A new book, The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions by Debra Hosseini, showcases the artwork of individuals on the spectrum, illustrating what can result when people on the spectrum tap into their unique perceptions of the world.
Connections, new perspectives, and triumph are some of the common themes evident in the paintings, drawings, poetry, and stories in The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions by Debra Hosseini ($34.95; amazon.com).
The art showcased in the book is inspiring not just for its aesthetic quality, but because it illustrates what can result when people on the spectrum tap into their unique perceptions of the world to create—or, as Hosseini describes, when people transform their perceived “deficits” into strengths. Those strengths, Hosseini indicates, include the ability to see patterns that many people would not see; an acute spatial awareness; memory skills that allow recollection of minute details from life which are then reflected in their art; and an innate gift to focus on an interest for extended periods of time.
Long Island native Susan Brown, who was diagnosed with autism as a young child, at work on one of her large grid-like paintings.
The process of creating art may also fulfill unique sensory needs. “The palette knife has been a major tool in [Kevin’s] creations,” writes Hosseini of her son, who has autism. “He likes the feel of the paint under the knife moving across the canvas.”
Among the many artists featured in the book are two Long Islanders, Susan Brown from Sayville, and Maria Iliou of West Babylon.
The Art of Autism is a collaborative project that connects artists and performers of all ages on the autism spectrum with opportunities and venues to showcase their varied talents. The organization helps artists through mentorships and hopes to raise awareness about the artistic gifts of people on the spectrum.
As Elaine Hall writes in her contribution to the book: “Perhaps our children with autism are here to teach us to look at the world with a different set of eyes.”
Mixed Grids, Mixed Media on Canvas, 30x40", 2011
By Susan Brown
Blue Faces, 2003 14 x 11"; Oil pencils and paint
By Maria Iliou
Maria Iliou is an award-winning artist and poet who happens to have autism. She lives in West Babylon and works out of Pure Vision Arts Studio in Manhattan, a specialized art studio and exhibition space for artists with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Maria Iliou’s daughter Athena is also on the spectrum—and also has a talent for art.
Iliou feels her autism has given her a deeper and more unique life experience.
See more resources, tools, and inspirational stories for parents of kids on the spectrum.