in the bad old days of the 1970s. He was a teenager living in an institution when his work was discovered by theater artist Robert Wilson, who began collaborating with him.
Transformations and Self-Distortraits
I first encountered Jaefinn Austin Carr's photo montages through the Facebook page Artists and Autism. This is the second time I have been so inspired by the work of an artist from that page that I asked him to work on a video project with me. The first was Steven Coventry.
Jaefinn's art excites me because it combines images in ways that I find unexpected and moving. In creating this video, I tried to emphasize a dreamlike experience of one image constantly shifting into aother. My friend Adam Bailey composed and performed the music. Both Adam and Jaefinn are diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
I'm 30. I grew up in New York City and moved to Oklahoma after 9/11. The city became to much for me, too loud and crazy.
My family said they knew i was "different" from the first week I was born, but I did not always get the treatment I needed, and by the time I was a teen, I was sick of going to doctors and therapists. I fought everything. I thought i was "normal." I did not see the difference that everyone else saw. It was not until I was in my twenties that I finally understood and started to truly get the treatment I needed, because I was better educated about autism and how it affected me....
My, work, most of it is made late and night when i cant sleep. A lot of it was made when I was very frustrated, and isolated..... I combine self pics with other pics I made or found, using different colors and textures. My work never looks the same to me twice, most of the time it looks very different the next morning... I see the world "different"-- things tend to move, float bye, change colors, so that's why my work is "different" or hard to see right away.
I see how some can view the work as pessimistic, because it's dark and creepy, but I feel it represents hope and the future. Life changes can be scary, but there's always light.
Stephen Wiltshire in Brisbane.
Visiting the city for the first time, Wiltshire took a ride on the Brisbane Wheel to get an uninterrupted view of the city from across the river.
He took pictures with his iPhone and will study them closely before from 10am tomorrow he draws the entire scene from memory.